Jeff Holmstead, former assistant administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency for Air and Radiation, is one of the nation’s leading climate change lawyers as recognized by Chambers USA (2008-2018) and heads the environmental strategies group (ESG) at Bracewell. 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 Jeff’s leadership, they work together on a daily basis to advise and defend companies and business groups confronting major environmental and energy-development challenges, both domestically and globally.
From his time in both the government and the private sector, Jeff is very familiar with the environmental and energy challenges facing the business community. He advises clients dealing with an increasingly complex regulatory, legal and public relations landscape, drawing on his experience in policy development, administrative and legislative advocacy, litigation and strategic communications. He has worked with clients in a number of industries on issues related to climate change, Clean Air Act policy and enforcement, and energy policy — including the development of new coal-fired power plants, refineries, renewable energy sources, and electric transmission infrastructure.
Jeff headed the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation from 2001 to 2005, longer than anyone in EPA history. During his tenure, he was the architect of several of the agency’s most important initiatives, including the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Diesel Rule, the Mercury Rule for power plants and the reform of the New Source Review program. He also oversaw the development of the Bush Administration’s Clear Skies Legislation and key parts of its Global Climate Change Initiative. Between 1989 and 1993, Jeff served on the White House Staff as Associate Counsel to former President George H.W. Bush. In that capacity, he was involved in the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the key steps taken to implement those amendments. From 1987 to 1988, he served as a law clerk to Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
J.D., Yale Law School, 1987
B.A., Brigham Young University, 1984
The Legal 500 United States, "Energy Litigation: Conventional Power," "Environment: Litigation," "Environment: Regulatory," and "Environment: Transactional," 2018
Chambers USA, "Nationwide: Climate Change" and "District of Columbia: Environment," 2018
Thompson Reuter's Super Lawyers, "Washington, DC Super Lawyers," 2018
Woodward/White, Inc.'s The Best Lawyers in America, "Washington, DC: Environmental Law," 2018
KNOWN FOR: Helping senior executives, members of Congress, and judges to understand complicated regulatory issues and using regulatory advocacy, strategic communications, and (when necessary) litigation, to help clients solve their most pressing environmental problems.
INTERESTING CAREER NOTE: Jeff didn’t know there was such a thing as environmental law until he was appointed to serve in the White House Counsel’s Office under President George H.W. Bush. After becoming the lead White House staffer on the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act, he decided that environmental law was much more interesting than what he had been doing and has been working on Clean Air Act and climate change issues ever since.
FAST FACT: After stepping down from his position at EPA to spend more time with his family, Jeff actually spent more time with his family. Before he joined Bracewell, Jeff and his wife sold their cars, rented out their house, and traveled around the world for a year with their four children, then ages 6, 9, 12, and 15, homeschooling them along the way.
District of Columbia