Trump Appoints James Danly as New Chairman of Key Energy Commission

Trump Appoints James Danly as New Chairman of Key Energy Commission
President Donald Trump speaks about the 2020 U.S. presidential election results in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on Nov. 5, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Paula Liu

President Donald Trump has appointed a new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

James Danly, another member of the GOP panel, will replace Neil Chatterjee as chairman. According to a news release issued by the FERC, Danly previously served as the general counsel to the FERC after joining the commission in 2017, and became a commissioner in March.

“It has been my utmost pleasure to have served under Neil Chatterjee, both as General Counsel and alongside him as Commissioner. I have learned a tremendous amount from his expertise and insight, and I am proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish under his thoughtful watch,” Danly said.

Chatterjee, the former chairman, shared the news in a post on Twitter, congratulating Danly, writing, “It’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve as @FERC Chairman. I want to congratulate my colleague and friend James Danly who @POTUS has named as Chairman.”

Chatterjee said he will serve out his term as commissioner until it ends in June 2021.

“Our work—my work—at the Commission isn’t over. I look forward to working with my friend, Chairman Danly, as well as the next Administration to continue to carry out our important mission,” he said.

This came as Chatterjee had been pushing toward addressing climate change, something that Trump is skeptical about. Axios reported that Alex Flint, a member of the Alliance for Market Solutions and a former senior GOP aide, said he believed that it was this move from Chatterjee that might have cost him his chairmanship.
According to an interview with the Washington Examiner, Chatterjee also commented about his stance on climate change and said that there’s a possibility that his recent actions had something to do with his being replaced.

“I have obviously been out there promoting a conservative market-based approach to carbon mitigation and sending signals the commission is open to considering a carbon price, and perhaps that led to this,” Chatterjee said, during the interview. “Quite frankly, if in fact this was retribution for my independence, I am quite proud of that.”

Regardless, Chatterjee said in the interview that he was at peace with the decision made by the Trump administration and that despite being on opposing sides with Danly in terms of the carbon pricing move, he said he was on good terms with the new chairman.

“We obviously have differences of opinion in some areas. I look forward to working with him whether he is chairman or I am chairman. I am going to remain focused on advancing the policy initiatives I am quite proud of and protecting my legacy,” Chatterjee said.