Senate panel endorses FERC nominees Moeller, Wellinghoff

The Senate Energy Committee has endorsed President Bush’s nominations of Philip Moeller of Washington State and Jon Wellinghoff of Nevada to vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The panel voted unanimously June 21 to send the nominations to the full Senate with a recommendation they be confirmed.

Moeller, a Republican, is director of the Washington, D.C., office of Alliant Energy Corp., an electric and natural gas utility based in Madison, Wis. Wellinghoff, an independent, is partner in the law firm Beckley Singleton of Las Vegas and Reno, Nev., specializing in energy and consumer law.

If confirmed, Moeller would serve the remainder of a term expiring June 30, 2010. That seat has not been filled since the term of Chairman Pat Wood, a Republican, expired in 2005. Wellinghoff would serve a term expiring June 30, 2008. That seat has not been filled since the term of Commissioner William Massey, a Democrat, expired in 2003.

Currently, two of FERC’s three members are Republicans: Chairman Joseph Kelliher and Commissioner Nora Mead Brownell. Commissioner Suedeen Kelly is the lone Democrat.

Brownell’s term expires June 30, but she said she would continue to work at FERC until the first week of August to allow commission nominees time to complete the confirmation process. Kelliher’s term expires June 30, 2007. Kelly’s term expires June 30, 2009.

Panel schedules hearing for third FERC nominee

The Energy Committee scheduled a confirmation hearing for June 28 to consider the president’s nomination of Arizona state regulator Marc Spitzer, a Republican, to FERC.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Brownell for a term that would expire June 30, 2011.

FERC is composed of five members appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate. Commissioners serve five-year terms. No more than three may belong to the same political party.

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