Former Colorado regulator Ron Binz withdrew from consideration as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because opponents had succeeded in painting him as an environmental extremist, he said. Binz abandoned his candidacy Oct. 1 after he was unable to win any Republican support within the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin announced he would oppose his confirmation.
“The caricature that they created had nothing to do with who I am and nothing to do with what I might’ve brought to FERC. It was just a blood sport,” Binz told POLITICO.
Arkansas Public Service Commission Chairwoman Colette Honorable; Edward Finley, chairman of the North Carolina Utilities Commission and Regina Speed-Bost, an attorney with Schiff Hardin and a former FERC staffer, are reportedly among those being considered for the vacant fifth seat on the commission. Some observers say President Obama will name one of the two other Democrats on the commission, Cheryl LaFleur or John Norris, as chairman.
Federal tax credits for wind, geothermal and closed-loop biomass are due to expire in December, and many see little sign they will be renewed. Even if they are reinstated retroactively later, it would continue the credits’ longtime pattern of uncertainty.
The Senate should be embarrassed by its failure to pass a simple energy efficiency bill, says Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the energy committee. “There is so much blame to go around here,” she said. Bill backers are contemplating ways of getting past roadblocks.
Chambers of Commerce in 17 states told the Environmental Protection Agency they want regulation of fracking left to states. Differences among states make uniform federal regulation problematic, they said.
More: Midwest Energy News