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Obama Nominee for U.S. FERC in Jeopardy With Scott’s ‘No’

Senator Tim Scott will vote against President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, virtually erasing the possibility of a Senate panel approving the nomination.

Scott, a South Carolina Republican, “is now a ‘no’ vote on the nomination” of Ron Binz, Greg Blair, the senator’s spokesman, said yesterday in an e-mail.

Scott is the last of 10 Republicans on the 22-member Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to announce opposition to Binz, a former chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has also said he’ll vote against Binz.

With half the panel prepared to vote against him, Binz doesn’t have enough support for the committee to recommend him for a full Senate vote.

The committee has been planning a roll call on the nomination and has “no change of plans at this point,” Keith Chu, a spokesman for the panel, said in an e-mail yesterday after Scott announced his intention to vote against Binz.

Republican senators led by Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the party’s top member on the committee, lined up against Binz after his Sept. 17 confirmation hearing before the panel. Murkowski told Binz at the hearing she was concerned he wasn’t forthcoming about the extent of his support from lobbyists and public-relations officials.

Others, including Manchin and Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, have said Binz displayed a bias toward renewable fuels at the expense of coal as head of the Colorado regulatory authority.

Binz, who has the support of clean-energy groups, said he has been open with the panel about those who have helped him prepare for his nomination. He has also denied being anti-coal.

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