July 9, 2015

This week, Congress will consider amendments to H.R. 2282, FY 2016 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. An amendment offered by Rep. Westmoreland would prohibit funds from being used to “sue and settle” under the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and/or the Endangered Species Act.

“Sue and settle” is the troublesome practice where a federal agency is sued by a special interest group and instead of aggressively fighting the lawsuit, the federal agencies enters into a settlement that is favorable to the special interest group.

This is an approach to setting federal priorities and creating federal regulations that is devoid of many of the checks that are necessary for a democratic, transparent rule-making process. Sue and settle has been a favorite tactic of many environmental groups and has been used in numerous instances to force EPA and other agencies to implement expensive and burdensome regulations outside of the normal regulatory route.

Rep. Westmoreland’s amendment would prohibit agencies from using federal funds to pay legal fees for these sue and settle arrangements. This would significantly damper the ability for outside groups to attempt to exert influence through sue and settle and would promote the principles of transparency and federalism.

The American Energy Alliance urges members to vote YES on the Westmoreland amendment. It will be included in our American Energy Scorecard. YES is the pro-market, pro-taxpayer, pro-energy vote.

Westmoreland (R-GA) – *​Prohibits funds from being used to pay legal fees pursuant to a settlement in any case, in which the Federal Government is a party, that arises under the Clean Air Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act and/or Endangered Species Act of 1973