Litigation Reform is needed to restrict lawsuits undermining conservation. Environmental advocacy groups have exploited federal laws with “sue and settle” arrangements that enrich trial lawyers at the expense of taxpayers. “The idea behind ‘sue and settle’ is to circumvent the normal regulatory, rule-making process so that environmental groups can achieve major policy changes without input from the public or Congress,” said IER president Tom Pyle. “When politically well-connected green groups get to call all the shots with compliant government officials, it leaves no room for accountability and transparency.”
During Obama presidency “sue-and-settle” agreements involving the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department “almost quintupled”. Many of the largest environmental groups get significant rewards without any public disclosure regarding the cost to the taxpayers.
Kent Holsinger, the manager and founder of a Denver-based law firm named Holsinger Law that specializes in lands, wildlife, and water law, was one of several witnesses who appeared before the House Committee on Natural Resources on July 17 to testify on behalf of five new bills aimed at reforming the ESA. He is encouraging members of Congress to take up the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017 as legislative fix to the “abusive environmental litigation” made possible through the EAJA. The bill would require public notice of lawsuits and settlement agreements and provide for transparency in accounting for cost of these agreements.
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Summarized by Natalia Tsar.