The House will soon take up H.R. 712, the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015. Sponsored by Rep. Collins (GA), the bill aims to take on the “sue and settle” practice commonly used by the Obama Administration and special interest groups; particularly environmental activists. The American Energy Alliance urges all Representatives to vote YES on H.R. 712.
More than a quarter of all major EPA rules are the result of special interest lawsuits. This tactic has been used by many activist groups to help the EPA and other agencies implement costly and burdensome regulations outside of the normal regulatory process. Sue and settle completely skirts the checks that are necessary for a democratic, transparent rule-making process, and subverts Congressional oversight that should be reserved for this very instance.
Rep. Collins’ bill would bring more transparency into the process by making consent decrees and settlement agreements subject to significant public and legal oversight. Agencies would be required to disclose details of any covert civil action, and the proposed consent decree or settlement would be available for public comment for 60 days before being filed with the court. This would increase openness, transparency, and democratic decision-making.
This bill is a significant step towards much needed regulatory reform and executive branch transparency. AEA urges all Representatives to vote YES on H.R. 712.