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FERC Nominee Who Slammed Renewable Energy, Pushed Coal Bailout Narrowly Passes Senate

EWG: McNamee’s Claim of Impartiality a ‘Charade’
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, December 6, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Senate today narrowly approved President Trump’s nominee for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who has openly criticized renewable energy and played a key role in the administration’s efforts to bail out the failing coal and nuclear industries.

The Senate voted 50 to 49 to confirm Bernard McNamee to be one of five commissioners of the FERC, which is supposed to operate as an independent agency that impartially regulates and investigates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, hydropower and oil.

McNamee, currently a senior advisor to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, played a key role in producing Perry’s ill-fated proposal to prop up dirty, dying and dangerous coal and nuclear power. FERC rejected Perry’s scheme in January 2018.

A recently resurfaced video from Febrary 2018, first published by Utility Dive, shows McNamee, then an employee of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, delivering a speech before Texas state lawmakers in which he slammed renewable energy sources and lambasted environmentalists.  McNamee said fossil fuels are “key to our way of life,” while renewable energy “screws up the whole physics of the grid.”

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, McNamee nonetheless testified that he could be a “fair, objective and impartial arbiter” in cases that come before FERC. EWG President Ken Cook said McNamee’s record shows just the opposite.

“McNamee’s enthusiasm for dirty fossil fuels and his antipathy toward clean, renewable energy is undeniable, and his claim of impartiality is a blatant charade,” said Cook. “At a time when consumers, businesses and forward-thinking utilities are embracing the clean energy revolution, we don’t need a FERC commissioner who endorses the Trump administration’s schemes to keep the dying coal and nuclear industries on life support.”

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