Kevin McIntyre, who chaired of the Federal Vitality Regulatory Fee and final 12 months rejected a Trump administration proposal to help coal and nuclear crops, died Jan. 2 at his dwelling in Arlington. He was 58.
The trigger was mind most cancers, his household mentioned.
McIntyre, a Republican lawyer, was nominated by President Donald Trump in August 2017 to chair the FERC, which regulates parts of the electrical energy grid, interstate oil transportation and pure fuel pipelines, and electrical transmission strains.
However in January 2018, McIntyre led the unbiased five-member fee in unanimously rejecting a proposal by Vitality Secretary Rick Perry that might have propped up nuclear and coal crops struggling to remain afloat in aggressive electrical energy markets.
McIntyre’s loss of life opens up the likelihood that Trump may search to change the steadiness of the fee on aggressive markets. The fee, which has two Democrats and two remaining Republicans, can be charged with approving utility mergers and the development of liquefied pure fuel amenities.
The Trump plan that the FERC rejected was extensively seen as an effort to skew aggressive electrical energy markets that federal regulators have been cultivating because the late 1980s. Critics mentioned it might have largely helped a handful of coal and nuclear firms, together with the utility FirstEnergy and coal-mining agency Murray Vitality, whereas elevating charges for customers. Murray’s CEO, Robert Murray, has been a serious backer of Trump.
Since then, the administration has been contemplating one other proposal that might urge the FERC to invoke its not often used emergency powers beneath the Federal Energy Act as a way to prop up the identical coal and nuclear crops. McIntyre appeared unconvinced.
“I do not assume now we have an emergency on our fingers proper now within the sense of the flexibility of our grid to carry out at the moment and in coming weeks and months,” McIntyre mentioned at a Washington Put up Dwell occasion in Might. “It is maybe not the obvious match.”
He mentioned the Federal Energy Act “tees off of the idea of continuance of a conflict through which america is concerned as being form of the baseline circumstance that might justify a DOE order to sure forms of amenities to both start working or proceed operation.”
McIntyre’s stance on the FERC was one thing of a shock to many. A graduate of San Diego State College and Georgetown College Legislation College, he spent most of his 30-year authorized profession on the Washington workplace of Jones Day, the place he turned co-leader of the agency’s power apply.
Quite a lot of environmental teams initially opposed McIntyre’s nomination, pointing to his work for a dozen or so power firms. However on Thursday, John Moore, a senior lawyer and FERC professional on the Pure Sources Protection Council, mentioned in an announcement that McIntyre “led FERC with a gentle hand and with an emphasis on preserving open electrical energy markets and sustaining the independence of the fee. We particularly salute his excessive civic calling.” Moore hailed McIntyre for “equity and evenhandedness.”
McIntyre led a collection of 3-2 selections alongside get together strains in favor of pure fuel pipelines. He additionally launched an in depth have a look at the “resilience” of the electrical energy grid.
The remaining members of the fee are Democrats Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick and Republicans Neil Chatterjee and Bernard McNamee.
Chatterjee, who turned the FERC’s chairman in October, has been seen extensively as a dependable supporter of Trump coverage.
However in a briefing for journalists Oct. 31, Chatterjee mentioned that his view of FERC’s function was altering due to McIntyre, who he mentioned “so emphasised the significance of the rule of regulation.”
Chatterjee added that McIntyre “couldn’t be extra strenuous in saying that politics shouldn’t be allowed to intrude with the work of the fee, and that has actually helped me develop in my function as I’ve made the transition from previously partisan legislative aide to unbiased regulator. I credit score one particular person for enabling that progress, and that is Kevin McIntyre.”
In October 2017, FERC voted 2-1 to approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is at the moment beneath development via components of the New River and Roanoke valleys.
McIntyre didn’t take part within the choice; his affirmation by the U.S. Senate to fill one in every of two vacancies on the board didn’t come till the next month.
FERC’s approval of the pipeline is now beneath judicial scrutiny. Greater than 20 environmental organizations, group teams and people have filed authorized challenges with the U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
A couple of half-dozen filings have been consolidated into one case, Appalachian Voices v. FERC, that’s scheduled for oral arguments Jan. 28.
Roanoke Occasions workers author Laurence Hammack contributed to this report.