Environmental advocacy groups with a strong mind to advance their agendas are increasingly using a clever, albeit abusive way to game the regulatory process, it’s called “sue and settle”, as interested parties are being shut out of major regulatory decisions, what’s really corrosive about this practice is that key federal agencies are in on it.
Environmental advocacy group sues a federal agency aka EPA to issue regulations by a specific deadline. But the agency chooses not to defend itself and instead the group and the agency work out an agreement. Settlement tends to favor the interest group!
The courts typically give these consent decrees their stamp of approval as if they are settlements between private parities—and not sweeping agreements between key regulatory agencies and special interest groups.
A chamber report –Sue and Settle: Regulating Behind Closed Doors that identify at least 60 different occasions between 2009 and 2012 where EPA settled with interest groups. These settlements directly resulted in EPA agreeing to propose more than 100 new regulations, many of which would impose tens of millions of dollars, or even billions, in compliance costs.
An example is Utility MACT, one of the most costly and consequential rules to come out of EPA groups filed a lawsuit seeking to force EPA to issue “maximum achievable control technology” air quality for power plants. The resulting rule will cost our economy $9.6 billion annually. It could shutter coal-fired power plants across the country.
Congress must rein in this injurious practice by passing the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2013. Any effort by any agency or interest group to set national policy out of the light of public scrutiny should be fought
Source—tom Donohue, us chamber of commerce.