Trump Picks Coal Country Native To Oversee The Nation’s Grid


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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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President Donald Trump appointed Neil Chatterjee to chair the federal board over interstate energy transmission after its previous chairman stepped down from the position because of health reasons.

Trump announced his pick to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Wednesday evening. Kevin McIntyre, the former chairman, stepped down as chairman after he had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his brain. McIntyre will keep his spot on the commission, E&E News reports.

Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, answers questions during an interview in Washington

Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, answers questions during a Reuters interview in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

“I very recently experienced a more serious health setback, leaving me currently unable to perform the duties of Chairman with the level of focus that the position demands and that FERC and the American people deserve,” McIntyre wrote in a Monday letter to the president. “I therefore propose to step aside from the position of Chairman and its additional duties so that I can commit myself fully to my work as Commissioner, while undergoing the treatment necessary to address my health issues.”

Chatterjee has been a frequent stand-in for McIntyre, taking the former chairman’s place during proceedings, and, in one instance, Chatterjee replaced McIntyre to give the keynote address at the Energy Bar Association’s Mid-Year Energy Forum in Washington, D.C.

Chatterjee is a Kentucky native and previously worked for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as energy policy advisor.

Chatterjee was the only one of five FERC commissioners to support Trump’s plan to keep coal and nuclear power plants afloat by requiring grid operators to purchase energy from them, Green Tech Media reports. Energy Secretary Rick Perry shelved the plan after White House advisers and staffers warned Trump against it for financial reasons.

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