Commissioner Norman Bay announced his resignation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission mere hours after President Donald Trump named Cheryl LaFleur acting chairwoman, leaving the agency with just two sitting members.
Bay, who was appointed chair of the commission after his nomination by former President Barack Obama in January 2014, announced his regulation via a letter submitted to FERC yesterday. Bay’s resignation is effective February 3, or 16 months before his term was to have ended.
His absence will leave behind Chairwoman LaFleur and Commissioner Colette Honorable and put an urgency on the White House to fill the third position necessary for a quorum.
Federal law dictates at least three of the commission’s five spots must be filled for FERC to make substantive orders, initiatives and regulations. The lack of a quorum also halts FERC’s ability to resolve pending proceedings and conduct other business.
It seems unlikely that LaFleur — a Democrat — will retain her chair position after Trump nominates a successor for Bay, though how quickly a replacement is named given other transition priorities remains to be seen.
Law states no more than three of FERC’s up-to-five commissioners can be of the same political party. With Honorable also a Democrat, Trump could potentially give the GOP majority representation should he choose to fill all the commission’s openings.
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