WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, claiming he and Colorado energy regulator Ron Binz hold different views about the nation’s energy future, vowed to oppose Binz’s confirmation as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Binz had his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, when Manchin asked several questions and also met with Binz privately.
The senator said he’s concerned by Binz’s track record of helping close coal-fired power plants in Colorado and disagrees with a statement Binz made about natural gas being a dead-end fuel.
“We just disagree,” Manchin told West Virginia reporters Wednesday afternoon. “He is ideologically in a position where he believes that we should be moving more rapidly, unrealistically, toward a renewable (energy) market that’s not reliable.”
Manchin said he’s concerned about how the coal industry would figure into a possible Binz leadership of FERC. Manchin’s vote could help defeat Binz in the energy committee. The Democrats hold just a 12-10 edge in membership.
The senator wants President Barack Obama to nominate someone who is more even-handed.
“I’m hoping that the President, if this person is not confirmed, can give us someone who is more balanced and has past performances of being balanced,” Manchin said.