Oct 16, 2017

Trump, Pruitt Move to Confront Special Interests Hijacking Federal Rulemaking Process

Post by Freedom Partners

“The days of regulation through litigation are over.” — EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Arlington, VA — The Trump administration today announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) led by Administrator Scott Pruitt will issue a directive to end the practice of “regulation through litigation” commonly known as “sue-and-settle.”

According to reports, the tactic was long-employed by environmental groups to push the Obama administration into “closed-door agreements” to issue new, harmful regulations and commit to timelines for imposing them.

Freedom Partners Vice President of Policy Nathan Nascimento issued the following statement:

“This ‘sue and settle’ scheme gave special interests a backdoor to hijack the system to impose some of the most egregious and overreaching regulations in history. The federal rule making process should ensure transparency, participation and fairness — this dishonest and manipulative legal tactic undermined all of that. Freedom Partners applauds President Trump and Administrator Pruitt for their bold commitment to changing the culture in Washington by delivering a more efficient, effective and accountable EPA. This is what putting an end to business-as-usual looks like.”

In  a 2013 report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that EPA chose not to defend itself in lawsuits brought by special interest advocacy groups at least 60 times between 2009 and 2012, resulting in EPA agreeing to publish more than 100 new regulations costing billions of dollars.

Under President Obama, over 600 major regulations were added to the Federal Register at costs exceeding $700 billion.

BACKGROUND

“The EPA’s Dirty Clean Power Plan Secret.” “Sue-and-settle agreements are increasingly understood to be one of EPA’s favorite regulatory tools. Typically, these environmentalist ‘citizen suits’ brought against EPA based on any number of grounds (such as missed deadlines or enforcement disputes) are met with a lackluster defense and ultimate agreement by EPA. The system allows EPA to circumvent key transparency and accountability protocols and promulgate more regulations on pro-EPA terms.” (Op-Ed, Dan Byers, “The EPA’s Dirty Clean Power Plan Secret,” Real Clear Energy, 3/17/15)

“One Such Clinton-Era Tactic, Known As ‘Sue And Settle,’ Is Perhaps The Most Devious Way In Which Agencies Make Sweeping Policy Changes, While Keeping Congress And The American People In The Dark.” “One such Clinton-era tactic, known as ‘sue and settle,’ is perhaps the most devious way in which agencies make sweeping policy changes, while keeping Congress and the American people in the dark. Under this process, environmental groups and a federal agency agree to enter into a lawsuit that alleges that the agency has failed to meet a regulatory deadline or requirement. The two parties then settle with a preconceived consent decree that circumvents the traditional rule-making process and ‘forces’ the agency to quickly implement mutually agreed-upon rules.” (Op-Ed, Rep. Don Young, “How The EPA Skirts Transparency,” POLITICO, 6/2/13)

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