Obama's pick for top energy regulator withdraws nomination

  • Katie Colaneri

President Obama’s nominee to head up the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has pulled himself out of the running.
Ron Binz, a former Colorado utilities regulator, formally withdrew his nomination citing a lack of support from the Senate Energy Committee because of his support for alternative energy sources. In an interview with the Associated Press, Binz reflected on his contentious confirmation hearings which he said presented a “caricature” of himself “spun up by my opponents.”
More from the Associated Press:

Binz called the battle over his nomination a “blood sport” and said advocacy groups funded by the fossil fuel industry waged an organized and effective campaign against him.
“It was a coordinated attack,” he said, calling the dispute a proxy battle against the Obama administration’s clean energy policies.
A former advocate for energy consumers, Binz now works as a consultant and is affiliated with a renewable energy institute headed by Ritter. Binz said Tuesday he will focus on “how to move forward on a clean energy agenda.”
At a confirmation hearing last month, Binz denied he is anti-coal, but the perception that he is hostile to coal and other fossil fuels persisted. Sen. Joe Manchin, a pro-coal Democrat from West Virginia, sharply questioned Binz at the Sept. 17 hearing and announced his opposition to Binz the next day. Another pro-coal Democrat, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, also was considered likely to oppose Binz if his nomination had continued.
“Mr. Binz’s record shows he strongly favors renewable (energy) over other energy sources, and he favors rising rates as part of the new economy,” Manchin said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) oversees the transmission of electricity, oil and natural gas between states such as pipelines and LNG terminals. It does not regulate coal.

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