This week, United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a directive to end the Obama-era “sue and settle” practice of the agency.  Under the existing practice, environmental and special interest groups sue EPA to try to force the agency to take certain actions, and the agency typically settles those lawsuits by entering into private settlement agreements and public consent decrees.  Those settlements often lead to the promulgation of environmental regulations, what Pruitt calls “the results of collusion with outside groups” that, according to him, takes place behind closed doors and excludes intervenors, interested stakeholders, and affected states from the process.  Pruitt wants to put a stop to the
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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has announced his intention to act today to sign a proposed rule that would “withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration.” This move by the agency is no surprise, given President Trump’s campaign promises to bring back coal and Pruitt’s lawsuit challenging the rule filed in his capacity as the Oklahoma Attorney General.

The goal of the Clean Power Plan rules is to significantly limit
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Bob Horn
Adam Sachs
Adam Sachs

I’m Adam Sachs, a partner in Husch Blackwell’s energy practice and a registered DC lobbyist. I will be joined in these semi-regular blog posts by my colleague and longtime Washington lawyer, Bob Horn.  Bob served in the Ford administration, ran Detroit Edison’s federal affairs operations, co-founded the Republican National Lawyers Association, and most recently served as a member of the Trump transition team.  I have extensive Capitol Hill experience, having served in senior policy and legal positions since the mid-1980’s.  My most recent Hill gig was serving as committee counsel to now assistant Democratic leader James Clyburn of South Carolina.
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Environmental_Protection_Agency_logoIn his opening statement at the Senate confirmation hearing for his appointment to the role of EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt stated that he will build on progress “in promoting a healthier environment and stronger economy for future generations by focusing on three core philosophies: rule of law, cooperative federalism, and public participation.” Each of those philosophies would return EPA’s authority to its “core mission of protecting the American people through common sense and lawful regulations.”

With respect to the rule of law, Pruitt noted that EPA’s role is limited by statute and criticized the agency for
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President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt confirms that the Trump administration and its appointees will not continue to support attempts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address climate change.  Pruitt, who has referred to the debate regarding global warming as “far from settled,” has filed several lawsuits against EPA challenging regulations that limit such emissions from the coal, oil, and natural gas industries, including an EPA rule implementing the Clean Power Plan by requiring states to
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