Besides the fact that the non-essential anti-coal bureaucrats at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are not working this week, the coal industry got some additional good news from Washington.
President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Ron Binz, a noted coal opponent, has withdrawn himself from consideration for the position.
The move came to be expected, after an apparent majority of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, including West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, said they would oppose Binz's nomination, preventing it from reaching the full Senate.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, known as FERC, regulates interstate natural gas and electricity transactions, as well as natural gas pipeline infrastructure, hydropower and other forms of energy.
Binz had been chairman of Colorado's public utilities commission, where he forced the shut-down of coal-fired power plants and imposed costly renewable electricity standards. Those standards increased energy bills for electricity consumers in the state.
Under his watch, the overreaching Colorado commission "seemed more concerned with promoting renewable energy than holding down energy bills," said Colorado representative Spencer Swalm.
Binz' nomination was being promoted by a green public relations campaign, a move virtually unheard of for FERC nominees. Alternately, an industry PR campaign ensued against him.
Credit Manchin for stepping up to do his part to assure fairness at the FERC for all energy sources.
"Based on Mr. Binz's record in Colorado, I have grave concerns about how he would regulate our energy sector," Manchin said after a hearing Sept. 18.
"Mr. Binz' actions prove that he prioritizes renewables over reliability. His approach of demonizing coal and gas has increased electricity costs for consumers. I believe Mr. Binz record is unacceptable for a FERC Chairman," Manchin said.
An editorial in The Wall Street Journal said Binz is going on a media tour saying he was treated unfairly. "Perhaps he was referring to our editorials," the Journal said, " which committed the sin of reporting his own words at length."
Contrary to the common disclaimer by financial analysts, when it comes to Obama nominees, past performance does indicate future results.
Thanks to Sen. Manchin and the Republicans on the Senate energy committee for preventing Binz from taking office and implementing an agenda that would further harm the Appalachian coal industry.