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McNamee must recuse himself from coal bailout decisions, says ethics official

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World Coal,

Coal bailout architect and FERC Commissioner Bernard McNamee has submitted a letter to Senate Democrats informing them of an ethics official’s advice to him on recusing himself from participating in commission decisions that are pertinent to his past coal bailout work for Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Sierra Club and other environmental organisations had filed motions in two ongoing proceedings at FERC seeking McNamee’s recusal.

The ethics official advised McNamee that he must recuse himself from the case that arose directly from the Department of Energy’s 2017 coal bailout proposal, and also from FERC’s related grid resilience proceeding if it develops in a way that “closely resembles” the 2017 bailout proposal. McNamee has not yet committed to recuse himself, but instead demurred by stating that he would, “continue to seek the guidance…as to recusal issues.”

In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Senior Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement: “To ensure fair and impartial proceedings, McNamee must recuse himself from anything that closely relates to his prior work on his coal bailout. That’s what we’ve asked for, and FERC’s own ethics officer agrees with us. […] If he believes in FERC’s mission and the rule of law, he must affirmatively state that he will recuse himself from all coal bailout matters. That’s the only way stakeholders and the public can reasonably assume that he will be an objective arbiter as a FERC Commissioner.”

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