The Washington Post

Moore’s nominee for panel withdraws

Environmen­tal groups had criticized selection of gas industry official


Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) announced Tuesday that he would withdraw the nomination of a natural gas industry official to the Public Service Commission, which helps regulate the natural gas industry in the state, following intense criticism from environmen­tal groups.

The decision to pull the nomination of Juan Alvarado, an official at the American Gas Associatio­n, comes a day after The Washington Post reported that leading environmen­tal groups in Maryland had raised serious concerns about elevating a fossil-fuel industry official to a key climate position.

In a statement, Moore said Alvarado had decided to withdraw from the state Senate’s confirmati­on process. The governor stressed that his administra­tion remains committed to combating climate change.

“Juan shares our conviction that addressing climate change is the defining challenge of our time, and his deep understand­ing of the Public Service Commission was knowledge that would have served Maryland well,” Moore said.

“I understand this was a difficult decision for Juan, but respect his decision to withdraw from the confirmati­on process,” he added. “As we look ahead, my administra­tion is fully committed to achieving Maryland’s bold and necessary climate, energy, and resilience goals.”

In a statement released by the governor’s office, Alvarado said that while he was “honored” to be tapped for the role, he had decided to withdraw “for personal reasons.”

“Climate change is the fight of our lives, and I believe that we have real and substantiv­e challenges to meet Maryland’s goals while ensuring continuous and equitable service at fair rates,” Alvarado said. “I firmly believe in Governor Moore’s leadership and

vision, and know he will continue moving Maryland towards meeting its vital climate goals. I stand ready to help him however I can going forward.”

In a phone interview Tuesday, Moore spokesman David Turner stressed that Alvarado had voluntaril­y withdrawn and that the governor had not asked him to do so after The Post reported on the backlash to his nomination.

“Obviously we are aware of the story because we read The Post; we subscribe,” Turner said. “But I haven’t talked to [Moore] about any noted pushback.”

Turner declined to make Alvarado available for an interview or give a timeline for when the governor would nominate a new member of the state Public Service Commission.

Moore campaigned on a goal of shifting Maryland to 100 percent clean energy by 2035. But he angered many of his environmen­tal supporters, including the head of the Maryland League of Conservati­on Voters, by selecting Alvarado this month.

Josh Tulkin, director of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club, declined to comment on Alvarado’s withdrawal but said that in general, the group looks forward to working with Moore “to ensure the PSC is ready to advance the governor’s bold climate agenda.”

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