Examining ‘Sue and Settle’ Agreements: Part I

Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs
Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs
Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment
Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and Environment
Hearing Date: May 24, 2017 2:00 pm 2154 Rayburn HOB


  • To examine how environmental advocacy groups and federal agencies regulate through consent decrees using citizen lawsuit provisions in environmental laws.
  • To discuss these lawsuits’ impact on businesses and landowners, as well as potential long-term solutions.


  • The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) ensures notice, comment, transparency, and stakeholder involvement in the development of new environmental regulations.
  • In the “sue and settle” process, federal agencies and environmental advocacy groups enter into legally binding settlements that create and prioritize agency obligations, bypassing the intent of APA.
  • Settlement negotiations are not only confidential and non-adversarial, but groups suing can also recover large attorney fees financed by taxpayers.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. William Kovacs Senior Vice President, Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs U.S. Chamber of Commerce Document
Ms. Darcy Helmick Simplot Livestock Co. Grand View, Idaho Document
Mr. Kent Holsinger Holsinger Law, LLC Denver, Colorado Document
Mr. Justin Pidot Environmental and Natural Resources Law Denver, Colorado Document

Related Documents

Name Document
Subcommittee Chairmen Farenthold and Palmer Opening Statements Document