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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

by David Halperin, Republic Report.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, New York’s Rudolph Giuliani became “America’s Mayor,” mobilizing his city and standing as a defiant foe of the forces of terrorism. Then, after the devastating force in the New York area of Superstorm Sandy, Giuliani, campaigning in 2012 for Mitt Romney, again presented himself as a protector of the people, charging that President Obama’s reaction to Sandy was “disgraceful.”

But when it comes to curbing forces that could lead to more violent storms like Sandy, Giuliani is decidedly not on the side of protecting people. Because there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is rapidly causing climate change, and that climate change leads to extreme weather events. And Giuliani’s own law firm is now at the forefront of efforts by the coal industry to block President Obama’s groundbreaking effort to regulate the burning of fossil fuels, specifically carbon emissions from power plants.

In 2005, Giuliani expanded his already extensive business activities by joining the 60-year-old Bracewell law firm, now called Bracewell & Giuliani. The firm has nearly 500 lawyers spread across 10 offices, including New York, Washington, D.C., Dallas, London, and Dubai.

Bracewell & Giuliani are particularly active as lobbyists and litigators on behalf of fossil fuel industries — oil, gas, and coal.

The day before the Obama administration issued its new rule for power plants, Scott Segal, a Washington lawyer with Bracewell & Giuliani, was already denouncing the rule in the New York Times. “Clearly,” Segal said, “it is designed to materially damage the ability of conventional energy sources to provide reliable and affordable power, which in turn can inflict serious damage on everything from household budgets to industrial jobs.” Segal, who represents Arch Coal, Southern Company, and others in the coal and power industries, has been lobbying to oppose the rule. He told the Times that he would sue to block its implementation.

One of Segal’s partners in the D.C. office of the Giuliani firm, Jeff Holmstead, previewed for The Wall Street Journal last week what arguments the coal industry will make in the lawsuit.

Holmstead is a classic revolving door lobbyist, having parlayed a job as an associate White House counsel under President George H.W. Bush, where he worked on environmental regulations, into a job as an environment practice lawyer-lobbyist at the powerhouse firm Latham & Watkins. There he represented the Alliance for Constructive Air Policy, a group backed by coal-fired power companies that opposed air pollution rules. He also became an adjunct scholar at Citizens for the Environment, a spinoff of the Koch brothers’ Citizens for a Sound Economy.

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