Friday, January 11, 2008

Who's advising the presidential candidates on the environment?

(from Inside EPA Clean Air Report)

Former Top EPA Officials Play Key Advisory Roles In Presidential Races

Former top EPA officials who served in both the Bush and Clinton administrations are playing key roles advising major candidates in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, positions that often result in appointments if the candidates eventually win election.

On the Democratic side, Clinton-era Deputy EPA Administrator Robert Sussman is advising Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), while former EPA Administrator Carol Browner and Peter Robertson, who served as Browner's chief of staff and acting deputy administrator, are advising Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

On the Republican side, Jeffrey Holmstead, the EPA air chief during President Bush's first term, is advising former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), according to an informed source.

Jason Grumet, who runs the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy, is leading the Obama energy and environment policy team.

Additionally, President Clinton's White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, who now runs the Center for American Progress (CAP), is helping Sen. Clinton, while former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), a CAP fellow, is an active Obama supporter....

Sussman, who retired from the Latham & Watkins law firm Dec. 31 after heading its environmental practice for a decade, declined to comment on why he chose to support Obama over Clinton. Obama drew criticisms last year when he took contributions from Sussman -- at the time a registered lobbyist -- even though Obama has promised not to accept donations from lobbyists. Sussman later dropped his lobbying registration...

On the Republican side, Holmstead -- now a partner at Bracewell & Guliani -- is advising the Mitt Romney campaign, according to an informed source. Holmstead could not be reached for comment and has not donated any money in the 2008 presidential campaign, according to campaign finance records.

But the source says that Holmstead, despite working for Romney rival Rudy Guliani’s law firm, is supporting Romney because “they are good friends.”

Also advising Romney on energy and environment issues, according to the source, is former Cheney energy task force director Andrew Lundquist as well as American Chemistry Council President Jack Gerard, both of whom have donated money to Romney’s campaign this year.

At the same time, David Conover, a former Energy Department deputy assistant secretary during the current Bush administration, is advising John McCain on energy and environmental issues. And several scholars with the American Enterprise Institute are working with Guiliani and McCain on carbon taxes, a source there says.

It is unclear who is advising Mike Hukabee, who has stated that he supports a cap on carbon emissions and who one source notes distinguishes himself from most of the rest of the Republican field by talking about climate change as a stand-alone issue, rather than as part of energy security.

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