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Press Release Published: Jul 28, 2022

Oversight Republicans, Western Caucus Rebuke Interior, EPA for Incentivizing “Sue and Settle” Agreements

Members demand documents on Biden Administration’s actions to decrease government transparency, reward serial litigators

WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) led 36 Oversight Republicans and Western Caucus Members in sending letters to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan regarding the Biden Administration’s recent rescinding of policies at both agencies that had promoted transparency regarding “sue and settle” agreements.

“The practice of ‘sue and settle’ allows special interest groups to achieve regulatory goals through litigation – in secret – and bypass the legislative and regulatory process,” wrote the lawmakers. “The Biden Administration’s decision to reverse course and allow special interest groups to make policy without stakeholder input is troubling.”

The lawmakers continued, “The agency claims to be fair, transparent, and efficient, but its order favors special interest groups over the American people.”

“Sue and settle” agreements interfere with the ability of all relevant industry stakeholders and the public to both be informed and provide insight on proposed regulatory decisions. The Trump Administration enacted orders to limit the use of “sue and settle” agreements and to ensure visibility into the process, but the Biden Administration recently rescinded these orders. The letters request documents and communications within and among the agencies, White House, and outside interest groups that may have played a role in the decision.

Click here to read the letter to Interior Secretary Haaland and here to read the letter to EPA Administrator Regan.