Industry Shakers: Clean Power Plan Defender Talks ‘Narrow’ Replacement


Kevin Poloncarz played an important role defending the Clean Power Plan—the Obama Administration’s signature policy aimed at combating climate change—in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Poloncarz, who moved to Covington & Burling LLP as a partner in the firm’s energy and industry group in San Francisco this month, represented a group of nine utility companies that supported the measure.

“The general position of my clients was that the rule doesn’t require anything more than what the industry is already doing,” he said in a phone call with Bloomberg Environment.

The policy, first proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014, would have gone into effect this September. It would have imposed limits on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants.

Instead, the U.S. Supreme Court halted implementation of the rule in February 2016. President Donald Trump has announced he wants to scrap the plan, and the White House is taking steps to complete a replacement for the rule in early 2019.

Poloncarz told Bloomberg Environment that he believes Trump’s replacement plan “will be a very narrow rule.”

“There are strong indications of what it will include—based on the revocation—that it will not allow generation shifting from higher [emitting fossil fuel plants] to lower [emitting natural gas] plants,” he said. “Instead it will be based solely on measures that can be implemented on the fence line” of plants.

Poloncarz previously worked at Paul Hastings LLP.

In Other Moves:

Tom Joensen has joined Faegre Baker Daniels LLP as counsel in the firm’s Des Moines, Iowa, office.

Joensen works as a trial attorney in product liability and environmental disputes. He also has represented clients in commercial disputes, including bankruptcy matters and class actions.

Prior to entering the legal profession, he served as an adjunct professor of communications disorders at Iowa State University.

Joensen was previously a shareholder at Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave PC in Des Moines.

Yasser Madriz has joined McGuireWoods as a partner in Houston. Madriz has experience in cases dealing with trade secret theft, unfair competition claims, and energy litigation.

“Yasser’s ability to address complex matters from the perspective of a trial lawyer and transactional attorney will be a tremendous asset for corporate clients across industries, particularly in the energy sector,” said Jay Hughes, managing partner of the firm’s Houston office. “We are delighted to welcome him.”

Madriz comes from Haynes and Boone LLP, where he practiced for 16 years.

Amy L. Edwards, a partner in Holland & Knight LLP’s Washington, D.C., office, was recently sworn in as the 92nd chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. She will serve a one-year term.

“Amy is widely recognized as one of the top environmental lawyers in the country, and she is the perfect choice to head SEER,” said David Whitestone, head of Holland & Knight’s government section, in a news release. “We are proud of Amy’s accomplishments and congratulate her on her important new role.”

Edwards has previously served in a number of leadership roles within the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, including as chair-elect, vice chair, and chair of the Environmental Transactions and Brownfields Committee.

She also is the co-chair of Holland & Knight’s National Environmental Team.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fatima Hussein in Washington at fhussein@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bloombergenvironment.com