Obama nominates Arkansas regulator Honorable to FERC

President Obama has nominated Arkansas utility regulator Colette Honorable to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to succeed Commissioner John Norris who announced his resignation Aug. 7.

Norris, a Democrat whose term expires in 2017, said he was leaving FERC to take a post with the U.S. Agriculture Department in Italy.

Honorable, a Democrat, is chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. She previously served as executive director of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board, chief of staff to then-Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe, and assistant attorney general under then Attorney General Mark Pryor. A University of Arkansas at Little Rock law school graduate, Honorable also was assistant city attorney in North Little Rock, an assistant public defender, a law clerk for the Arkansas Court of Appeals and a staff lawyer for the Center for Arkansas Legal Services.

“There is no one more qualified for this position than Colette Honorable, and I strongly support her nomination,” Pryor, now a U.S. senator, said. “Colette is a long-time advocate for clean energy and an avid supporter of consumer protection.”

Honorable had been listed as a likely candidate to replace Norris on the commission. Her name also was raised last year after an earlier Obama choice for FERC chairman, Ronald Binz, withdrew his nomination in the face of Senate opposition.

Norris’ resignation came on the heels of Obama’s formal appointment of Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to be FERC chairman and Obama’s designation of his first choice, newly confirmed Commissioner Norman C. Bay, to become chairman effective April 15, 2015. LaFleur and Bay are the other two Democrats on the five-member commission.

The Senate confirmed Norris to a second term in 2012, at the same time confirming Commissioner Anthony Clark, a Republican, to his first term at FERC. Clark’s term expires in 2016. The other Republican on the five-member panel is Philip Moeller, whose term expires in 2015.

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