From the National Journal:
For four years now, radical environmental groups have teamed with the Obama administration’s Interior Department and hijacked the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to bottle up development in many areas out West. The big villain that the Left is trying to thwart, of course, is the oil-and-gas industry. The ESA is blocking drilling operations in many prime energy-rich locations.
But now this scam may come to an end. On Monday Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, filed what could be a landmark lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), arguing that the so-called “sue and settle” procedure for listing animals on the endangered list is a violation of the federal ESA statute. In the complaint, filed on behalf of the State of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt charges that “by entering into private settlements with special interest litigants, FWS has attempted to circumvent the legislative and regulatory process and make fundamental changes to its ESA-imposed obligations.”
The State of Oklahoma and energy companies are seeking “injunctive relief” that would overturn the designation of up to several hundred species that have been added to the threatened or endangered list through the “sue and settle” process. Under sue and settle, left-wing environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and WildLife Guardians, petition FWS to list a species as nearing extinction, and then shortly thereafter — sometimes in a matter of days — sue the federal government for inaction.
…Sue and settle is especially pernicious because it allows the FWS to bypass the normal scientific-inquiry process. Oftentimes cozy relationships between anti-development green groups and Obama-administration bureaucrats grease the process for an endangered listing — whether it is warranted or not…
…Many small towns west of the Mississippi could be economically wiped out by the ESA. That’s why Mr. Pruitt’s suit is so important. If he loses in court, and if the prairie chicken is listed as threatened, the real endangered species will be Americans with good-paying jobs. The scary thing is that might just be the point…
(if anyone wants to see the effect of “sue and settle”, just visit any rural town in CA that has been affected by the logging and mining restrictions, implemented by ESA listings – they are drying up and blowing away)
Read the whole article here: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/373810/sue-and-settle-racket-stephen-moore