September 16, 2013

Colorado regulator has history of pushing radical green agenda

Oklahoma City – Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s leading free market grassroots organization, today joined more than a dozen other organizations urging the United States Senate to reject President Obama’s nomination of Ron Binz to be chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  Binz has a record of aggressive regulatory activism in his time at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, calling into question whether he would run FERC according to statutory constraints or driven by his own agenda.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this Tuesday on the nomination.

The coalition letter is available online here

“While AFP rarely opposes nominations, Mr. Binz has proven himself deeply committed to an ideological agenda rooted in a “New Energy Economy” rather than keeping electricity prices affordable for American families and businesses,” said AFP Oklahoma Director Matt Ball. “A Binz-run FERC will drive up the cost of electricity and therefore the cost of living for all Oklahoma families through hyper-regulation.  As was reported in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal, Mr. Binz is entirely anti-fossil fuel, a prospect which cannot be afforded by Oklahoma utilities and its ratepayers or Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry.  Mr. Binz’s nomination is bad for America, bad for the Oklahoma economy, and is more of the same from the Obama administration, which has single-handedly increased the regulatory burden more than any Presidency in our nation’s history.”

A section of the coalition letter, which was sent to the senators who sit on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, stated:

“We are very concerned that Commissioner Binz would not be constrained by Congressional-mandated boundaries, but would act to carry out President Obama’s plan to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.” Just like in Colorado under Commissioner Binz’s watch, electricity prices will increase if he is confirmed as FERC chairman, which will be a hidden tax on your constituents.

Commissioner Binz apparently believes that regulators should not merely execute the laws, but should usurp the role of the legislative branch and legislate. He has said the “problem with current regulation is the regulatory process” and therefore “regulation must become a more legislative (as opposed to judicial) process.” This view is antithetical to the boundaries Congress has set for FERC. Congress created FERC to keep energy prices “just and reasonable”—not to legislate a “New Energy Economy.”

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