Ranking member of the Senate Natural Resource Committee Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced her opposition following evidence that he misstated his relationship to the public relations firm. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) opposed his nomination largely based on Binz’s hostility to coal utilization, dashing hopes for confirmation by the panel of 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
Binz’s controversial stint as chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission led to heightened scrutiny of his nomination by skeptical committee members. As chairman, Binz orchestrated a 2010-regulation forcing coal-based plants serving the Denver area to convert to natural gas, though they were not slated for retirement.
His direct links with Xcel Energy, a utility he was responsible for regulating, similarly drew criticism. “He has only himself to blame for his failed confirmation,” said Colorado Mining Association President Stuart Sanderson.