Business Day reports:
US President Barack Obama’s nominee to head a little-known energy commission has become the latest appointee drawn into the contentious debate over climate change.
The nomination of Ron Binz to be chairman of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has sparked enough opposition that environmentalists have hired a public-relations firm to aid his Senate confirmation.
Binz has drawn the ire of coal-industry interests for advocating policies that mining companies said encouraged the conversion of power plants to natural gas when he served as Colorado’s top utility regulator.
“He’s not a regulator, he’s an activist,” Amy Oliver Cooke, director of the Energy Policy Center at the Independence Institute in Denver that advocates for limited government, said in an interview.
The Green Tech Action Fund, a San Francisco-based non profit that backs green energy technology, has hired VennSquared Communications, a Washington-based political consultancy, to advocate on Binz’s behalf. The fund is affiliated with the Energy Foundation, which reported almost $US100 million ($90 million) in revenue in 2011 and has connections to hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, an Obama fundraiser and opponent of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.