The lone member of the nation's top energy regulator is invoking the Tom Hanks drama "Cast Away" to make light of the fact that its been five months since her agency was closed because it doesn't have enough members.
Cheryl LaFleur, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's acting chairwoman, tweeted a picture of a Spaulding volleyball with a red face drawn on with marker, a la Hanks' only friend, Wilson, that he created from a Wilson brand volleyball in the film.
"My new 'colleague' Commr Spaulding, courtesy of @AIEnvironment so I won't be alone @FERC, a la Tom Hanks in Cast Away!" LaFleur tweeted Sunday afternoon.
It appears the energy researchers at the nonpartisan Aspen Institute in Colorado gave her the ball. A FERC spokeswoman was still looking into the details of how LaFleur came to tweet about the ball. It wasn't clear if the ball was given to her with a face or if she drew it on herself.
LaFleur appears to be attending the Aspen Institute's exclusive 2017 Energy Policy Forum on the electric grid, which wraps up Monday. This year's forum was co-chaired by former Obama administration Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of the utility company ComEd.
The Democrat is likely eager for the Senate to vote as soon as possible to restore FERC's quorum with some much-needed commissioners. Republican nominees Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee were advanced by the Senate energy committee and are awaiting a final vote by the full Senate. The five-member commission requires at least three members to restore its decision-making authority.
The commission oversees major energy development as the regulator of the nation's vast interstate electricity markets. It also regulates interstate natural gas and oil pipelines, as well as liquefied natural gas export terminals. The natural gas industry has been lobbying the Senate to restore the quorum as soon as possible, noting that billions of dollars in investment are being sidelined and investment lost.