WV Sen. Manchin could derail Obama’s anti-coal energy nominee

E&E News reports:

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), one of the strongest coal supporters in the upper chamber, is voicing persistent doubts that could derail President Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Manchin told reporters today that he continues to have concerns about Ron Binz, a former Colorado regulator who’s been pegged by conservative and libertarian groups as being pro-renewables and anti-coal. Supporters of Binz say he’s actually a level-headed regulator getting a bad rap.

“I’m troubled by that; I’m looking through all the information that’s been given to me,” Manchin said today.

If Manchin were to vote against Binz, he would join Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s ranking Republican from Alaska, who said today during a confirmation hearing for Binz that she could not support his nomination because of his regulatory views and misstatements he made about his contact with the White House and lobbyists in recent weeks (Greenwire, Sept. 17).

“No” votes from Murkowski and Manchin would mean the Senate panel — 10 Republicans and 12 Democrats — would likely be split, and Binz’s nomination would not advance to the full Senate. The panel’s other nine Republicans are expected to vote against Binz’s nomination.

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