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Nov. 7, 2020, 11:35 a.m. EST

Trump removes energy-commission head who backed cleaner sources over coal and fossil fuels

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Timothy Puko

WASHINGTON — President Trump has named James Danly as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, replacing Neil Chatterjee as head of the agency that regulates interstate transmission of electricity and natural gas.

The White House declined to comment on why the change was made, but the action came after Chatterjee backed policies that would boost the role of clean energy in competitive power markets, at the possible expense of coal and fossil fuels.

Public statements from FERC and Chatterjee didn’t explain the demotion, though Chatterjee said he plans to remain on the commission until the end of his term on June 30. The five-member commission currently has only three commissioners — two Republicans and one Democrat — in place, with two nominees awaiting Senate confirmation since July.

Danly became a commissioner in March after three years as FERC’s general counsel, the agency said in its statement. Danly’s comments credited Chatterjee with speeding up the permitting process and progress on natural gas-export terminals. “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.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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