US President Donald Trump has designated prominent Indian-American lawyer Neil Chatterjee as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. Chatterjee would replace Kevin McIntyre as chairman of the prestigious agency. McIntyre resigned on October 22, citing health reasons.
“President Donald J. Trump designates Neil Chatterjee to be Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. He is currently one of the three commissioners of the FERC. In a statement, Chatterjee said, “It is with a heavy heart that I step into this role while my friend and colleague, Kevin McIntyre, focuses on what’s most important: his recovery and his family.”
“Although this is a difficult period for the Commission, I want to assure my fellow Commissioners, staff within the building and stakeholders outside it, that it’s my full intention to build upon Kevin’s hard work. But above all, I look forward to the day when my friend is back at full capacity,” Chatterjee said. Chatterjee was nominated to the FERC by President Trump in May 2017 and confirmed by the US Senate in August 2017. He served as Chairman from August 2017 to December 2017, and was again named Chairman on October 24, 2018.
Chatterjee, who was energy policy advisor to US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has played an integral role in the passage of major energy, highway and farm legislations. He was confirmed by the US Senate as a FERC Commission member in August 2017.
Chatterjee’s parents moved to the US from Kolkata some 50 years ago. A Lexington, Kentucky native, he is a graduate of St Lawrence University and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Prior to serving McConnell, he worked as a principal in Government Relations for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio.
The FERC is responsible for overseeing electricity markets and ensuring just and reasonable rates; approving applications for infrastructure projects; and playing a role in cyber security and defences. The agency has a very important role in policymaking.