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Obama FERC Nominee Would "Displace a Well-Qualified Woman in Favor of a Male Nominee with less experience'


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate Floor regarding the nomination of Norman Bay to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:

"Today, I'd like to voice my opposition to the nomination of Norman Bay to be a commissioner of, and eventually lead, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. I fail to see what qualifies Mr. Bay to be the chairman of the commission, especially when the acting chair of FERC whom he would displace is much more qualified to hold the position.

"Unlike most FERC commissioners in the last decade, he has never served as a state utility regulator. He has never served on the commission and does not possess the background in policy areas that FERC is charged with overseeing.

"In contrast to Mr. Bay, the current acting chair of FERC, Cherly LaFleur, is much more qualified to hold the chair position. Ms. LaFleur came to FERC with more than two decades of experience in the electric and natural gas industries, including roles as chief operating officer, general counsel, and acting CEO of National Grid USA and its predecessor. I find it shameful that this administration would seek to displace a well-qualified woman in favor of a male nominee with less experience.

"More importantly and of the utmost concern to my home state, there are factors that lead us to believe that Mr. Bay would reliably serve as a rubber stamp for this administration's extreme anti-coal agenda. This agenda harms the people of Kentucky and is one I must strenuously oppose.

"As the current head of FERC's enforcement office, he has shown a history of targeting carbon-intensive businesses. Who is to say that, if installed as the next head of FERC, he won't come after Kentucky businesses reliant on the coal industry for electricity?

"Moreover, during his testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this past May, Mr. Bay cited his home state of New Mexico as an example of a real-life all-of-the-above approach to energy. He mentioned his state's reliance on solar, wind, oil, and gas energy for its energy mix. Noticeably left out of this supposed all-of-the-above approach, however, was any mention of coal, which supplies 70 percent of New Mexico's electricity.

"For all of these reasons--because he is not qualified, because he holds an anti-coal agenda, and because he will be only too willing to implement this administration's anti-coal policies--I must oppose Norman Bay's nomination to FERC, and I urge my colleagues to do the same."

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