Energy Update (November 9)
Chatterjee out at FERC
Late Thursday evening (Nov. 5), President Trump unexpectedly removed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Neil Chatterjee and appointed Commissioner James Danly to take his place.
Chatterjee, who was appointed chairman in 2017, said he had not spoken to anyone at the White House about the move.
“I can only speculate that the actions I’ve taken of late in removing barriers to aggregated distributed resources, in convening a technical conference and putting out a proposed policy statement on how we can incorporate a carbon price into FERC-jurisdictional markets, perhaps, aggravated somebody,” Chatterjee said.
“I think I’m one of the first Republicans in government to lead a commission that took a vote to advance this conversation and I’m quite proud of it,” he said. “If it cost me my chairmanship, so be it, it was the right thing to do,” he added.
Throughout his time as chairman, Chatterjee largely stayed within party lines, and approved natural gas infrastructure projects and engineering market rules to make sure state-favored renewables did not have an advantage over incumbent resources.
However, he recently championed a policy proposal that could pave the way for grid operators to introduce carbon pricing into regional electricity markets.
Danly is a staunch conservative and dissented on Order 222 as well as the carbon pricing policy statement. Over the summer, Trump nominated Democrat Allison Clements and Republican Mark Christie to the panel. The pair’s confirmation is scheduled for December.
At a press conference the day after the election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he was optimistic negotiators could reach a deal on a COVID-19 stimulus package after the election.
“We need another rescue package,” McConnell said.
“Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election and I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year,” he added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated they have made progress in recent months and want to make a deal during the lame duck session.
There is still disagreement over the price tag and other issues, including testing language and state and local funding.
The Trump administration and McConnell said that the most recent jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropped by a percentage point, should impact the size of any additional stimulus bill.
Paris Climate Accord
On Wednesday (Nov. 4), the U.S. officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump said the U.N. deal hurt the economy and gave China and India an unfair advantage in trade and manufacturing.
Biden has pledged to reverse the decision and rejoin the pact his first day in office.
French LNG Deal
This week, French firm Engie, which is partly owned by the French government, walked away from a proposed LNG deal with American supplier NextDecade.
Engie broke off talks over the $7 billion deal after postponing negotiations earlier this year. The French government was concerned that the Texas oil fields from which NextDecade would have acquired the gas for export were too relaxed in their efforts to curb methane emissions.
On Monday (Nov. 2), Republican lawmakers sent a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron and argued that U.S. gas was clean.
To view the letter, click here.
 Skibell, Arianna & Northey, Hannah. “Chatterjee on FERC ouster: ‘So be it.’” Energywire, 6 Nov. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/edc414d6/80C8r65DVU_GJu2-_k881g?u=https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063717943
 Levine, Marianne. “McConnell calls for coronavirus package before end of the year.” Politico Pro, 4 November, 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/0297d292/L1OR1CqclEm8Sc0ZNplmmw?u=https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2020/11/mcconnell-calls-for-coronavirus-package-before-end-of-the-year-2016462
 Lefebvre, Ben. “French government officially kills talks over proposed U.S. LNG deal.” Politico Pro, 3 Nov. 2020. https://link.edgepilot.com/s/d12d2c20/ow5Swct5kUaPEJMkNhLAIw?u=https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2020/11/french-government-officially-kills-talks-over-proposed-us-lng-deal-2016178