Ron Binz, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), revealed on Tuesday that he was withdrawing his name because of strong opposition from coal supporters, whose cause was partly spearheaded by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate.
McConnell had warned that any attempt to nominate Binz without approval from the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources would meet with a Republican filibuster.
FERC is responsible for supervising interstate power lines and pipelines. Politico called Binz’s withdrawal “a stunning setback for the president, who has succeeded in winning Senate confirmations for far more controversial nominees at EPA, the Pentagon and the Labor Department.”
McConnell had released a statement saying of Binz:
Ron Binz has been handpicked by the Senate Majority Leader to be another foot soldier in his and this Administration’s War on Coal. Like the Majority Leader, Binz has a proven track record of hostility toward coal and other traditional fossil fuels. Representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky and thousands of hard working coal miners and their families, I cannot support Binz’s nomination as the next chairman of FERC. His nomination is yet another threat to American energy and jobs and I will work to defeat it.
Benjamin Cole, communications director for the American Energy Alliance, which opposed Binz, said that McConnell’s tough stance meant that Binz was already a “dead nominee.”