EPA ‘Sue and Settle’ Directive Is Good First Step, Must Also Focus on Agency Deadlines

Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow William Yeatman responded to the Environmental Protection Agency’s directive issued today by Administrator Scott Pruitt which is “designed to end ‘sue and settle’ practices within the Agency,” according to a press release.

“While the transparency measures and spirit of cooperative federalism are welcome first steps, more needs to be done to address the underlying problem, which is EPA’s woeful performance of its meeting mandatory deadlines for regulatory programs.

“We agree with Administrator Pruitt’s goal of ensuring that the agency—and not special interests—establish federal policymaking priorities. To this end, the best thing Administrator Pruitt can do is shift resources within the agency away from discretionary actions and towards meeting its mandatory deadlines.

“During the Obama administration, for example, the EPA missed 84 percent out of more than 1,000 Clean Air Act deadlines by an average of 4.3 years. The problem is that the agency’s failure to meet its legal responsibilities allows environmental special interests to sue and thereby dictate regulatory priorities to the EPA.

“Any solution to this problem must start with the EPA making timely performance of its responsibilities a priority, which the agency has yet to do under any administration. If the agency determines that it has insufficient resources to implement its deadlines, then the Administrator should come to Congress for relief.”