FERC photo

Norris steps down from FERC

John Norris announced Thursday his resignation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a move that opens the door for President Barack Obama to nominate another Democrat to take the post.

In a statement posted and then briefly taken off the FERC web site before being restored, Norris said he submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama earlier in the day, effective Aug. 20.

He is to become the minister-counselor of the Agriculture Department's Office of Agricultural Affairs in Rome. Norris said in his statement that he was taking advantage of  "a tremendous opportunity to continue in public service" with the USDA.

Norris confirms resignation from FERC

John Norris on Thursday announced his resignation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission effective Aug. 20. 

In a statement, Norris said he was leaving to become the minister-counselor of the Agriculture Department Office of Agricultural Affairs in Rome. 

He leaves with nearly three years left on his term, opening up a Democratic seat on the five-member commission for President Barack Obama to fill. 


Early FERC departure for Norris, Honorable to replace him: SNL

SNL Financial

An announcement is expected this week that John Norris will depart the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before his term expires in June, 2017, sources told SNL Financial, which reports that the Obama administration will replace him with Colette Honorable, chair of the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

USDA photo

Vilsack: Work needed to reassure farmers upset over Waters rule

The Obama administration has more to do to convince farmers and ranchers that the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule to clarify the reach of the Clean Water Act over rural streams and wetlands won't mean new restrictions, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday.

The intent of the rule, known as Waters of the U.S., is to give farm country more certainty about the scope of what's covered under the Clean Water Act, Vilsack told reporters, but he acknowledged that concern is running high. "Obviously there is still work to be done in terms of educating people about that intent, because that's not how it's been interpreted," he said.

Colorado compromise seen as blow to environmentalists


The campaign to fight fracking at the local level suffered a blow in Colorado Monday, as Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper announced a compromise with Rep. Jared Polis to pull support from two measures headed to the November ballot, Bloomberg reports.

Senate Democrats photo

Stabenow leads Senate Dems in questioning Waters rule

While Republican lawmakers have been the vocal about their alarm over the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to update Clean Water Act pollution regulations over rural streams and other waterways that affect public health, farm-state Senate Democrats are also raising their own concerns.

In a letter sent to EPA, the Agriculture Department and the Army Corps of Engineers just before senators left Washington last week, Agriculture Committee chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and 12 Democratic colleagues, said the proposal may have "unintended consequences" that undercut conservation practices supported by the 2014 Farm Bill.

EPA public hearing on refinery pollution emissions rule

Galena Park, Texas, August 5, 2014, 9:00 am

EPA holds the second of two public comment hearings on its proposal to limit pollution from refinery storage tanks, flares and coking units.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Photo

LaFleur named chair of FERC, Bay to take over in April

The White House on Friday made good on its deal with Senate Democrats to name Cheryl LaFleur to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the next nine months.

In a brief announcement, FERC said the White House named LaFleur chairman for a term that will end April 15 of next year, when incoming commissioner Norman Bay will be named chairman. She took the post effective on Wednesday.

Steven Buss photo

NAM says toughest ozone rule would cost $270B annually

The National Association of Manufactures said Thursday that the toughest ozone pollution limits being considered by the Obama administration could cost the economy up to $270 billion in year in lost output and higher energy costs.

NAM issued the figure based on a study it commissioned on the potential costs of a potential major reduction in allowable ground-level ozone, a key component of smog.

A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency, Liz Purchia, said officials had not seen the study. She stressed that it is still reviewing technical information and that any projection of economic impacts is premature before it unveils an ozone proposal in December.

Perciasepe faces challenge reaching out to GOP over EPA’s carbon, water rules

The Hill

Departing Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe says he hopes to be able to “build a bridge” with Republicans over the EPA’s rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants and clarifying jurisdiction over bodies of water (WOTUS), but he’s meeting with skepticism, The Hill reports.


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