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« Brendan Montague | Main | Curtain call - Josh 204 »
Monday
Feb182013

Sue and settle

This is a pretty extraordinary story from Larry Bell, writing at Forbes. It seems that bureaucrats and environmentalists are agreeing between them that the latter will sue the former for breach of environmental law and regulation.

“Sue and Settle “ practices, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits”, are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein  court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors. Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action they and the litigants both want.

The taxpayer then pays the costs of both sides, with green lawyers picking up tens of millions of dollars over the years.

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Reader Comments (27)

One of my favorite stories from Chicago is about the taxicab dispatcher who said when asked about the Chicago Way 'Is that a street or a business?'
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Feb 18, 2013 at 3:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

This is what Kurt Vonnegut described as a 'duprass'
In a true duprass the members die within a week of each other.
Sadly , unlikely to be so in this instance

Feb 18, 2013 at 3:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDespairing

The ACLU has been doing this for decades.
Yet another example of how extremists make a mockery of due process and democratic rule.
In the US, the vast majority of Americans, about 65%, realize that oil from Canada is better than oil from Middle Eastern Venezuelan fields.
But ~20 extremists arrested at the White House fence seems to outweigh this.

Feb 18, 2013 at 3:57 AM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

Collusion: Noun
Secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, esp. in order to cheat or deceive others.
Such cooperation or conspiracy, esp. between ostensible opponents in a lawsuit.

Feb 18, 2013 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

@ ssat

My thoughts were exactly the same when I read this article. It certainly seems like a conspiracy against th public. Someone should sue both sides. Unfortunately that would make the lawyers even richer!

Feb 18, 2013 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Remember the trial of the Kingsnorth Six in 2008? The prosecution, making no attempt “to dispute the reality of climate change or its impacts”, certainly didn’t try very hard – thereby contributing significantly to our looming energy crisis: link.

Feb 18, 2013 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

More reason if any were actually needed to identify and weed out people who are actively using their trusted position in public employment to advance an activist agenda. I can't segregate out m'learned friends from the rest of them.

IIRC Blair's Labour Party paid themselves millions £££ in public funds by giving trade unions said millions to "improve democracy and protect and educate" - the workers - the unions promptly transferred said funds to the Labour Party bank account (less a generous handling fee). I remember looking at the reports at the time and thinking wow... brazen on a stick. That was about the time that I started using the word peculation.

I suspect similar financial collusion operates in eco-land in the U.K. It might be a useful exercise to see how public funds are distributed to eco activists in the U.K. The £20,000,000 handed out to RSPB from public funds is a good starter I suppose. Then there's all the monies handed out for eco-education = DFID and all that....

Feb 18, 2013 at 8:57 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Not really a new story. This from 2011. Sadly, its paywalled.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/577430/201107061817/EPA-Funds-Greens-That-Sue-It.aspx?src=HPLNews

Feb 18, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Feb 18, 2013 at 8:16 AM | Roy

Ah... but think of the chilling effect :-)

Feb 18, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Registered Commentertomo

@ Roy

Business interests which have suffered loss due to collusion may be best placed (and funded) to seek redress via the courts: should the government not pick up the torch on behalf of the people.

Ostensibly, this looks as though EPA are a bunch of fellow travellers and therefore very, very naughty. It will be interesting to watch if this gains traction, not least for what we might learn during the process of disclosure.

Feb 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

A fantastic example of the degradation of democracy through the frailties of law. Only common sense can defeat this sort of assault, and common sense is a very human trait not much in evidence where it ought to be these days.

Feb 18, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterceetee

It doesn't need to happen here - the greens run the government in the UK - at least in the USA they still play at democracy.

For those sad saps, who still think that Britain is a democracy................it's time to get with the reality of living in a satrapy of the greater European Empire - where you have a vote but it is less than worthless.

Feb 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

As an example of Green policies we can look no further than Brighton and Hove. That city council is run by ''Greens'' who have decided to spend £140,000 renovating a public toilet so that transgender persons can feel unconfused. PC madness in the extreme, the inmates running the asylum.

Feb 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

You wouldn't catch our government doing something as corrupt as that.

Except for the Kingsnorth power atation "trial" where Hansen and a bunch of usual suspects spent days in court lying about the warming catastrophe and the "prosecution" agreed in advance not to ask any sceptical questions or call any sceptical witnesses.

Feb 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

In a celebration at Harvard of 40 years of the EPA, ex EPA head Lisa Jackson boasted that:

“the lead author of Massachusetts vs. EPA, came to work at the agency she once sued – to see through the work she sued it to do.

Lisa Heinzerling, who with my colleagues here today including Gina McCarthy, Bob Perciasepe and Bob Sussman helped EPA follow the science and follow the Supreme Court to finalize our endangerment finding on greenhouse gases last year.”

That action was the opener for the EPA Endangerment Finding that CO2 was a pollutant to be controlled.

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/lisa_p_jackson_epa_administrator_fulfilling_the_un_mission.html

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/the_un_states_epa.html

Feb 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

Michael Crichton set all this out in "State of Fear". A number of the protagonists work for an environmental activist outfit that is essentially just a law firm. It makes most of its money by suing Federal agencies who, it is implied, have previously agreed both to be sued and to capitulate.

Feb 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

A.k.a 'carve-up'

n carve-up

1. Informal: an act or instance of dishonestly prearranging the result of a competition
2. Slang: the distribution of something, as of booty

Feb 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Ah - so this is how any 'non-compliance' by the government with The Climate Change Act will be dealt with, then...?

Feb 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Feb 18, 2013 at 8:57 AM | tomo

I suspect similar financial collusion operates in eco-land in the U.K. It might be a useful exercise to see how public funds are distributed to eco activists in the U.K. The £20,000,000 handed out to RSPB from public funds is a good starter I suppose. Then there's all the monies handed out for eco-education = DFID and all that....

£47,000,000 to the Royal Society?

Feb 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

My bet is that this sort of legal corruption has been in use for decades. "progressives" likely find this very clever: they get to pretend they are the good guys while fleecing the tax payer. And court proceedings are basically immune to checks and balances- demanding full disclosure as the damaged (fleeced) tax payer is very difficult. The courts generally claim the mere citizen has no standing.

Feb 18, 2013 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

This is one reason why the Wildlife Defense Fund is perhaps the most despicable of the green NGOs. They are basically a bunch of lawyers on the make.

Feb 18, 2013 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoblesse Oblige

Feb 18, 2013 at 4:29 PM | Billy Liar

Quite.

He who pays the piper 'n all.

I doubt The Royal Society pay chuggers £100 (cash) bounty per Direct Debit snared though :-p

yet

Feb 18, 2013 at 6:52 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Yes, one wonders why the attendees of the now disappeared 'Bloomberg Meeting' didn't want their 'faces on the box'. Another scammer 'conference' working out how best to steal taxpayer funds. No doubt setting the future price of 'Carbon' and dividing up the 'proceeds'. We really do need a RICO Act in the UK and someone with the balls to use it.

Feb 18, 2013 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

The reason this "conspiracy" between EPA and environmental activists groups exists, is that Congress included in the following Acts the right of NGO groups to sue the EPA:
Clean Water Act
Safe Drinking Water Act
Resourse Conservation & Recovery Act
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, & Liability Act
Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act of 1977
Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act of 1986
The Environmental Defense Fund is the main litigator of the Environmental movement
On top of this the EPA grants funds to NGO groups to "study" some claimed environmnetal hazard, then the NGO turns around and sues the EPA who settles in a court of law. The EPA then can claim they "have to" enforce the law.......plus the NGO, who the EPA funded in the first place, is then usually awarded financial damages. It's a vicious circle and the US taxpayer is getting royally 'screwed'.

Feb 18, 2013 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterKen Andrews

Ken points out an important and growing blight on the public square: NGO's run amok.
they are far from the John Muir promoters of responsible and appreciative use of natural resources.
They are huge businesses, dealing in power and producing literally nothing else. And they are not regulated, they are not licensed, they are not anything more than what they accuse lobbyists of being.
The NGO scam is not limited in anyway to the US, by the way.

Feb 19, 2013 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

That's what should be called Incestuous consensus.

Feb 19, 2013 at 1:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterLiz Stepniewski

At the same time this article came out, EPA announced a settlement with environmental organizations to remove the startup, shutdown, and malfunction provisions in air permits. The environmentalists claim that emission limits should be enforceable at all times because the emission rates during startup, shutdown and malfunctions can be high. Industry’s position is that those periods are short, operating loads are low so that the mass emissions are also low, and control equipment is not designed to work during those periods. Absent repeal of the laws of steady-state thermodynamics there is not a lot that can be done during those periods. So source owners in 36 states will have a new set of hoops to jump through or end up paying fines. This is exactly the kind of action described in the Forbes article.

Feb 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Caiazza

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