Reps. Olson, Green introduce bill to improve recruiting of FERC staff
Reps. Pete Olson (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) recently introduced legislation that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consult with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to determine appropriate salaries to attract more skilled staff.
The bill, Olson said, would help to address backlog at FERC to improve federal review of LNG export terminals.
“Our energy can’t be properly utilized sitting in storage instead of being shipped to markets that need it,” Olson said. “We must address this fundamental backlog in a smart way. Giving FERC needed pay flexibility in specific jobs will reduce that backlog and address a critical need.”
FERC would only be able to offer higher salaries for positions where they can confirm a critical need and would review that decision every five years. The bill also includes requirements for reporting on hiring and staffing.
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has a vital job for both ensuring environmental safety and advancing America’s energy dominance as we continue to see new expansion from the shale boom,” Green said. “They need qualified engineers and lawyers to do this job effectively but often can’t recruit talented individuals into these roles due to the severe limits of the government pay scale when compared to the private sector.”
The lawmakers noted that Congress gave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) similar authority to bridge the wage gap in the financial sector.
“In addition to other creative solutions, I believe we need to bolster the Commission’s ability to better recruit and compensate the skilled staff needed to review these applications,” FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee said. “I want to thank Reps. Pete Olson and Gene Green for their attention to this important issue and for their bipartisan efforts to help the Commission tackle the review of key energy infrastructure.”
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