1962 Economic and Valution Symposium, Dallas, March 15–16, 1962

This is the first occasion since I left the Federal Power Commission at the end of last year, for me as a private citizen, to comment publicly on the current activities of that commission. It is not my intention to bestow criticism, which is so easy to do, even though I realize that I am in an environment where criticism of FPC would fall on many receptive ears. If my talk to you thus leaves a void, I know that there are many competent critics among you who will soon fill it. I reserve the right, however, to express some measure of disagreement with the Commission.

It has been said that criticism often takes from the tree caterpillars and blossoms together. There may be situations when both should be taken, but let us be careful to leave those blossoms, which though not as beautiful as we would like, are the best that can be grown in the peculiar soil of existing laws which apply to the natural gas industry. On this premise, let us make a few observations of FPC.

The rapid and total change in the membership of the Commission was a most unusual development of the last six months of 1961 and no doubt is unprecedented in the history of the major federal regulatory commissions. The Federal Power Act provides for a five-man commission with the terms staggered so that one term expires each year on the 22nd day of June. Thus, if Commissioners had been appointed, had become qualified, and had served according to the statutory plan, there would now be four Eisenhower appointees and one Kennedy appointee serving. The fact is-all members of the Commission are now Kennedy appointees.

The chain of events which has brought about this situation began in March, 1960, when one member of the Commission suddenly died. In June the term of another member expired. Thus, two, rather than the one expected vacancy occurred during that year. President Eisenhower submitted two nominations to Congress to fill these positions, but Congress did not act on them, with the result that there were still only three members on the Commission when Congress adjourned in 1960.

Thereafter, President Eisenhower made a recess appointment, and on July 15 of that year that appointee took office as a member of the Commission and served until April 15 of 1961, thus bringing the commission membership up to four during that period. Then, there again were only three members until the latter part of June of 1961, when the first two Kennedy appointees took office. In the meantime, another term bad expired on June 22, and in July one of the two remaining Eisenhower appointees died suddenly, thus creating another vacancy. Nominations for these two positions were submitted to Congress by President Kennedy, and both were confirmed before Congress adjourned, bringing the Commission to full strength once more.

The remaining member who was an Eisenhower appointee, (myself) resigned as of January 1, 1962. Thus, four present members of the Commission are Kennedy appointees, and President Kennedy-has submitted a fifth nomination, which is now pending in the Senate.

Does this complete change in Commission membership mean a radical change in Commission policies? One of our oldest political cliches is that Republicans are more business minded than Democrats. From this premise some people would confidently predict that there will be a swing toward tougher and more burdensome regulation and away from the business-oriented policies which allegedly existed during the Eisenhower years. (I realize-that most of you in the gas producing industry would find it somewhat difficult to believe that the Federal Power Commission had been sympathetic to producers at any time and would feel that even tougher regulation is almost beyond comprehension.)

Although none of us can foresee the many new problems and situations-which will confront the Commission, it is my belief that FPC's primary policies will not change so materially that the over-all impact of its regulation will be felt by the industry to be substantially different or more burdensome than it was prior to 1962.

P. 87^

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