Power Regulation

Binz Withdraws FERC Nomination

By Cathy Cash | ECT Staff Writer Published: October 2nd, 2013

Ron Binz, President Obama’s pick to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has pulled his nomination after controversy surrounding his positions on renewable and fossil energy appeared to sink his chances.

Ron Binz

Ron Binz

“I am withdrawing so that the President can move forward with another nominee, allowing the FERC to continue its important work with a full complement of commissioners,” Binz said in a statement Oct. 1.

Binz noted that “it appears that my nomination will not be reported favorably by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.”

The committee’s 10 Republicans were expected to reject Binz. Concerned about coal interests, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin—one of the committee’s 12 Democrats—joined the opposition, sealing the fate of the nomination.

Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who supported Binz, recognized an unusual negative campaign against the FERC nominee and said it was “unfortunate” that Binz “was forced to withdraw.”

“The next nominee should be judged on his or her merits, and not on organized PR campaigns, either for or against,” said Wyden, whose committee vets presidential nominations to FERC.

Speculation in Washington on potential successors has included Cheryl LaFleur, a current FERC commissioner, and Colette Honorable, chairwoman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

Binz, who runs his own public policy consulting business, chaired the Colorado Public Utilities Commission when state legislators installed one of the country’s strictest renewable energy portfolios.

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