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Obama’s Choice for Energy Regulator Drops Out

Good news. Politico:

President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead FERC announced Tuesday that he had pulled his name from consideration in the face of mounting opposition from coal supporters and a stalemate in a crucial Senate committee.

The fall of the former Colorado utility regulator Ron Binz is a stunning setback for the president, who has succeeded in winning Senate confirmations for far more controversial nominees at EPA, the Pentagon and the Labor Department.

Perhaps just as striking was the political fervor brought to bear against a nominee to lead a regulator that is little known outside of Washington, and one that typically restricts its work to the highly technical rules for the nation’s energy backbone of power lines and pipelines.

“Last evening I asked the president that my name be withdrawn from further consideration as his nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” Binz said in a statement from his Colorado energy-policy consulting firm, less than two weeks after it became clear he didn’t have the votes to win the backing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

He added: “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.”

In an interview with POLITICO, Binz said his failed bid to lead the agency was a “cautionary tale” for regulators and energy policy.

“I think the implications of this fight are something worth pondering. If this kind of handling of a nomination becomes … the new normal, that’s going to make it a lot more difficult for good energy policy to grow,” he said.

The rest here.


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