Obama renominates Norris to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

WASHINGTON 2/7/12 (PennWell) -- President Obama has announced the renomination of Commissioner John Norris to a second term on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

A Democrat lawyer and state utility regulator from Iowa, Norris was first named to the commission by Obama in 2009. His initial term expires this year.

"Over the past 10 years, Mr. Norris has also been involved in numerous local, regional, and national energy-related boards and organizations," the Feb. 3 White House announcement said.

In his previous Senate confirmation hearing, in 2009, Norris said new hydropower projects are crucial to meet the nation's demand for clean, renewable power.

"Investments in such capital-intensive industries as electric generation and transmission, hydroelectric power, natural gas infrastructure, and more are jeopardized by an uncertain future," Norris said. "There is a need to address such concerns."

Prior to his service at FERC, Norris was chief of staff to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and former chief of staff to then Iowa Gov. Vilsack, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, and chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board from 2005-2009.

Norris is a 1995 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law, after receiving an undergraduate degree from Simpson College in Iowa. He served as chief of staff to Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, from 1997-1998, and from 1989-2003 owned a restaurant in Iowa.

Norris' renomination requires Senate confirmation, as does Obama's nomination to FERC Jan. 23 of Republican Tony Clark of the North Dakota Public Service Commission. Clark succeeds Commissioner Marc Spitzer who left FERC in December.

No more than three members of the same party may serve on the five-member commission. The other Republican on the panel is Commissioner Philip Moeller, whose term expires in 2015. The other two Democrats on the commission are Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, whose term expires in 2012, and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, whose term expires in 2014.

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