Norman Bay: Next FERC Chairman?

As President Obama’s choice to next lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Norman Bay managed to survive his May 20 confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee remarkably intact.  Bay is currently the Director of FERC’s Office of Enforcement, a former federal prosecutor and a former professor of Law at the University of New Mexico.    Criticism from panel members, primarily Republicans, zeroed in on Bay’s lack of experience in energy policymaking and his office’s record of significant fines levied against energy companies for alleged market manipulation and using aggressive tactics to force settlements. 
Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-LA) representing a pro-energy state did not show her hand in her line of questioning on how she would vote.    An interesting twist was the arrival of former Committee chair Senator Pete Domenici, a Republican but from Bay’s home state of New Mexico, who introduced Bay to all the committee members prior to the commencement of the confirmation hearing.  The jury is still out but the Committee Senators’ follow-up written questions have been answered and the word is that Chairwoman Landrieu is eager to schedule a vote quickly.  Whether the Committee members agree to an accelerated schedule is uncertain.

Contact: Carol Connors, or 202-841-0692 (direct)