Originally published August 13 2013
Rogue EPA uses 'sue and settle' tactic to intimidate and oppress state sovereignty
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In case you weren't aware, there is an all-out assault on The American Way, and it is being waged by an overgrown, all-powerful, unconstitutional fourth branch of government - the Bureaucratic Branch.
Established through a generation's worth of "omnibus" laws, the Bureaucratic Branch has grown massively, surpassing in scope and power most other constitutional branches of government save the Executive Branch, which the Bureaucratic Branch technically falls under. It's legions of career federal administrators and employees routinely run roughshod over the American people, with nary a peep out of Congress and with the full weight and power of the federal government.
One of the most abusive of these bureaucracies is the Environmental Protection Agency, and since 2009 - not so ironically, the first year of the Obama administration, led by a president who is known for his environmental activism - it has become even more abusive.
Sue and Settle
As noted by Gary H. Baise, an Illinois farmer and trial attorney at the law firm, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC:
The EPA since 2009 has adopted a confrontational relationship with the states. This power grab does not impact just the states, but you and your pocketbook. In fact, an Illinois congressman said this about EPA: "There is an outlaw in Washington...and Congress must police it."
In particular, Baise says the EPA is waging a bureaucratic war on states in particular. Citing a new report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) called, "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Assault on State Sovereignty," Baise says the EPA has simply gotten completely out of hand.
In particular, the report claims that "EPA takeover of state programs are up an astonishing 1,900 percent," and it suggests that the increased number has come largely during the Obama administration.
Baise says the report makes clear the EPA is no longer interested in working with states to ensure the nation's environmental laws and policies are followed, and to give states the lead in cleaning up environmental problems. Rather, he says, the agency seems largely interested in "command and control of virtually every aspect of American society."
What's more, the overbearing interference seems to be driven mostly be politics. Per Baise:
The report attacks a strategy of EPAs known as sue and settle. Because so many states are governed by Republican governors, EPA has substituted state participation by working with groups such as the Sierra Club and NRDC.
The report points out, "The practice involves friendly lawsuits that go straight to settlement discussions, during which EPA and the environmentalist litigants negotiate policy."
ALEC further claims that some 40 percent of the agency's regulatory takeovers from states have come about via the sue and settle strategy.
"Since 2009, the EPA has imposed at least $13 billion in annual regulatory costs that resulted from sue and settle litigation," the report says.
Baise says those are what you could call "sweetheart settlements" because most of the time, states aren't even notified by the EPA that they are in the agency's crosshairs.
Worse, ALEC describes a case involving the North Dakota attorney general who sought to intervene in a case actually involving his state. But incredibly, a federal court ruled to keep North Dakota out of the case and negotiations surrounding it.
Abusing entire industries
Indeed, the EPA, under Obama's direction, is targeting entire industries - especially the energy sector. During his initial presidential campaign in 2008, Obama revealed his disdain for coal-fired power plants. Specifically, his intention was to close as many of them down as possible, which would result in electric rates that would "necessarily skyrocket."
ALEC, in its report, notes this, saying that coal-fired plants are shuttering with increasing frequency. Some of the closures are due to increased use of lower-cost natural gas; but the EPA is also responsible for shuttering many because of overly stringent and expensive rules aimed at cutting carbon pollution to ridiculous levels.
"These regulations effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants. EPA has already issued rules which regulate existing coal-fired power plants, and ALEC believes these regulations will lead to the retirement of 81,000 megawatts," writes Blaise.
And all of this EPA abuse is occurring outside of the original congressional intent behind the law which established the agency in 1970. Then, "Congress made clear that air and water pollution prevention was to be the primary responsibility of states and local governments," writes Blaise.
Adds ALEC: "EPA has radically altered this balance of power."
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