Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and 11 other attorneys general sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday demanding the agency reveal documents allegedly showing cooperation in a “sue and settle” regulation strategy.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, accused the EPA of entering consent decrees with environmental agencies that have sued the agency, imposing new rules and regulations for states without allowing their attorneys general to defend the states’ interests, businesses or consumers.
“They are manipulating our legal system to achieve what they cannot through our representative democracy,” Pruitt said, adding that utility rates would rise as much as 20 percent for some states as a result of the EPA’s strategy.
Part of the states’ lawsuit involves the Freedom of Information Act guidelines regulating the states’ request for correspondence between the EPA and environmental agencies, which the attorneys general will use to determine the legal strategy used by the agency.
The states also asked the EPA to waive any fees for collecting information, though the request was denied. Additionally, a majority of requests for information have been rejected by the agency under the agency’s belief that FOIA is overbroad.
"Ninety-two percent of the time EPA grants fee waiver requests from noncommercial requesters who are supportive of EPA’s policies and agendas, but denies a majority of fee waiver requests from noncommercial requesters who are critical of EPA,” the suit reads.
EPA’s press secretary in Washington D.C., Alisha Johnson, denied the agencies involvement with environmental groups to impose regulations. She noted that the agency has no control over what parties sue it or for what reason.
"An outside entity cannot compel us to take action we were not already compelled to take by law," Johnson said.
Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming are also involved in the suit.