President Obama took a very positive step when he nominated Cheryl LaFleur to be a Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Ms. LaFleur played a key role in developing the energy efficiency programs that have become a model for the nation during her time at National Grid USA (formerly the New England Electric System). She was also instrumental in the critical decision by her company to support the landmark Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and to champion an auction of the pollution “allowances” instead of giving them to polluters for free and re-invest the proceeds in customer friendly efforts like energy efficiency.
As a career utility executive Ms. LaFleur knows the companies that FERC regulates and the people who run them but as a tough, smart and fair-minded independent thinker with solid values about protecting the environment and the people she is well positioned to be the right person to regulate those companies.
And maintaining a little geographic and gender diversity on a body like FERC that has been traditionally Western and male is not such a bad thing . . .
Hopefully, the partisan gridlock in Washington will not hold up her confirmation by the Senate.