“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 both they and the litigants want.
And who pays for this litigation? All-too-often we taxpayers are put on the hook
for legal fees of both colluding parties. According to a 2011 GAO report,
this amounted to millions of dollars awarded to environmental organizations for
EPA litigations between 1995 and 2010. Three “Big Green” groups received 41%
of this payback, with Earthjustice accounting for 30 percent ($4,655,425).
Two other organizations with histories of lobbying for regulations EPA wants
while also receiving agency funding are the American Lung Association (ALA) and
the Sierra Club.
In addition, the Department of Justice forked over at least $43 million
of our money defending EPA in court between 1998 and 2010. This didn’t include
money spent by EPA for their legal costs in connection with those rip-offs
because EPA doesn’t keep track of their attorney’s time on a case-by-case basis.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has concluded that Sue and Settle rule making is
responsible for many of EPA’s “most controversial, economically significant
regulations that have plagued the business community for the past few years”.
Included are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants,
chemical manufacturers, and a host of other industries. Such consent decree-based rule
making enables EPA to argue to Congress: “The court made us do it.”