So much for Trump’s so-called “lobbying ban.” Axios is reporting that Jeff Holmstead, a former Bush administration official and revolving-door lobbyist, is expected to be nominated for the Environmental Protection Agency’s number-two position. The move wouldn’t be unusual for Holmstead, who for nearly two decades has moved seamlessly between lobbying for the fossil fuel industry during Democratic administrations and working in the public sector during Republican one. As PolluterWatch reports:
Jeff Holmstead began his political career as the Associate Counsel to former President George H.W. Bush, moving from his government office to a lobbying firm to the Environmental Protection Agency to his current lobbying firm. During the Clinton years, Holmstead spent his time as a lobbyist for Latham & Watkins. In 2001, Holmstead was appointed to Assistant Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation, where he played a key role in the George W. Bush administration’s efforts to roll back clean air and climate change protections.
Holmstead left the George W. Bush EPA in 2005, later joining the litigation firm Bracewell LLP as head of the firm’s Environmental Strategies Group (ESG), which Bracewell describes as “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.”
Axios says Holmstead, whose appointment would require Senate confirmation, “would represent a moderating tilt inside the agency’s leadership” because he “is a veteran Washington insider,” but environmentalists likely won’t see it that way. Holmstead has spent parts of his career working to weaken air pollution standards, has said mercury pollution from coal is not “a significant public health issue,” and has spoken against regulating carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change.
Some conservatives aren’t happy, either. One “movement source” reportedly told the Daily Caller that groups are “trying to work behind the scenes to block him.” That’s partially because Holmstead doesn’t share all of their policy priorities—for example, he doesn’t want the EPA to undo its scientific finding that carbon dioxide is a harmful pollutant. But it’s also because they see Holmstead as part of the so-called “swamp.” In that sense, they’re not wrong.