Ken Silverstein writes in Forbes:
With Binz, though, coal groups may have critically wounded themselves. The FERC nominee’s case was, in fact, nationally spotlighted. The travesty that this man suffered at the hands of self-interested groups is a national disgrace. Binz’ ‘crime?’ Helping to usher in renewable fuels, as well as the use of more natural gas generation, while he was chair of the Colorado Public Utility Commission. By extension, these efforts came at the expense of older coal units, whose advocates say could have been economically retrofitted.
“Ron Binz is a good man,” says Jon Wellinghoff, FERC’s chair since 2009. “He is eminently qualified to be the chair of the FERC, and who lied to no one during his confirmation process. To those who say or suggest otherwise, we should all question their motivation, objectives and competence, and the motivation of the people who are advising them.”
Wellinghoff, whose remarks were made to this writer, was joined by 11 other bipartisan FERC commissioners — both current and former — in their endorsement of Binz. One was Norma Mead Brownell, who was appointed by President Bush II, who told this reporter that both Congress and the White House should “understand the implications” of the rough-and-tumble confirmation process.
Prediction: U.S. officials untied financially or politically to the fossil fuel lobby and the patronage that it doles out will ensure that the next round of coal regs on existing plants are thoroughly peppered with toxic rules. Recall that the EPA just released its proposals for all future coal plants, essentially requiring them to be as clean as combined cycle natural gas plants.