Businesses and lobbies combined filed about 110 suits against the Environmental Protection Agency in FY 2010. That’s the biggest tally since 1997. Suing for what? Why now?
Why sue the EPA?
- For allegedly not enforcing federal environmental rules and/or laws.
- For allegedly enforcing or making or planning to make rules that are unfair, illegal, vague, etc.
Sue the EPA when?
- The president is your ally. If you think he’s you’re ally, sue when the federal Department of Justice will be sympathetic to your argument. Whatever your argument is.
- The president is not your ally. If you think the administration is sadly misguided, sue them into doing the right thing. Whatever you think the right thing is.
- Got new rules. If some new regulations are written that you find unacceptable, you may sue.
- EPA missed a deadline. If they miss a deadline that you think they shouldn’t have missed, you may sue.
- New data for old laws arrives. Who was thinking about CO2 when the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970? Or even at its latest major revision in 1990? A bunch of states and green orgs sued the EPA to figure out if this “new” thing is legally a pollutant. Supreme Court said it is.
The EPA is now mulling a few new greener regs. Like, forcing cuts in SO2 & NOx emissions from power plants in 28 states including Georgia. Or considering naming coal ash a toxic substance, and hence subject to regulation.
Besides that, there’s nearly $2 million annually to “prevailing plantiffs” in the last four years — ie, people who beat the EPA in court. This is generally court fees for when broke people such as community groups sue.
All data in constant 2010 dollars
GAO sends caveats on data. To wit, there’s no single database that lists litigation against EPA. Thus their data represents everything they could find from EPA, DOJ and Treasury. Which they feel is a pretty darn good count, but maybe not perfect.
Data omits things like personnel or Freedom of Information Act suits. Things that don’t have to do with the environment.