FERC Commissioner McIntyre Dies of Cancer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FERC member Kevin McIntyre, who served briefly as the commission's chairman, died Wednesday after a battle with brain cancer, the agency said Thursday. He was 58.

McIntyre was a lawyer representing clients from energy industries, including natural gas, oil and wind and hydropower, for nearly 30 years before President  Trump, a fellow Republican, nominated him in August 2017 to head the five-member commission. Most of McIntyre's time as a lawyer was spent with the firm Jones Day.

McIntyre's death leaves the commission with two Republicans and two Democrats, which could lead to deadlocks on issues including pipeline approvals and liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants if members vote on party lines. His seat will remain vacant until the White House nominates and the Senate approves a candidate.

McIntyre, who underwent surgery in 2017 for brain cancer, stepped down from his chairmanship to become a commissioner in October last year after he had sat out two of FERC's monthly open meetings due to health issues.

Neil Chatterjee, a fellow Republican who succeeded McIntyre as FERC chairman, said he would miss his friend's guidance and camaraderie. “In the face of adversity, Kevin's dedicated faith, devotion to family and sharp wit never faltered,” Chatterjee said in a release.

Soon after he became chairman in December 2017, McIntyre led the agency's unanimous rejection of Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry's directive to subsidize aging nuclear and coal plants that were facing competition from plentiful natural gas.

McIntyre's initiatives at FERC included a proceeding on resilience of the wholesale electricity grid, an inquiry into the commission's pipeline certification process, and an agreement with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on the siting and safety review of LNG facilities, FERC said.

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