President Obama Re-Nominates Commissioner John Norris to FERC

On February 6, 2012, President Obama re-nominated current FERC Commissioner John Norris (D) to serve on the Commission for a five-year term ending June 30, 2017.

Commissioner Norris was first nominated to the Commission in June 2009 by President Obama to fill the vacant seat of former Chairman Kelliher with a term that expires June 30, 2012 (see June 12, 2009 edition of the WER). Before joining the Commission, Commissioner Norris served as Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and as Chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board (“IUB”). While on the IUB, Commissioner Norris served on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (“NARUC”) Electricity Committee, and Co-Chaired the 2009 National Electricity Delivery Forum.

In response to President Obama’s re-nomination, Commissioner Norris stated: “I am honored to be re-nominated by President Obama to serve a five-year term as a Commissioner at FERC. I appreciate the opportunity to continue working with the Commission’s dedicated and professional staff and to further partnerships with state regulators and industry stakeholders, all with the goal of ensuring that consumers have access to reliable and efficient energy services.”

Commissioner Norris and the recently-nominated Chairman Tony Clark of the North Dakota Public Service Commission will require confirmation from the Senate (see January 30, 2012 edition of the WER). It is not clear how quickly the Senate will take up the issue of both Commissioner Norris’ re-nomination and Chairman Clark’s nomination. Presidential election year politics may play a major role in the speed with which the Senate takes up these nominations. The speed for confirmation has often been slower in Presidential election years. Currently, Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur and Norris, along with Chairman Jon Wellinghoff serve in Democratic seats, and Commissioner Philip Moeller serves in a Republican seat at FERC.

A copy of the White House Press Release is available here.