UPDATE - Senate reconfirms Kelliher, Wellinghoff to FERC

The Senate reconfirmed Chairman Joseph Kelliher and Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff by unanimous consent Dec. 19 to new terms on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

President Bush named Kelliher, a Republican, in March to a second five-year term ending June 30, 2012, and reappointed him chairman of FERC. Bush renominated Wellinghoff, a registered independent, Dec. 11, with the Senate Energy Committee endorsing his nomination Dec. 18, making him eligible for consideration by the full Senate. (HNN 12/13/07)

While the Energy Committee endorsed Kelliher's nomination in May, the Republican's name was not brought before the full Senate until Dec. 19, when the Senate considered Wellinghoff, who originally was recommended for FERC by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Although Kelliher's term expired June 30, the law allowed him to continue to serve through the current session of Congress. Wellinghoff's current term expires June 30, 2008. His new five-year term ends June 30, 2013.

Kelliher: Confirmations give stability to FERC

Kelliher said the Senate action provides regulatory stability at the commission.

�This vote is a clear expression of confidence in the crucial work we are doing at FERC to guard the consumer from exploitation, promote effective competition in wholesale power and gas markets, and develop a strong energy infrastructure,� he said. �This vote also shows confidence in the manner in which FERC has executed its new responsibilities under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, particularly with respect to grid reliability and market enforcement.�

Wellinghoff indicated he looks forward to the job ahead.

�I am honored and pleased to have the opportunity to continue serving at FERC at a time when our nation and the world are facing unprecedented challenges to both stabilize energy costs for consumers and minimize environmental impacts of expanding energy use,� he said.

FERC is composed of five members appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate. Commissioners serve five-year terms. No more than three may belong to the same political party.

The other commissioners are Republicans Philip Moeller and Marc Spitzer and Democrat Suedeen Kelly. Moeller's term expires June 30, 2010. Spitzer's term expires June 30, 2011. Kelly's term expires June 30, 2009.

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