Conservative groups are likely to oppose the nomination of lobbyist Jeff Holmstead to the number two position at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a source.
“We’re trying to work behind the scenes to block him,” a conservative movement source told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Conservatives see him as part of the D.C. “swamp” who “not only went native,” but “seemed to want to go native.”
Holmstead is a partner at Bracewell, a D.C.-based law and lobbying firm, who served as EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation under former President George W. Bush.
Conservatives were disappointed, among other things, with Holmstead’s handling of the endangerment finding and air quality science. Holmstead’s decisions set the stage for EPA to run wild with global warming and air quality regulations in the Obama administration.
Though not all conservative activists oppose his nomination, and see no point in picking a fight with the Trump administration. They’d rather work with the administration rather than antagonize it over a hiring decision.
Axios reported Monday Holmstead is expected to be appointed as EPA deputy administrator, citing two sources familiar with the decision. The news group said it would be “a moderating tilt inside the agency’s leadership” if he’s confirmed.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with Holmstead and reportedly “likes him,” Axios reported, and he’s got a White House recommendation. Right now there’s no other major candidate for the job, Sources told Axios.
Axios reported that Holmstead “pursued regulatory reforms some in conservative circles thought weren’t big enough and since leaving he’s worked on issues that run counter to certain issues important to right-leaning advocacy groups on climate change and ethanol.”
He is a registered lobbyist and works on issued related to the oil and gas industry. Axios reported Bracewell lobbies “for oil refineries urging EPA to change the types of companies that must comply with a federal ethanol mandate.”
Holmstead also opposes re-opening the EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding, which gives the agency the legal authority it needs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Holmstead doesn’t believe an endangerment finding revision would hold up in court.
Conservative groups have filed petitions for the EPA to reconsider the Obama-era determination, and Holmstead’s presence at the agency could stymie those efforts.
Though environmentalists disagree, and oppose Holmstead on grounds that he will work to further Trump’s agenda — regardless of his record in the Bush years.
(2) that he’ll carry out Trump’s anti-environmental agenda at EPA loyally & efficiently. That will be his agenda–not his agenda w/ Bush.
— John Walke (@jwalkenrdc) June 19, 2017
Holmstead did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment. EPA also did not respond to a request for comment.
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