For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Brian Willis, 202.253.7486, Brian.Willis@sierraclub.org

McNamee’s Refusal to Recuse Himself From Considering His Own Coal Bailout Plan Disqualifies Him for FERC

WASHINGTON - Bernard McNamee, a long time fossil fuel lawyer and architect of the Trump Administration’s failed coal bailout attempt, testified today before the United States’ Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on his nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). His long record of promoting and defending fossil fuel interests was scrutinized in light of the nonpartisan, technology neutral nature of FERC, causing some members of the committee to express doubt about whether or not he could be unbiased on the commission.

Further complicating his nomination was his steadfast refusal to preemptively recuse himself if his bailout plan came before FERC again, which cased one committee member to react with “surprise and disappointment”.

In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Senior Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:

“Bernard McNamee’s refusal to recuse himself from decisions regarding a coal bailout plan like the one he created while at the Department of Energy is completely unethical and should disqualify him from a seat on FERC. This, coupled with his long history as a lawyer and promoter for fossil fuel interests, makes rejecting him the only reasonable choice. McNamee is a clear political plant by the Trump Administration to subvert the nonpartisan, technology neutral values of FERC and turn it into another political branch of the Trump Administration. This is unacceptable and we strongly urge Chairwoman Murkowski, who has rejected a nominee based on perceived technology bias before, and the rest of the committee to vote against him.”

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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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