Hebert Resigns Washington Job

The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who has clashed with congressional Democrats and California's governor over the handling of the Western power crisis, is resigning at the end of the month. Curtis Hebert, a Republican from Pascagoula Mississippi, submitted his resignation in a letter to President Bush delivered to the White House on Friday.

The resignation takes effect Aug. 31, White House spokeswoman Ann Womack said Monday. The resignation had been expected amid indications that the president preferred Patrick Wood III, a state regulator from Texas, to head the federal agency that oversees wholesale electricity markets and interstate natural gas transportation. ``The president appreciates Curtis Hebert's service as chairman of the FERC. He has worked hard to balance the need for just and reasonable rates with the need to encourage adequate new supplies of energy,'' Womack said. Scott McClellan, deputy White House press secretary, said in Crawford, Texas, where the president if vacationing, that the resignation ``was Hebert's decision.'' ``He felt it was time to move on,'' said McClellan.

Hebert could not immediately be reached for comment. His office said the resignation letter would be released later in the day.