Jeffrey R. Holmstead

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Jeffrey R. Holmstead heads up the "Environmental Strategies Group" (ESG) at Bracewell & Giuliani, a U.S. lobbying firm. A biograpahical note states that "the ESG is a multi-disciplinary group that includes environmental and energy attorneys, public policy advocates, and strategic communications experts – most of whom have had high-level government experience. Under Mr. Holmstead's leadership, they work together on daily basis to advise and defend companies and business groups confronting major environmental and energy-development challenges, both domestically and globally."[1]


Jeff Holmstead has worked in two presidential administrations, starting in the George H. W. Bush White House as an associate council, then moving to the corporate law firm Latham & Watkins before joining the George W. Bush Environmental Protection Agency. At the EPA, Holmstead was a former assistant administrator for air and radiation at the United States EPA.[1] He also oversaw the development of the Bush administration's "Clear Skies Legislation" and key parts of its "Global Climate Change Initiative."[2]

Previously a lobbyist with the firm of Latham & Watkins, Holmstead represented electric utilities trying to fight air pollution restrictions, and he represented the Farm Bureau conglomerate in its fights against pesticide controls.[3] He was a key player in pushing Bush's Clear Skies initiative, which allowed a 520 percent increase in toxic mercury pollution, a 225 percent jump in carbon dioxide pollution (a global warming contaminant), and a delay in the enforcement of smog and soot pollution until 2016. In charge of writing a new rule to limit mercury poisoning of children by electric power plants, Holmstead embraced a watered-down rule that essentially was written by his old lobbying firm of Latham & Watkins.[4]

Dismissal by Federal Judge as Ameren's Expert Witness in Lawsuit

In a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against Ameren Missouri for violations of the Clean Air Act, Jeff Holmstead was dismissed as an expert witness by federal judge Rodney Sippel.[5] Judge Sippel's motion to dismiss cited Holmstead's "multiple conflicts of interest" in reference to his career between EPA and as a representative for coal mining and utility company clients.[6]

Mercury Pollution and the Coal Utility Lobby

A PolluterWatch report accuses Jeffrey Holmstead of blocking legally-mandated mercury pollution controls at U.S. power plants for eight full years. Since joining Bracewell & Giuliani, Holmstead's clients have almost exclusively been coal utilities, coal mining and shipping companies, and coal trade associations.[7] In the years that Holmstead was disclosed as a lobbyist for coal interests, those client companies have paid Holmstead's firm over $10.7 million. These companies include Southern Company, Duke Energy, Progress Energy, and Energy Future Holdings, all listed among top utility mercury polluters.[8]

Amending a Bill

In January 2010 Washington Post journalist, Juliet Eilperin, reported that Holmstead and Roger R. Martella, Jr., "helped craft" the original version of an amendment proposed by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski which would "bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act". Holmstead confirmed that in Sptember 2009 he worked with Murkowski's staff on the wording of the amendment. Holmstead's client list on climate issues includes Southern Company, Duke Energy, Progress Energy and the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council on climate matters.[9]

Holmstead's role in writing Senator Murkowski's legislation was parodied in a Greenpeace "PolluterHarmony" video called "Jeff's Story", presented as a mock online dating testimonial.

Videos of Activist Confrontations with Jeff Holmstead

In November, 2011 at an Energy Forum hosted by Politico, Jeff Holmstead was interrupted on stage by a Greenpeace activist, citing his role in delaying mercury regulations at U.S. power plants for eight years and asserting that Holmstead's decisions directly resulted in the premature death of tens of thousands of people.

At the same event, Gabe Elsner of the now-defunct Checks and Balances Project approached Holmstead on camera to seek an explanation for Holmstead's role in delaying mercury pollution controls for U.S. coal plants.

In June, 2014, Greenpeace again approached Jeff Holmstead to seek an explanation for his alleged interference with Environmental Protection Agency rules to reduce carbon emissions at U.S. power plants. Holmstead was questioned in the elevator after an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center and was followed out onto the street, answering questions while attempting to catch a taxi.


  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1987
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Brigham Young University, 1984
  • Bar Admissions: District of Columbia, Pennsylvania[10]


Jeffrey R. Holmstead
Bracewell & Giuliani
2000 K Street NW
Suite 500
Washington, District of Columbia, 20006-1872
Tel: 202.828.5800
Fax: 202.223.1225
Email: (replace the "AT" with "@")


  1. 1.0 1.1 "People: Jeffrey R. Holmstead", Bracewell & Giuliani website, accessed January 2010.
  2. Senator Tom Carper, "EPA Issues Rosier 'Clear Skies' Analysis, Based on New Model", Media Release, July 2, 2003.
  3. EPA's Smoke Screen: How Congress Was Given False Information While Campaign Contributions and Political Connections Gutted a Key Clean Air Rule, Public Citizen, October, 2003
  4. Jim Hightower, A Dirty Dozen: Sub-cabinet policy operatives actually run government, Utne Reader, June, 2004.
  5. Connor Gibson Coal Lobbyist Jeff Holmstead Disqualified by Federal Judge in Ameren Pollution Lawsuit, PolluterWatch, Sept. 11, 2014
  6. United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, [1], United States of America v. Ameren Missouri, Civil Action 4:11-cv-00077-RW, Document #297, filed 7/18/2014, retrieved September, 2014 via Bloomberg Law.
  7. Jeffrey Holmstead: the Coal Industry's Mercury Lobbyist, PolluterWatch, Greenpeace, December, 2011.
  8. Travis Radsen & Lauren Randall, America’s Biggest Mercury Polluters: How Cleaning Up the Dirtiest Power Plants Will Protect Public Health, Environment America Research & Policy Center, November, 2011.
  9. Juliet Eilperin, "Murkowski and her lobbyist allies", Post Carbon (Washington Post blog), January 11, 2010.
  10. Bracewell & Giuliani People: Jeffrey R. Holmstead, web page accessed November 19, 2008

Infographic: Jeff Holmstead: King Coal's Mercury Pollution Lobbyist, Greenpeace, December 2011.

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