Schumer Floor Remarks On The Nomination Of Bernard McNamee To The Federal Energy Regulatory Committee

December 5, 2018

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor (at approximately 4 p.m.) regarding the nomination of Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This morning, the life and career of the forty-first president of the United States were celebrated at the National Cathedral. Friends, family, former leaders of our country, leaders around the world gathered to pay tribute to a life spent in joyful service to our country, and unfailing dedication to his family. I was there; it was a very moving and wonderful ceremony.

The Senate now joins the rest of the country in mourning President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Now, on another matter, a less happy matter.

At the conclusion of my remarks, the Senate will vote on whether to consider the nomination of Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, or FERC. I staunchly oppose this nomination.

Throughout his career, Mr. McNamee has been manifestly biased in favor of the fossil fuel industry and biased against renewable energy sources – so much so that one cannot believe he would be a fair arbiter on these issues at FERC.

Mr. McNamee has called for a “unified campaign” to support fossil fuels. As a policy official at the Department of Energy, he played a significant role in designing a coal and nuclear bailout program that was unanimously rejected by FERC – hardly a liberal agency. That’s the agency he’s nominated to join.

When it comes to fossil fuel’s competitors, Mr. McNamee has expressed thoughts that only a real fossil-fuel zealot could have. Not only has Mr. McNamee made numerous false claims about clean energy technologies, he’s labeled support for renewable energies “organized propaganda,” and likened its boosters to supporters of “tyranny.” At a time when our globe, with wildfires in California, with flooding and hurricanes, is totally being changed because of global warming, we are putting someone on FERC – or there is an intent to put someone on FERC – who has the most regressive views we have seen come around in a very long time?

Commissioners at FERC have matters related to all types of energy brought before them. They’re supposed to be nonpartisan. They’re supposed to impartially oversee rates and reliability and delivery, based on what’s best for the American people, not deep-seated personal beliefs. And certainly not views that are so out of touch with so many people. My guess is maybe only a handful of Republicans agree with him – his views are that regressive. I see my friend from Iowa here. What Mr. McNamee has said about wind and things like that are way off the charts.

A few weeks ago, the Trump administration released a report on climate change outlining its current impact and the devastating and dire consequences we will see if actions are not taken. That was not our report. That was the Trump administration’s report. So now would be an awful time to elevate someone to our chief federal energy regulatory agency who is so clearly biased against renewable sources of energy, like wind, like solar.

I urge, strongly urge, fervently urge my colleagues to oppose the nomination.