• The formal nomination of Charles "Chuck" Sams III to be director of the National Park Service was forwarded to the Senate for confirmation on Sept. 13, the White House said, which on Aug. 18 first stated its intent to do so. Sams is an Oregon member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. If confirmed he will serve under U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet secretary. He grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeast Oregon and has held executive and management positions for tribal government. Sams was interim executive director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation before joining the Council.
  • President Joe Biden indicated on Sept. 9 he will nominate utility commissioner Willie Phillips to fill the FERC seat recently vacated by Neil Chatterjee. Phillips, a regulatory attorney and chairman of the District of Columbia Public Service Commission, sits on the board of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. He previously served as assistant general counsel for NERC.
  • Tracey LeBeau is the new administrator and CEO of the Western Area Power Administration, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced Aug. 26. LeBeau had been WAPA's acting administrator since March 15, after former Administrator Mark Gabriel left to become CEO of United Power in Colorado. LeBeau has worked at WAPA since 2014, when she started as transmission infrastructure program manager, overseeing WAPA's $3.25 billion in transmission borrowing authority. LeBeau is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the first Native American to lead WAPA.
  • California-based Natel Energy, the developer of a fish-friendly hydroelectric turbine that can be installed in irrigation canals, on July 21 announced a $20 million funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and supported by Chevron Technology Ventures. The funding will be used to help grow the company, featuring its Restoration Hydro Turbine, through a targeted portfolio of projects in the U.S. and Europe. The turbine was deployed in a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation irrigation canal in Madras, Ore., for a successful test of its fish-friendly performance.