Climate

Romney Getting Energy Advice From Bush Pollution Lobbyist Jeffrey R. Holmstead

Politico reports that Republican presidential prospect Mitt Romney is “seeking counsel” from Jeffrey R. Holmstead, a top industry lobbyist who worked to corrupt air pollution laws at the Environmental Protection Agency during the George W. Bush administration:

The mating dance has begun as top Republican presidential candidates try to snare seasoned energy exports for their campaign. Mitt Romney is off to a strong start, rubbing elbows with Mike Leavitt – a former Utah governor who led the EPA during the Bush administration – and seeking counsel from Jeff Holmstead, a fellow Mormon and former top Bush EPA air pollution chief who now works on K Street with Bracewell & Giuliani.

Holmstead has long been a top pollution lawyer for the Bush family, following in the footsteps of his mentor, C. Boyden Gray:

1989: Holmstead Joins Bush I Administration. In 1989, George H.W. Bush’s counsel C. Boyden Gray hired Holmstead, who had been clerking for Douglas Ginsberg, a Reagan-era anti-regulation official and judge. As Associate Counsel to the White House, Holmstead was involved in the implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

1993: During Clinton Years, Holmstead Becomes Top Pollution Lawyer. With Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, Holmstead joined the “environmental” practice of corporate law firm Latham & Watkins. Clients included the Chemical Manufacturers Association, fighting pesticide regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. Holmstead also represented the Alliance for Constructive Air Policy, a coal-fired utility front group that coordinated state-level efforts to water down smog standards.

Holmstead Joins Koch Front Group. While at Lathan & Watkins, Holmstead became an adjunct scholar for the Citizens for the Environment, a spin-off of Koch Industries’ Citizens for a Sound Economy. CSE was founded in 1984 by the Koch brothers. C. Boyden Gray, Holmstead’s former boss, became chairman of CSE in 1993.

2001: Bush II Appoints Holmstead To Head EPA Clean Air Program. As Associate Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, Holmstead drafted a mercury rule based on verbatim language from memos by his former firm Latham & Watkins. Holmstead’s mercury rule was thrown out by the courts. [Washington Post, 1/31/04]

2007: During Obama Years, Holmstead Returns As Top Pollution Lawyer. Since 2007, Holmstead heads the environmental strategies division at Bracewell & Guiliani, and is a lobbyist for Southern Company, Duke Energy, Arch Coal, and other industrial polluters. Holmstead advised Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for her bill to block EPA authority to reduce greenhouse pollution. [Lobbying Disclosure Database]

Although Koch has said he won’t publicly support any candidate until next year, Romney is on the petrochemical billionaire’s inside track: Romney held a “meet and greet” at David Koch’s Hamptons estate last summer, and participated in a Koch-sponsored summit this April.

(H/T: Frank O’Donnell)

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