Rounds Statement on EPA Decision to End “Sue & Settle” Practices
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight, today made the following statement on the decision of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to end the controversial “sue and settle” practices at the EPA.
“During the previous administration, ‘sue and settle’ practices resulted in new environmental regulations drafted by special interest groups behind closed doors,” said Rounds. “I’m pleased with EPA Administrator Pruitt’s decision to end this practice and shed more transparency on the processes that federal agencies use to draft new regulations.”
Last Congress, Rounds held a subcommittee hearing on EPA’s “sue and settle” practices. In that hearing, he found that the “sue and settle” process utilized by special interest groups leads to a rushed and reckless rulemaking process that does not follow the proper regulatory process or allow for adequate public participation. He has also introduced an amendment to end “sue and settle” practices.
Both the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act contain clauses that allow citizens to file citizen suits against a regulatory agency to prompt the agency’s compliance with federal statutes. Often, these citizen suits are used to perpetuate the “sue and settle” process, which overwhelms regulatory agencies and results in rushed settlement agreements and consent decrees requiring agencies to promulgate major regulations behind closed doors within an arbitrarily imposed timeline.