Republicans Say Energy Nominee out of ‘Mainstream’
From ABC News
By Matthew Daly
President Barack Obama‘s nominee to be the nation’s top energy regulator came under sharp questioning Tuesday from lawmakers concerned that he may be opposed to coal and natural gas.
Republicans and at least one Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee said they believe that former Colorado regulator Ron Binz favors renewable energy sources such as wind and solar over traditional fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
Specifically, Republicans said they were troubled by Binz’s comment that natural gas may be a “dead end” fuel. Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also criticized Binz’s support of a Colorado clean-air law that they said resulted in the closure of several coal-fired power plants.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the panel’s top Republican, told Binz at the conclusion of a three-hour hearing that she would vote against his nomination to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Murkowski said she was not convinced Binz’s views were “compatible with FERC’s mission” to regulate interstate transmission of electricity, oil and natural gas.
Murkowski and other Republicans also said they were concerned that Binz was not truthful when he assured them that he was not part of a coordinated effort by a green-energy group and a Washington lobbying firm to boost his nomination.
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