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About Don Keskey

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Don Keskey's Record of Achievement

Don Keskey upon leaving on a military  flight to Saigon, Vietnam

Don Keskey’s Upper Peninsula beginnings…

Don Keskey was born in the far western Upper Peninsula community of Ironwood Michigan. His father had been a high school chemistry teacher before entering and completing medical school, after which he served in the United States Army Medical Corp during World War II, and thereafter practiced medicine in the Ironwood area. His mother was a special education teacher and then an Ironwood High School English teacher, armed with her Masters Degree in English from Michigan State University. Don’s brother served in the Navy and Marine Corp for several years, including in the Vietnam War during 1966-1967, after which he had a decades long career as a United Airlines Captain. Don’s sister became a High School teacher for some 35 years. Don’s parents purchased his grandfather’s farm near Ironwood when Don was 2 years old. Don throughout his youth helped with numerous farm chores, including tending the apple orchard, picking apples, cutting hay, picking strawberries and blueberries, building fences, and painting the farm house, until Don graduated from high school and entered college at Northern Michigan University. During high school, Don was a member of the football team, participated in ROTC and the debate team, was co-editor of the high school newspaper, and graduated near the top of his class, while also working at part time jobs. At Northern Michigan University, Don was active in student government, and was elected NMU Student Body President in campus-wide elections for two consecutive years, and was a member of the NMU debate team, while working at part time jobs until his graduation with high honors at age 21.

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Crossing the Bridge to Lower Michigan…

Upon graduation from NMU, Don joined the United States Navy Reserve, and then entered the executive program at the United States Army Tank-Automotive Command (and Chrysler Tank) in Warren, Michigan. During his employment with TACOM, Don was called to active duty in 1969 and 1970 in the United States Navy, which included service in the Vietnam War in 1970. Upon returning to his TACOM job, Don ultimately resigned at the GS-11 civil service level to commence law school at the University of Michigan.

Don graduated from the University of Michigan Law School with a J.D. law degree in 1973, and was admitted to the Michigan Bar, being sponsored before the Ingham Circuit Court by Ron Styka, a member of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. Don Keskey was then hired as an Assistant Attorney General by Attorney General Frank Kelley, and served some 25 years in the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection and Public Service Divisions. 

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Don Keskey upon returning home  from Vietnam and Southeast Asia

While at the Environmental Protection Division, Don Keskey represented the Attorney General and the Department of Natural Resources in preparing and undertaking several major successful cases against Michigan chemical and other companies that were polluting Michigan’s ground waters, rivers, and the Great Lakes. Don Keskey was also assigned to represent the State in advising the Attorney General, the Governor, and state agencies in dealing with the aftermath of the PBB cattle feed contamination crisis, and successfully represented the State in litigation before the Circuit Courts, Court of Appeals, and Michigan Supreme Court dealing with the ultimate disposal of highly contaminated cows in specially designed clay-lined burial pits. Don Keskey also served for some 23 years in the Attorney General’s Public Service Division, including as an Assistant Division Head, and for 15 years as the Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Division. The PSC Division represented the Michigan Public Service Division, and the State of Michigan, in hundreds of state and federal agency cases, and in the state and federal courts, including the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court, and in cases before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

Don Keskey’s role in directly representing the state, and in supervising other attorneys in the PSC Division, involved the regulation of Michigan’s electric and gas utilities, telecommunications carriers, all motor carrier transportation on state roads and highways, passenger ferry services, intra-state railroads, private water companies, and intrastate pipelines, gas storage facilities, and oil and gas drilling companies, among related matters. Don Keskey also represented Michigan and some 29 state Attorneys General, and some 20 or more other state utility and energy regulatory Commissions, in successful litigation against the U.S. Department of Energy before the United States Courts of Appeal relating to the federal government’s failure to uphold its statutory and contractual duties to dispose of high-level nuclear waste stored at some 70 or more locations across the nation, including at many sites located next to rivers and the Great Lakes, and near major population centers, including nuclear waste sites located in Michigan. Don Keskey’s service with the Attorney General’s Office was recognized by a May 27, 1998 resolution adopted by the Michigan State House of Representatives, a Certificate of Appreciation issued by Frank Kelley, and a Certificate of Appreciation issued by the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition comprising the numerous states, including Michigan, that Don represented with respect to the high-level nuclear waste issues.

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Don Keskey representing  Michigan in arguments before  the United States Supreme Court

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Upon entering private practice in late 1998, and continuing to the present, Don has focused upon public law issues including the representation of non-profit ratepayer groups opposing unwarranted increases in electric and gas rates, and in advocating for the expansion of renewable energy resources as a means to reduce fossil fuel pollution, and to empower utility customers to save energy costs by generating a portion of their own energy consumption utilizing customer-owned renewable energy resources, including solar facilities and cost-effective customer-owned distributed generation. Don Keskey also assisted rural residents without phone service in four counties in northeast lower Michigan in creating a customer-owned communications cooperative and in securing state and federal grants and loans to design and construct a modern high-speed broadband service network to serve customers in this rural region. Don Keskey has continued to represent non-profit ratepayer groups in many scores of electric and gas utility cases before the MPSC and Courts to advocate for downward rate adjustments and to expand customer renewable energy options.

As just one example of success in these efforts, Don Keskey and his expert witness, through persistent advocacy in three MPSC cases and the Courts, obtained a refund of some $90 million to customers by proving that customers had paid over $30 million per year for 3 years in surcharges for a nuclear decommissioning trust fund that the utility had failed to deposit into the trust fund. Don Keskey has continued in private practice upon becoming in 2009 a principal and member/owner of the Public Law Resource Center PLLC, with offices located in East Lansing. In this role, Don Keskey has participated in scores of public law cases representing ratepayers in electric and gas utility matters, and to Don Keskey representing  Michigan in arguments before the United States Supreme Court  Assistant Attorney General Don Keskey working with Attorney General Frank  Kelley (1973‐1998)  advocate for the expansion of cost-effective renewable energy, and customer-owned distributed energy resources, and to assist with the expansion of high-speed broadband communications services in rural areas of Michigan, among other matters. Don Keskey’s participation has included numerous cases before the Michigan Public Service Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and before state and federal courts. This has included advocacy before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on behalf of an Indian Tribe located on the shores of the Mississippi River involving issues arising from high level nuclear waste stored by a utility near the Native American community.

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Frank J. Kelley and Don Keskey welcome then U.S. Senator Carl Levin as guest speaker at the annual Frank J. Kelley Institute of Ethics Symposium at the MSU School of Law in 2013 

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