(Adds details on Norris' background)
WASHINGTON Aug 7 John Norris, a commissioner
with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said on
Thursday he will resign almost three years before his term
expires to take up a post with the U.S. Department of
"Earlier today, I submitted my letter of resignation from
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to President Obama,"
Norris said in a statement. Norris will leave on Aug. 20.
"It has been a great honor to serve with all the exceptional
professionals and public servants who make up the FERC family
and so many dedicated energy stakeholders in the public and
private sectors," Norris said.
FERC regulates elements of the U.S. natural gas, oil,
electricity and hydropower industries, including the reliability
of the electricity grid.
Norris, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, has
been with the energy regulator since 2010 and was reconfirmed in
2012 to a term that expires in June 2017.
A native of Iowa and a former chief of state to Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack, Norris will next serve as the
minister-counselor for USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service in
The five-member commission will be deadlocked between two
Democrats and two Republicans until Norris' successor is in
Recent media reports have said that Colette Honorable,
chairwoman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and
president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility
Commissioners, will be chosen to fill the rest of Norris' term.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; editing by Andrew Hay, Bernard Orr)