President Donald Trump tapped Neil Chatterjee, who helped coordinate attacks against power-plant emissions rules as a senior adviser to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to lead a federal agency that oversees energy markets and approves pipelines.
Chatterjee, who was named chairman on Thursday of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said he will take over the reins until Kevin McIntyre, Trump’s pick to head the agency, is confirmed. Chatterjee was sworn in as a commissioner earlier this week, along with Robert Powelson, a past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
“I am honored that President Trump has designated me as Chairman of the Commission until Kevin McIntyre is confirmed, and I am eager to take on this responsibility,” Chatterjee said in a statement.
With quorum restored, the regulator is set to break a gridlock that has mired $50 billion worth of energy projects for months. Progress on dozens of natural gas pipeline and export projects have been stalled since February when the commission’s former chairman resigned.