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Federal energy regulator says she won’t seek new term

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the two remaining members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says she will not seek a second term, a move that could leave the five-member panel with a single commissioner and further hobble its ability to make decisions.

Democrat Colette Honorable said Friday she will not seek reappointment after her term expires in June. Honorable has served on the energy panel since 2014.

President Donald Trump tapped Democrat Cheryl LaFleur to lead the commission but has yet to fill three Republican vacancies. The vacancies have left the agency without a quorum and prevent it from making high-profile decisions on interstate pipelines or proposed mergers.

Honorable did not say when she will step down. An agency spokeswoman says Honorable could stay on until a new commissioner arrives or until Congress adjourns next year.

At least a half-dozen natural gas pipeline projects totaling more than $10 billion have been in limbo since Democrat Norman Bay stepped down from the panel in February.

Lawmakers from both parties have expressed alarm at the prolonged vacancies. Senate Energy Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has pressed the White House for months on the issue to no avail.

Murkowski called Honorable “a true champion of the increasingly important work of this independent agency,” adding that her expertise has strengthened the commission.

“FERC has now been without a quorum for nearly three full months, and it is imperative that a quorum is restored as expeditiously as possible. This continues to be a top priority for me, and a hearing will be scheduled as soon as we receive nominations and the proper paperwork,” Murkowski said.

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