Committees Request Details on EPA and DOJ’s Rollback of ‘Sue and Settle’ Policy

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-PA), and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), June 29 sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Following reports of a recent EPA reform directive, the members request a staff briefing and written guidelines from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and EPA regarding Administrator Pruitt’s reported repudiation of the Obama administration’s favored practice of ‘sue and settle’ agreements, which committed the agency to undertake new rulemakings.

The members write, “During the previous administration, EPA entered numerous settlements or consent decrees, a practice known as ‘sue and settle,’ committing the agency to undertake significant new rulemakings subject to timelines or schedules. This process too often circumvents legitimate oversight by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.”

Citing recent media reports that Administrator Pruitt plans on rolling back the sue and settle policy, the members continued, “We appreciate this change in policy, hope that Attorney General Sessions shares Administrator Pruitt’s views, and urge EPA and the Justice Department to develop conforming written guidelines as soon as possible. To assist us in understanding the scope of the recent directive, we request that EPA and DOJ staff provide Committee staff with a briefing on the matter.”

To view the letter, click HERE.

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