On Tuesday, Ron Binz, nominated by President Obama to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, withdrew his name from consideration. Those who want to see the economy prosper should be relieved that the position described by Matthew Daly at the Associated Press as that of "the nation's top energy regulator" won't be occupied by a died-in-the-wool "renewable" energy radical.
The AP's Daly somehow kept the word "carbon" out of his coverage of Binz's withdrawal, even though, as the Wall Street Journal noted in a September 15 editorial which appropriately used the word 11 times, the man is obsessed with it to the point of wanting to establish, in the Journal's words, a "carbon-free paradise." Excerpts from Daly's dodging, followed by additional ones from the Journal's editorial, follow the jump.
NOMINEE FOR ENERGY REGULATORY POST WITHDRAWS
Ron Binz, a former Colorado energy regulator who strongly backs renewable energy, was opposed by at least half of the 22-member Senate Energy Committee, including all 10 Republicans and at least one Democrat.
Opponents said they considered Binz's views to be outside the mainstream and were troubled by his comment that natural gas may be a "dead end" fuel.
Republicans said they were concerned that Binz was not truthful when he assured them that he was not part of a coordinated effort by a green-energy group and a Washington lobbying firm to boost his nomination to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. (Hint: He wasn't truthful. -- Ed.)
... A White House spokesman said Tuesday that Obama was grateful for Binz's willingness to serve and regrets that "qualified public servants continue to get obstructed by the Senate confirmation process."
... Binz, 64, said in an interview Tuesday that he was caught up in an ideological battle that had little to do with him - or with FERC's job of regulating interstate transmission of electricity, oil and natural gas. The panel does not regulate coal.
Since the AP's Daly wouldn't explain what Binz meant by natural gas being a "dead end fuel" — many readers will probably take that as an indicator that we will run out of it by that time — I'll let the Wall Street Journal explain:
Target: Natural Gas
Ron Binz calls it a 'dead end' technology, and he'll try to make it so.
The oil and gas fracking boom increased household disposable income by $1,200 last year as lower energy costs flowed to consumers, according to a new study from IHS Global Insight. So Americans may want to know that President Obama's nominee to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) thinks natural gas is a "dead end."
That nominee is Ron Binz, and in March 2013 he spoke at an Edison Foundation panel on utilities and green technologies. To fight global warming, he argued, government must adopt a "new regulatory model, because that's where it's going to start."
... Mr. Binz said switching to gas might be "a good move" for the interim, "but we also need to understand that without CCS, without carbon capture and storage, I think that's a dead end, a relative dead end—it won't dead end until 2035 or so. But that's when we need to do better on carbon than even natural gas will allow us to do under current assumptions."
So there it is: Natural gas is a dead end not because there will be too little gas but because by 2035 it won't reduce carbon emissions as much as Mr. Binz wants.
... This is a man whose overriding policy motivation is making carbon more expensive so it can be phased out of the U.S. economy.
And, inevitably, make energy costs skyrocket.
The AP's Daly allowed Binz to falsely claim that "the battle over his nomination (was) a 'blood sport' ... funded by the fossil fuel industry waged an organized and effective campaign against him." As the Journal explained on August 25, the nomination really represented an attempt by "environmentalists and crony capitalists ... teaming up to install their man inside this supposedly independent body."
Luckily, it has been foiled.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.