New Hunt for Head of Energy Regulator After Candidate Withdraws

Source: By MATTHEW L. WALD, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013

WASHINGTON — The White House is once again looking for someone to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, following the decision by Ronald J. Binz to withdraw his name from consideration.

Mr. Binz, a former utility regulator in Colorado who was known for his support of renewable energy, had attracted unusual opposition from the coal industry and conservatives, and it appeared unlikely that his nomination would be approved by the Senate Energy Committee. The commission he was nominated to lead has some authority over transmission lines and other factors important to the integration of wind and other forms of renewable energy into the power grid.

Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a Democrat, had announced he would vote against Mr. Binz, and the support of a second Democrat, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, was not clear. Mr. Binz had tangled with the ranking Republican member of the committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, over a variety of issues, including whether he was coordinating with an outside public relations firm in his effort to win confirmation.

Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said on Sept. 26 that Mr. Binz was “very qualified,” but a spokesman for the Senate Energy Committee said that the panel knew that the White House had begun looking at other candidates.

Mr. Binz said on Tuesday, amid the news of the federal government shutdown, that he had told the White House on Monday that he would stay put in his consulting practice in Colorado.

“Colorado has shown that it’s possible to move steadily down the path of a clean energy future while protecting consumers, stimulating the economy and creating jobs,” he said in a statement. “We can do this as a nation if we get serious about energy policy and investments in technologies that allow an ‘all the above’ mix of low‑carbon resources.”