Arizona Corporation Commissioner Marc Spitzer is reported to be a leading candidate for President Bush to fill the GOP slot on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission vacated by Commissioner Nora Brownell.
Spitzer’s possible appointment was reported Wednesday in The Energy Daily, a Washington, D.C.-based online and print journal covering energy issues. A spokesman for the corporation commission who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the report but said no official word on the appointment has come from the White House.
Spitzer, a longtime Valley politician, tax attorney and businessman, could not be reached for comment. The Energy Daily reported that Spitzer is favored over Alan Schriber, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, who appears to have been derailed by political factors involving the White House and various members of the Senate.
Republican senators from Ohio, George Voinovich and Michael DeWine, have displeased the White House on several unrelated issues, according to The Energy Daily.
Spitzer also is being pushed for the appointment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. In addition to McCain’s backing, sources told The Energy Daily that Spitzer enjoys the support of former FERC Chairman Pat Wood, who is close to President Bush, and the endorsement of Brownell, who was Wood’s staunchest ally on the commission when he was chairman.
However, sources say Spitzer might encounter resistance from senators who note that he would be yet another Westerner on FERC, which is soon to receive two more members hailing from the West. Spitzer’s record, particularly his support for renewable energy requirements, might also raise red flags among some Senate Republicans, the Energy Daily said.
In February, Spitzer was part of a three-vote majority on the five-member panel voting for requiring the state’s regulated electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025. For 2006, utilities must generate 1.25 percent of retail energy sold from renewable resources.
The buzz on Spitzer comes as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today on the nominations of Philip Moeller, an electric utility lobbyist, and Jon Wellinghoff, a former consumer advocate in Nevada, to FERC.
It is unclear whether Spitzer, as a stand-alone nominee, could get support from Senate Democrats, but he has developed a Democraticfriendly record on certain issues as a commissioner on Arizona’s energy rate-making panel since 2000, The Energy Daily said.
Spitzer was elected to the ACC in 2000 after serving as a state lawmaker. He was majority leader of the state Senate in 1996. He was commission chairman from 2004 to 2005.
He has filed nominating petitions to run for re-election to the ACC this fall for a fouryear term. He was elected in 2000 to a six-year term, but the term lengths were changed to four years as part of a reorganization of the commission. FERC regulates the interstate transmission of oil, natural gas and electricity.