Commissioner Moeller to leave FERC at end of October

FERC commissioner Phillip Moeller

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller will leave the agency at the end of October, he said in an Oct. 6 statement, setting the stage for what likely will be another Republican to replace him on the commission.

Moeller said in May that he would leave FERC as the end of his second term approached. At that time, several media outlets pointed to Patrick McCormick, a key staffer on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as the likely nominee to fill Moeller’s seat.

McCormick was tapped by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to serve as special counsel in 2011 after serving as an attorney in private practice at Hunton & Williams LLP, and he was named chief counsel to the committee in 2013. At Hunton & Williams, he was a partner and leader of the regulated markets and energy infrastructure practice in the firm’s Washington office.

Before joining Hunton & Williams in 2005, McCormick was at the firm Balch & Bingham LLP, and prior to that, he served as deputy assistant general counsel for electric rates and corporate regulation at FERC.

No more than three members of FERC can be a member of the president’s political party, and Moeller’s departure will leave Commissioner Tony Clark as the lone Republican.

Moeller, who has been outspoken about concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and its potential impact on power grid reliability, has been at FERC since July 2006 after being nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. President Barack Obama nominated Moeller for his second term in 2010.

Moeller’s term expired in June, and in May he said he would stay on until a successor was named, but that has not happened yet. In his Oct. 6 statement, Moeller thanked both presidents who nominated him, Senate members for his confirmation, staff at FERC and members of the public for their input on FERC decisions.

“After leaving the commission I plan to pursue other opportunities in the energy field,” Moeller said in the statement.

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