The Obama Administration has a long history of circumventing Congress and implementing new regulations through federal agencies and unelected bureaucrats.
Since 2009, the number of those bureaucrats has increased by 13 percent. And in five years, those different departments have wasted little time imposing 106 major regulatory changes, costing the private sector economy at least $46 billion, in addition to incalculable implementation costs. Right now, sixty federal departments, commissions, and agencies have more than 4,000 regulations at various stages of implementation, which will only serve to damage our weak economy, with thousands more suggested in President Obama’s exorbitant budget.
President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has been especially inventive in creating regulatory law. And their latest technique, known as “sue-and-settle,” is outrageous and dishonest.
Sue-and-settle involves collusion between the EPA and far-left environmental extremist groups which often employ former EPA employees. When those organizations, such as the Center for Biological Diversity, file a lawsuit against the EPA, the agency is quick to coordinate and settle a case they could otherwise win. Then, the EPA argues that, because of limited resources, the agency must be afforded the discretion to dictate how these limited resources are used. This process creates a new regulation through court ordered “consent decrees.”
Some state Attorneys General have been fighting against this practice, where rules are created without allowing for input from the public and no standard cost-benefit analyses take place. In fact, the rules are not even published, which is quite unfair to every business trying to follow the law and remain profitable.
Not only is this a way of creating law from behind the bench, it is a way to transfer your tax dollars into the pockets of those “Big Green” groups’ lawyers. According to a 2011 GAO report requested by Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, between 1995 and 2010, groups such as Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, and the National Resources Defense Council have collected more than $4,000,000 million in legal fees just for lawsuits filed under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Apparently, enforcing your radical ideology on everyone and harming small-businesses is a cash cow.
It is coming to light that EPA chief Lisa Jackson, who resigned on February 19 of this year, probably did so because she was using her personal email account with a pseudonym “Richard Windsor” to coordinate official business with groups suing the EPA. If true, such coordination is a brazenly illegal act.
This month, Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Doug Collins are introducing The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, which would end the practice of enacting federal regulations through the courts.
The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act would require all agencies to report their intent to sue and report the case results to congress. This legislation also would slow down the process, allowing any party which would be negatively affected by new rules is involved in the settlement process. In addition, because elections matter, future Presidents would have the right to reconsider the agreement after seeing what harm the rules did to the economy.
It is time to limit the EPA’s ability to create law from the courtroom and end this lucrative cash cow.