UPDATE – Senate panel examines third FERC nominee

President Bush’s third nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Arizona state regulator Marc Spitzer, appeared before the Senate Energy Committee June 28 for a confirmation hearing.

Spitzer, a Republican, said he would bring a balanced perspective to FERC, based upon his education, geographical background, and professional experience. He did not speak of hydro in remarks prepared for delivery to the committee.

Spitzer was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2000. He previously served as an Arizona state senator and was a tax attorney with KPMG Peat Marwick. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College and a law degree from the University of Michigan.

The committee scheduled a meeting July 12 to decide whether to recommend Spitzer’s confirmation to the full Senate. If confirmed, he would succeed Commissioner Nora Mead Brownell for a term that would expire June 30, 2011.

Panel endorses FERC nominees Moeller, Wellinghoff

The Senate Energy Committee endorsed Bush’s nominations of Philip Moeller of Washington State and Jon Wellinghoff of Nevada to FERC vacancies on June 21. It unanimously sent 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: Brownell and Chairman Joseph Kelliher. Commissioner Suedeen Kelly is the lone Democrat.

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

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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