The “Sue-and-Settle” Formula

on . Posted in Free Market Flashpoints

Taxpayers are already stretched thin – but anti-free market forces don't care. Across the country, radical environmental interests are executing well-funded but deeply misguided legal efforts aimed at halting projects that create jobs. But that's not the worst part.

They're making you pay for it. Environmental interests don't mind filing lawsuit after lawsuit to block domestic energy production, resource cultivation and economic development – and they don't mind making you pay for it. Despite the fact that America's largest environmental organizations are among the richest NGOs in the country, they are happy to ask America's deeply-indebted taxpayers to send millions their way for "attorney's fees."

It gets worse – a lot worse. Too often, these legal settlements end up looking like a sweetheart deal for environmental interests. It works like this: Environmental extremists sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA gleefully settles the suit. Before you know it, federal judges – rather than local communities – are setting policy. Soon after, environmental interests are billing taxpayers for their legal fees. It's one heck of a pay day for these so-called "green warriors."

It happens all the time. For example, recent "Endangered Species Act" settlements will cost American taxpayers over $200 million in paperwork. You read that right. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Justice Department announced a settlement agreement in which taxpayers will pay $206,098,920 to process petitions from environmental groups attempting to classify various plants, bugs and worms on the Endangered Species List. And of course, environmental attorneys will be paid for their part in fleecing taxpayers. You can read more about this from attorney Karen Budd-Falen, by clicking here.

The bottom line: This "Sue-and-Settle" formula is a way of setting policy from Washington while enriching well-heeled environmental interests. It's got to stop. Our nation's taxpayers are deeply in debt and our economy remains deeply troubled. The last thing we need to do is pay environmental lawyers to shut down American jobs.

If you know about a "Sue-and-Settle" situation that you'd like to report, let us know by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Standing up for the Free Market is what we do.

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