Senate confirms two Trump picks for energy regulation panel

President Donald Trump returns from Camp David

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed two of President Donald Trump's picks for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), in a move that could secure a Republican majority on the panel through June.

The Senate passed Mark Christie, a Republican, and Allison Clements, a Democrat, by voice vote to FERC, an independent panel of the Energy Department. The panel regulates the transmission of electricity and natural gas across states and reviews large energy projects such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

The commission now has a full complement of five members and a 3-2 Republican majority.

President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, could quickly name a Democratic chair of the panel after the Jan. 20 inauguration, who would likely determine what the panel considers and when.

But the panel could have more Republicans than Democrats through June, 2021, when the term of commissioner Neil Chatterjee, a Republican, ends.

Christie sits on the Virginia State Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities, railroads and state-chartered financial institutions, where he has served for 16 years.

Newly confirmed pick Clements is the founder and president of Goodgrid LLC, an energy policy and strategy consulting company based in Utah.

Before that she was for two years the director of the energy markets program at the Energy Foundation non-profit and worked for a decade at Natural Resources Defense Council as the environmental group's corporate counsel and as director of its Sustainable FERC Project.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)