New EPA Head to Halt "Suit and Settle"


In addition to mapping out some early priorities of providing regulatory certainty, new EPA Director, Scott Pruitt, has announced his intention to bring an end to the “Sue and Settle” practice within the EPA.  “Sue and Settle” is a practice that evolved as a tactic of activist groups who sue an agency (usually the EPA), causing the agency to enter into a legally-binding settlement agreement, negotiated behind closed doors with no public input.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, since 2009 this tactic has resulted in 137 new Clean Air Act regulations alone, many of which are economy-transforming rules with a profound impact on states who then have to implement.   The Chamber continues to discuss how activist groups have gone even further, entering into settlement agreements with the EPA over individual operating permits granted to facilities.  This type of settlement allows the EPA and special interest groups to rewrite facility permits, taking states out of the permitting process and removing regulatory certainty.

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