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FERC Nomination Withdrawal Yet Another Example of Fossil Fuel's Power Over Government

2 min. read

The other day, we posted a news-making interview between Tigercomm President Mike Casey and former super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The bit takeaway from that interview was Abramoff's assertion that clean economy CEOs who think that federal policy is not relevant to their businesses are "living in a dream world."  Clearly, the fossil fuel industry does NOT live in a dream world, but instead in the world of political reality, in which spending big money on lobbying, donating to political campaigns, and generally buying influence in the corridors of political power gets you what you want from the government. Today, we have a perfect example of this, with a Politico story about what happened to President Obama's nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead FERC [Ron Binz] announced Tuesday that he had pulled his name from consideration in the face of mounting opposition from coal supporters and a stalemate in a crucial Senate committee.


Critics claimed that Binz’s past work as chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission showed an anti-coal bias, and he quickly drew criticism from groups such as the American Energy Alliance and the American Tradition Institute. Eventually, the issue prompted Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to announce his opposition to Binz, a move that would have led to a tie vote on the nomination in the committee.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page moved quickly after Binz was nominated in late June, launching multiple attacks against that dubbed him a “radical,” and criticizing FERC’s actions during the Obama administration.

By the way, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) is the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), which, according to Sourcewatch, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil interests - ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers, etc.  AEA and IER then use that money to attack "green jobs" and the expansion of clean energy. For its part, the fossil-funded American Tradition Institute works to subvert wind power, attack state Renewable Energy Standards, and deny climate science. Finally, the Wall Street Journal editorial board is notorious for its pro-fossil-fuel, anti-clean-energy stances, including recent lies that were debunked by the newspaper's own reporters. These are groups which are certainly not "good guys," but one thing's for sure: they know how to put pressure on politicians, and they play to win.

Topics: Public Affairs