- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2017

President Trump on Thursday tapped a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In a statement, the president cited Neil Chatterjee’s past work in the Senate and with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in qualifying him for the post.

“Mr. Chatterjee has played an integral role in the passage of all major energy, highway, and farm policies,” the president said.

FERC, comprised of five commissioners appointed by the president, oversees energy and utility companies. The agency regulates the transmission of electricity, licenses power projects, approves or denies the construction of natural gas pipelines and also plays a role in energy grid security.

Mr. Chatterjee was approved by the Senate last week as a commissioner before Thursday’s appointment as chairman. Those appointments restored a quorum of commissioners at FERC, which lawmakers said was desperately needed.

The absence of a quorum had left a number of projects in regulatory limbo.

“This gap has left over $14 billion in pipeline and infrastructure projects in limbo, hurting industry and consumers,” Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, said last week after the confirmations.

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