Jeffrey R. Holmstead
Jeffrey R. Holmstead is a partner and attorney for Bracewell LLP in Washington, DC (formerly Bracewell & Giuliani*) where he has headed their “Environmental Strategies Group (ESG)” since 2006. The ESG reportedly works to “advise and defend companies and business groups confronting major environmental and energy-development challenges, both domestically and globally.” Holmstead previously served as Associate Counsel to President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1993, where he was “deeply involved” in the passage and amendments to the Clean Air Act. Holmstead’s work with the Clean Air Act earned him the title of “Clean Air Villain of the Month” by the Clean Air Trust. , 
Holmstead then moved to the corporate law firm Lantham & Watkins until 2001, another law firm representing industry interests and combatting regulations on mercury pollution from coal & oil power plants. , , 
From 2001 to 2005, Holmstead served as the EPA‘s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation under the Bush administration, a position that Polluterwatch reports Holmstead used to stall mercury pollution controls in US power plants for over eight years. 
Holmstead’s appointment at the EPA was controversial and protested by US Senators due to his previous lobbying work for coal companies. Jeffrey Holmstead has been described as a prime example of a “revolving door lobbyist“—a term that OpenSecrets defines as “a revolving door that shuffles former federal employees into jobs as lobbyists, consultants and strategists just as the door pulls former hired guns into government careers.” , , 
In 2017, according to Axios, President Trump initially considered Jeffrey Holmstead for a number two position at the EPA. In April 2018, Andrew Wheeler was instead confirmed to serve as Deputy EPA Administer. Wheeler went on to work as Acting Administrator with Scott Pruitt‘s departure. , , 
While Holmstead has also been described as “one of the nation’s leading climate change lawyers,” he has lobbied extensively for the coal and energy industries with clients including Duke Energy, Southern Company, Ameren, Arch Coal, Progress Energy, DTE Energy, Salt River Project, and others. Holmstead was also an adjunct scholar with the Citizens for the Environment, a group created by Koch Industries’ now-defunct Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). , , 
Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC)
Jeffrey Holmstead is counsel to the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC), a group that describes itself as “a broad-based coalition of energy companies committed to the continued viability of diverse, affordable and reliable electric power supply in the United States.” Members of the ERCC “include some of the major electric utilities companies in the country who all possess the shared belief that coal-based energy should play an important role as our nation moves toward a clean energy future.” The ERCC‘s director, Scott Segal, is also a partner at Bracewell LLP. , , , 
Latham & Watkins LLP
Latham & Watkins worked along with Holmstead to weaken legislation to reduce mercury pollution from coal and oil power plants. According to DC Bureau, Latham & Watkins’s “attorneys outlined an anemic cap-and-trade system to address mercury pollution from coal and oil fired plants. The firm’s recommendations were written to behoove industry clients.” 
“A side-by-side comparison of one of the three proposed rules and the memorandums prepared by Latham & Watkins – one of Washington’s premier corporate environmental law firms – shows that at least a dozen paragraphs were lifted, sometimes verbatim, from the industry suggestions,” The Washington Post reported. 
Holmstead, while working as associate administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, was responsible for drafting the mercury rule and used language from the Latham & Watkins memo. Prior to working in the Bush administration, Holmstead worked with Latham & Watkins to represent groups like the Alliance for Constructive Air Policy, a utility front group that focused on state smog standards. 
Stance on Climate Change
“I’m not sure the big debates are around the science, the big debates are around well, what is it that we should do… It’s really a technology issue, and I think the only effective way to deal with climate change is to make sure we’re investing in technologies that will give people what we get today from fossil fuels at a cost that’s cost competitive.
If I were in charge of climate change policy in the government, I would certainly want to invest more in those kinds of technology breakthroughs. And we’re seeing some encouraging things, but I think… if this is only about making people’s energy more expensive, making it harder for people to have the things that they have today with fossil fuels, I think it’s very hard to overcome human nature. But if there are technologies that can actually give us those same things without those CO2 issues and at a comparable cost, I think that’s the only way we actually end up dealing with climate change.” 
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), some of Jeffrey Holmstead’s statements on the toxicity of mercurcy during his time at the EPA directly contradict statements he made while working for Bracewell & Giuliani: 
Statements by Holmstead of EPA when Holmstead headed EPA program (2001-2005)
“Reducing power plants’ air pollution would result in ‘14,100 fewer premature deaths,’ among other ‘significant health benefits,’ ‘by dramatically reducing fine particle pollution caused by SO2 and NOx emissions.’
“EPA estimates that reducing power plants’ SO2 and NOx emissions by approximately 60% will deliver ‘particulate matter-related annual benefits’ that include 13,000-17,000 fewer premature fatalities every year. “
Statements by Holmstead while at Bracewell & Giuliani (2011)
“I don’t believe that there are thousands of people who are dying because of exposure to these small [particles],” i.e. particulate matter.
“It is pretty hard to say that [mercury from coal-fired power plants] is a significant public health issue.”
January 10, 2019
Holmstead was quoted in a Roll Call article, noting that the government shutdown and doubts that President Trump would win re-election were worrying his industry clients that their deregulatory agenda may be delayed or not carried through in time. 
“I don’t think agencies are necessarily going to be able to pick up where they left off,” said Jeff Holmstead. “It’s now gone on long enough that there are certainly starting to be concerns by industry.”
“There are some people who really support the regulatory reforms and are concerned that the administration is already behind on some things. The longer it drags on, the more challenging it will become. There’s no doubt that keeping the government shut down for too much longer certainly puts at risk some of the things that they’re trying to do.”
“I think the likelihood that [the EPA rules] will ever go into effect is pretty low,” Holmstead says. “There needs to be some sort of congressional action to decide how the United States is going to deal with climate change.” 
“Until the Clean Power Plan, the federal government has never said that states must shut down certain types of plants and build others to replace them. States like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and South Dakota believe that EPA has gone well beyond its statutory authority in ordering the construction of new wind and solar plants. Even if EPA is, to some extent, requiring them to do things they are doing anyway, they simply don’t believe that EPA has this authority.” 
November 11, 2011
“The answer isn’t just to regulate our way to clean energy.” — Politico Energy Forum (video below). 
June 7, 2011
With regards to his move from a government regulator, to a lobbyist for those he was regulating:
“I, I’m not sure why, uh, people have tried to make something of that. But people have to have jobs. And that’s the way it works.” 
- Electric Reliability Coordinating Council — $10,087,500
- Southern Company — $3,230,000
- Ameren — $1,568,000
- Duke Energy — $1,548,000
- Energy Future Holdings — $1,538,000
- Arch Coal — $1,520,000
- Progress Energy — $948,000 (merged with Duke Energy)
- DTE Energy — $620,000
- Salt River Project — $594,000
- LG&E & KU Energy (PPL subsidiary) — $170,000
- Mirant (now GenOn) — $270,000
- Chase Power Development — $260,000
- CSX Corp & CSX Transportation (ships coal by rail) — $198,000
- Edison Electric Institute — $60,000
Grand Total — $22,611,500
Jeffrey Holmstead is representing clients suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule aiming for utilities to shift away from coal-fired power plants and move towards renewable energy sources, The Wall Street Journal reports. 
July 7, 2015
Politico interviewed Jeffrey Holmstead about why the industry expects the Clean Power Plan to be overturned. Some excerpts below:
“I find it very hard to believe that the courts will ultimately uphold the rule, unless it changes a lot. We’ve only seen the proposal, but I think if you …had to choose one way to oppose the rule, you would say you’d do it in court, because it really is hard to see how the courts would uphold this.”
[…] I’ve spent the last 25 years working on Clean Air Act issues and I can say with some confidence that the act doesn’t work very well, if the goal is to get a level of environmental protection at the lowest possible cost. We’re paying a lot more than we need to for the reductions that we’re getting because there’s so much underbrush here. People are starting to talk about another round of Clean Air Act reauthorization.” 
September 11, 2014
Jeffrey Holmstead was disqualified by a federal judge in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against the coal burning utility company Ameren Missouri. The EPA had filed the case in 2011, claiming Ameren violated the Clean Air Act by failing to notify the agency of major modifications to multiple units at the plant. 
Polluterwatch reports that Judge Rodney Sippel granted U.S. Justice Department’s request to remove Holmstead as a witness, confirming that the lobbyist’s history at U.S. EPA posed “multiple conflicts of interest.” , 
“Mr. Holmstead’s legal opinions are irrelevant, speculative, and inadmissible.” […] “By his own description, Mr. Holmstead’s testimony relies on his recollection of EPA “internal meetings” that he says are relevant to the issues to be tried in this action. Such internal communications are privileged and confidential and Mr. Holmstead may not rely on his recollection of them to testify against EPA. Moreover, Mr. Holmstead received other privileged information concerning the issues about which he now seeks to testify on behalf of Ameren, and participated in power-plants enforcement cases related to this one while at EPA. Before he left EPA, he even personally provided a declaration for EPA that is at issue in this and other related power-plants enforcement cases asserting privilege claims on behalf of EPA over documents that are relevant to the opinions he now seeks to offer. Yet he now seeks to change sides and testify against EPA. Moreover, he was assisted in the preparation of his report by another former EPA attorney who was involved in the early stages of the investigation that ultimately led to the filing of this case. For the reasons discussed in the accompanying Memorandum, Mr. Holmstead should not be allowed to testify in this matter due to his multiple conflicts of interest. 
July 30, 2014
Jeffrey Holmstead testified before before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the EPA‘s carbon plan. Holmstead leads his testimony with two stated concerns: 
“(1) EPA’s proposal goes well beyond its legal authority under the Clean Air Act by trying to force states to regulate anything that produces or uses electricity; and (2) EPA has been so distracted by the notion that it can fundamentally change the electricity system in all 50 states that it has not done the technical work needed to develop legally sound regulations to reduce carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants.” 
June 18, 2014
Jeffrey Holmstead was on a panel discussion on the EPA‘s Clean Power Plan hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. 
With regards to the Clean Power Rule, Holstead said that “As someone who believes in the rule of law, I think this clearly goes beyond what EPA is allowed to do under the Clean Air Act.” After the panel discussion, Holmstead was questioned by Greenpeace representatives. Some comments and the full video below: 
Greenpeace: “All the technical expertise you have, and the experience you have with the EPA and lawyer, If you recognize the threat and the cost of climate change, why not use these skills in a way to help agencies solve this problem? It seems like every time there is a solution proposed, perhaps for obvious reasons—if you’re hired by Southern Company or Duke Energy you’re opposing the rules—but there’s never a solutions to any of that”
Holmstead: “That’s not true. We propose a lot of solutions, they’re just solutions that you don’t like.” 
June 5, 2014
Jeffrey Holmstead talked at a Resources for the Future seminar titled “Making Sense of EPA’s Proposed Rule for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Existing Power Plants” on a panel discussion titled “EPA‘s Proposed Rule: Challenges and Opportunities.”  Transcript is available for download here. 
OpenSecrets reports that Jeffrey Holmstead was lobbying against GHG restrictions proposed by the EPA, working with Bracewell & Giuliani to represent the interests of major coal producers including Arch Coal, which spent nearly $600,000 lobbying in 2013. Holmstead’s firm also represented Ameren Corp and DTE Energy which spent $634,000 and $860,000 respectively lobbying in 2013, listing clean air regulations and climate controls among their concerns. 
Gabe Elsner of the The Checks and Balances Project confronted Jeffrey Holmstead on why he failed to disclose his ties to the coal industry at an “Energy and Presidency” event sponsored by Politico (Video below). 
The Checks and Balances project also analysed 50 mainstream news stories mentioning Holmstead and found that his ties to the coal industry were only mentioned 36% of the time.
May 13, 2010
Jeff Holmstead released the following statement opposing the EPA‘s greenhouse gas “tailoring” rule: 
“With this rule, the Administration is trying to use the Clean Air Act to do something it was never intended to do. They’re basically trying to pound a large square peg into a small round hole, and their efforts will have serious legal and economic consequences. The decision to require permits for greenhouse gases means that thousands of construction projects around the country will be blocked or delayed by several years. If the tailoring rule is upheld in court, then the Administration’s temporary construction ban will only stop about 1,600 hundred of the largest projects planned for next year. But if the rule is overturned – and many lawyers believe it will be – then EPA itself estimates that the new rules will block or delay construction on more than 80,000 projects that would otherwise be creating jobs all over the country.” 
Jeffrey Holmstead worked with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) to write a controversial amendment to limit the EPA‘s authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. 
“Murkowski’s proposed amendment to the Clean Air Act has been attacked by Obama administration officials and environmental advocates as an industry-led attempt to hamstring efforts to regulate carbon — the only option available in the absence of a viable Senate climate change bill,” reports Politico. 
“I was involved,” he said, adding that Robert J. Martella also helped advise Murkowski’s aides on the matter. “The line out of the White House and the administration was that the amendment would block the car and truck rule” setting the first-ever greenhouse gas limits on emissions from vehicles. 
Desmogblog noted that Senator Murkowski had received $470,000 in campaign contributions from energy and mining industries since 2005, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. , 
Polluterwatch reports that, in his role at the EPA, Holmstead dismantled the EPA-sponsored Utility MACT (maximum achievable control technology) working group which consisted of 20 experts from the utility industry, state and local air quality offices and environmental group which were confident a Utility MACT rule under the Clean Air Act should be implemented to control mercury emissions from power plants. The Utility MACT Working Group was never reconvened under the Bush EPA. 
Shortly after the working group was disbanded, the New York Times reported that EPA employees in Holmstead’s department were told “either not to analyze or not to release information about mercury, carbon dioxide and other air pollutants,” in order to be consistent with the Bush Administration’s unscientific political positions. 
“We are extremely reluctant to make this choice, because Holmstead is the federal government’s top politically appointed official charged with regulating air pollution,” said Clean Air Trust executive director Frank O’Donnell. “But we are hard pressed to find anyone else – either inside or outside of government – who appears to be working so hard against pollution cleanup.
“Indeed, when Holmstead recently announced publicly that the President would veto any Clean Air Act amendments unless they gutted the key enforcement program of the law – new source review – his designation as ‘villain’ became not only obvious, but essential,” O’Donnell added.
“Now that a federal appeals court has upheld EPA‘s national clean air standards for smog and soot, it’s time for EPA officials like Holmstead to enforce the law rather than spend their time trying to weaken or repeal it.” 
As an assistant administrator at EPA under George W. Bush, Holmstead dismantled technology-based mercury standards moving forward under the Clean Air Act and proposed the “Clear Skies Initiative,” which would have allowed “three times as much mercury as the Clean Air Act.” 
- Bracewell & Giuliani (2006-Current) — Attorney 
- Environmental Protection Agency (2001-2005) — Assistant Admin for Air & Radiation 
- Latham & Watkins (1993-2001)—Partner 
- Executive Office of the President (1989-1993)—Associate Counsel 
- Citizens for the Environment (project of now-defunct Citizens for a Sound Economy) — Previous Adjunct Scholar , 
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