President Trump picked a Democrat on Thursday to lead the federal government’s top energy watchdog, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Cheryl LaFleur, who was named to the commission by former President Barack Obama in 2010, was appointed by Trump as acting chairwoman of the commission.
“It is an honor to again be asked to serve as acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and I thank President Trump for the opportunity,” LaFleur said. “While I recognize that FERC is in a state of transition as we await nominations to fill vacant seats at the agency, it is important that FERC’s work on the nation’s energy markets and infrastructure move forward.”
LaFleur had served as acting chairwoman a few years ago while the White House was involved in a contentious negotiation over who should lead the nation’s grid regulator after former Chairman Jon Wellinghoff left.
The commission is comprised of five members formed from both Democrats and Republicans, with the chairman being from the party of the president. But no Republicans are left on the commission after Tony Clark of North Dakota left in November and long-serving Phil Moeller before that.
Although a Democrat, LaFleur has had the support of a number of top congressional Republicans. She served as chairwoman when lawmakers had been pressing the panel to take concerted actions to address the potential harm the Obama administration’s climate change regulations could pose to the electric grid.