Derailing Obama’s choice

President Barack Obama is always looking for reinforcements in his war on reasonably priced electricity.

Obama’s strategy rests on making it so expensive for utilities to build and operate coal-fired power plants that they switch to other fuels. Coal remains by far the most economical way of generating power.

The president’s energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, once commented that a “war on coal is exactly what’s needed.” Obama’s new Environmental Protection Agency head, Gina McCarthy, seems likely to continue in the same vein as her predecessor, Lisa Jackson.

Now Obama wants to name Ron Binz as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Binz formerly headed Colorado’s public utilities commission, where he oversaw implementation of new rules intended to push utilities to abandon coal-fired power plants.

At FERC, Binz will exercise substantial influence over utilities.

In his war against reasonably priced electricity and the coal industry, Obama has been careful to ensure anyone he names to a federal energy-related position sees eye-to-eye with him. His success has been virtually complete. Members of the Senate should end it by refusing to confirm Binz.