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.

File photo

Regulator Ron Binz had to defend actions dealing with coal and natural gas when he appeared before senators this week.

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.


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  • Cesco Estep


    In the U.S, only if the Feds CONVICT someone of something have they "got the goods" on them.

    Charging McAteer with fraud was an obvious attempt to cover up for the collusion between Manchin and Massey. Bringing it up in this forum reveals more about YOU than it does McAteer --because the FACT is that he was never convicted. Or even CHARGED!

    Besides, some paper thin fraud investigation doesn't change the FACT that Manchin pulls down far more money through his "blind trust" coal brokerage (Enersystems) than he does as a "statesman".

    It is tough to ignore that just two years prior to the UBB homicides and only two years after the Sago mine explosion killed 12, Manchin was caught on tape directly admitting to having implemented a policy so lethal that his administration is now responsible for far more U.S. mining deaths than any other since the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969 was made law. But as I said before, WV's Lamestream Media is hellbent on ignoring it, for obvious reasons.

  • wvtd

    joe, you will do as you are told. you support this guy but can not let the sheep know that. you got to keep your job somehow.

  • FungoJoe

    Did you happen to catch Obama's Energy Secretary, Ernest Muniz's, comedy routine in congress yesterday?? He actually said under oath, that global warming is on a hiatus. And that it is schedule to return soon. Can you check out and see what the schedule is?? When will global warming return from vacation?? The enviro-nazi's are at a loss for the non-hurricane hurricane season and the lower number of tornadoes. Thats their best explanation?? That global warming is on a hiatus. Unbelivably believable for the liberal leftists.

  • cutty77

    Joe you make no difference whatsoever. No matter which way you vote.

  • Rick

    From what I hear this guy did a good job in Colorado. Coal will be used for many years to come but it like whale oil and kerosene will become obsolete some day. Our State should be leading the way in developing technology to use coal cleaner and better. Coal is starting a "bust" cycle not due regulations but to cheaper fuels. We should have great hydro power but the coal lobby kept the generators out of the dams, etc. We can go forward or try to keep living in the past and suffer the consequences.

  • Gunga Din

    I bet Binz is shaking in his boots. Hahahahaha.

  • ConservativeRealist

    Most of the environmentalists miss that coal is critical to the economies of China, India, and Russia where it is used, in a highly unregulated manner, to provide cheap energy that allows their economies to thrive while ours suffers under bureaucratic regulations. Until we have the capability and infrastructure to maximize alternative resources for energy, we need to recognize that coal is critical to our economy and our national security. There needs to be a plan - not just adopting tough regulations with arbitrary deadlines and no "Plan B" - to do that is idiotic and very short sighted.

    The environmentalists want to stop coal mining and power plants to switch to natural gas - but they don't want pipelines built to get the gas to the power plants - and they don't want the fracking type drilling that makes the natural gas inexpensive to obtain - or, they vehemently fight drilling in parts of the country where huge reserves are known to exist. They use celebrities to push their message who fly in on their fuel guzzling private jets and drive from the airport in their limo to a rally at the DEP Building - been there, seen it!!!

    This country needs coal to be used efficiently and effectively as an integral part of a national energy policy. To regulate it into oblivion is inane and could generate a recession that could imperil us as a nation.

  • wirerowe

    Agree with JR

  • thornton

    Once Coal ceases to be a high-five opportunity for the Environmental Fundamentalists at their picnics, they will move on to other targets....some, perhaps, not as comfortable to ignore as Coal.

    Fundamentalists enjoy looking at Life through a straw...then use that same straw to lower the level in everyone's glass within reach when they crash the picnic's of others.

    • Robert

      Read that analogy in an article some where before...should have used quotation marks.

    • Hop'sHip

      Environmental fundamentalists? What about the Free-market fundamentalists? They seem to be sucking up more and more of the nation's wealth and then urinating into everyone else's glass, telling us that is what God intended. Some of us question that.

    • Jr

      Like the analogy.

  • Tim C

    Now if Joe only had the guts to vote against his buddy Harry Reid and de-fund Obamacare.

  • Cesco Estep

    I find it disturbing that Senator Manchin does not recuse himself from voting on this confirmation based on the conflict of interest with his own coal brokerage firm. And that "blind trust" excuse won't cut it any longer, either, because even Mitt Romney admitted that blind trusts were just a thinly veiled ruse.
    Even more disturbing is the media's apparent blind spot when it comes to reporting Manchin's vested interest. It probably has EVERYTHING to do with the sponsors and ownership of MetroNews and affiliates. That certainly explains the poor reporting regarding Manchin's involvement in the mass industrial homicides at Upper Big Branch, at least according to Chapter 10 of Davitt McAteer's report on the disaster.

    "The state’s failure at Upper Big Branch does not stop with safety issues inside the mine. The inability to protect the lives of miners is also a political failure – a failure by the state’s government to nurture and support strict safety standards for coal miners. If miners’ lives are to be safeguarded, the cozy relationship between high-ranking government officials and the coal industry must change, as must the relationship between the enforcement agency and the industry it regulates."
    McAteer was pointing directly at then-governor Joe EnerSystems Manchin. And although that's probably why the feds tried to later discredit McAteer with a false fraud charge, it still stands as a fact that MetroNews and all the other local lamestream media ignored that whole chapter of McAteer's report. SHAME!

    • FungoJoe

      Something you may have missed.
      "Court records show investigators believe McAteer and the school fraudulently billed expenses to federal grant programs or cooperative agreements from 2005 through 2011.

      The sworn affidavit by an agent who works out of the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Md., said those expenses range from McAteer's salary — which surged from $130,300 in 2006 to $230,659 by 2008 — to cellphones, computers, technical support and salaries for other staff, including a secretary in McAteer's Shepherdstown private law office."
      Thats just the start of it. Want more??
      "...stands accused by a NASA fraud investigator of conspiring with the Catholic college where he now works to use millions of federal grant dollars for personal gain and the school's benefit."
      That's millions of taxpayer $$$$$$.

    • FungoJoe

      If the Feds charge you with something then they got the goods on you. As we have seen recently in Mingo County. I doubt very seriously Mr. McAteer is as "innocent" as you think or believe. He commited fraud. He got caught. SHAME !!!!

  • Rodney Hytonen

    Still supporting and fighting for the profits of his fellow ALEC members, imstead of his constituents who want Coal, Oil and Gas extractionists OUT of West Virginia!

    Well "senator," Now we want YOU out!

    We wll NOT allow any more of West Virginia to be turned into a Sacrifice Zone to corporate profits, and an INDUSTRIAL WASTELAND!

  • Joe

    Senator Manchin:

    Thank you, pending your understanding that there are no backroom deals, "meeting halfway", or other non-public 180 reversal moves.

    Your constituency will be watching.

    • wvrefugee

      You're right! I'm watching and hope the so called "war on coal" continues!!! If coal is so good for West Virginians, everyone in McDowell County would be rich!!!???

      • wirerowe

        Coal is mined out in McDowell county and almost all of the tax money went to charleston and was spread through out the state. West Virginia is in the best fiscal shape of just about any state and it is for one reason coal. If you don,t think so you don't have a clue about government finances.

      • Robert

        Somebody argue against wvrefugee's point....aah...I thought so. And, people wonder why West Virginia ranks last in everything except obesity and heart disease...but...but...the coal industry will save us. Stupid is as stupid does.

      • Joe

        Uh....I guess the only way I can respond is that I hope you are currently enjoying your air conditioning, lights, internet, cable, water heater, street lights, etc. This is due 80% plus to coal. I suggest you consider pondering sleeping and rising under the blanket of standard of living that coal provides you and your family, then questioning the way in which the hardworking men and women in the mines provide it.

        Perhaps you can simply say "thank you" and go on your way.

        Sorry to all for plagarizing "A Few Good Men" to make a point.

  • donj

    Good decision. We need our elected reps to stand up to Obama and his ilk.

  • wirerowe

    Thank you Senator