EPA Ending Obama Era Practice Of Sue And Settle

EPA Ending Obama Era Practice Of Sue And Settle

This was one of the more egregious bits of corruption during the Obama years, where the EPA was tightly knit with environmental groups, who used “friendly lawsuits” to force regulatory change

(Washington Times) The Trump administration on Monday took steps to end the highly controversial “sue and settle” practice that led directly to a host of environmental regulations throughout former President Obama’s tenure.

In an agency-wide directive, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said the process has “harmed the American public” and kept citizens in the dark about exactly how rules and regulations are made.

“The days of regulation through litigation are over,” Mr. Pruitt said in a statement. “We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle.”

Sue and settle, which became commonplace during Mr. Obama’s tenure as his EPA developed tight-knit relationships with top environmental groups, essentially is a way to circumvent the formal rulemaking procedures. Under the practice, sometimes called “friendly lawsuits,” an outside group would sue a department or agency — in this case, the EPA — and ask that certain regulatory steps be taken, or that entirely new regulations be put in place.

Often, the agency would agree to settle the case outside of court, and the settlement agreement would provide a legal loophole for the EPA to simply enact the changes the outside organization sought without having to go through the traditional rule-making process, which requires public comment, draft proposals, and a host of other steps designed to keep the public informed.

The Washington Times goes on to list multiple examples of policies that were enacted due to settle and sue. Larry Bell explained it this way when it was an open secret

“Sue and Settle “ practices, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits”, are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors. Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action they and the litigants both want.

In other words, the agency throws the case, somewhat like Bre’r Rabbit agreeing to be thrown into a favorite brier-patch. A big difference however, is that in this case, Farmer McGregor andMr. Rabbit were partners in the scam from the beginning. It’s the unwary American public that actually does get caught in the thorns.

The public receives no public notice beforehand, they just get hit with the bill. And the bill doesn’t just include new policies enacted, but cash payouts to those friendly groups suing.

Now, this practice did go back further, occurring under both Clinton and Bush 43. But, it exploded under Obama, with 88 agreements through mid-2015. The Clean Power Plan came about because of this secretive practice. But, it ends now. Good job, Admin. Pruitt!

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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