Skip to comments.Radical Environmental Groups Extorting Federal Money with Lawsuit Threats
Posted on 09/22/2010 7:45:41 AM PDT by Kaslin
A federal project comes up, radical groups threaten to entangle it in litigation, the government pays them to go away. Fundraising!
To avoid lawsuits, American tax dollars are being used to pay off radical environmental groups. The groups are using the money to threaten more lawsuits.
Research provided to the Western Legacy Alliance has documented payments of at least $4,697,978 in taxpayer dollars to 14 environmental groups in 19 states and the District of Columbia. These payments are not being made because the radical groups won a legal battle or proved that the federal government was destroying the environment. Instead, they are being made to get environmental groups to go away — supposedly, a better option than forcing these groups to prove their case in court.
And now these same radical groups are extorting millions from major corporations and local governments using the same tactics.
On July 15, 2010, it was announced that the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) extorted $22 million from El Paso Corporation to drop their legal protests of the Ruby Pipeline project. Ruby Pipeline is a 680-mile pipeline being constructed across four Western states to bring natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon. As part of the deal, El Paso did not change the route or any other aspect of the pipeline — it just paid ONDA and WWP to go away.
In another case, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) extorted almost $1 million from Alameda County in California in exchange for dropping its protests to a citys residential and commercial development project.
The general theme: money changes hands, development moves forward, and the taxpayers and consumers get stuck with the both the litigation bill and higher fuel, home, and other prices as corporations pass on the extortion payments to the consumer.
Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), attorneys are only supposed to be paid if they represent the prevailing parties in a lawsuit against the federal government. According to EAJA, a prevailing party must achieve a court-sanctioned change in the position of the federal agency through litigation.
Under other federal statutes with EAJA-like fee-shifting provisions whose funds come out of the Treasury Departments Judgment Fund, attorneys fees are only to be paid if the attorney achieved some success in the litigation for the plaintiff. Thus, the plaintiffs had to achieve some benefit from the litigation through the courts.
All too often, however, radical environmental groups sue the federal government based on claims that the government engaged in a procedural violation of some federal statute or regulation. In just the last nine years, nine of the hundreds of radical environmental groups filed over 3500 lawsuits against the federal government. Most often, the statutes that the government is claimed to have violated are statutes that require a particular time frame, procedure, or process be followed. These statutes do not force the government to make a certain decision related to an environmental issue.
In many of these cases, these environmental groups do not show any concern about the environment.
The vast majority of groups that claim a concern for the environment do not engage in any on-the-ground environmental work. Rather, if you examine the goals of most of these groups, they intend to stop American industry, hurt security, and restrain independence under all circumstances in all locations. For example: there are groups who claim that cattle contribute to global warming by belching carbon as if the internal gas emissions of livestock are any different from the internal working of cats, dogs, or other wildlife. These cases aren’t about the environment, but rather about eliminating land use and ownership.
In 21 percent of the cases where the federal government has been presented with a potential legal challenge, the government pays the radical group to withdraw its case. There is no court decision and no determination that the environmental group prevailed. Just a request to withdraw the litigation, accompanied by taxpayer money.
These extortion payments are occurring when roads are widened, bridges are built, water supplies are updated, timber is cut, and fishermen are out to sea. In a time when Americans are looking for work and tax relief, our money should be spent to support American business, not restrain it.
These extortion payments will come to a crippling halt is a few accidents should occur. Threaten me knowing there is a price that you will pay.
radical environmental groups need to be eliminated.....
Actually, taking away the private rights of action and attorney’s fees reimbursement provisions on which they rely would be a whole lot easier. That should be a priority for the next Republican Congress.
You don’t really expect a group of lawyers to enact true tort reform, do you?
Most of what they preach are lies anyway.
Global warming/Paris Hilton induced temperature change/gnomes making hot-cold/climate disruputationizing is all a hoax and it's the main needle-stuck-in-groove mantra.
There are lunatics organizing for a sham 350 10-10-10 day to promote their scam. Part of it is actually rare positive environmental action, like cleaning up garbage and putting up solar panels to get “grass roots” citizens involved.
However, the clean part of it is soiled and poisoned with the 350 CO2 lies. At least 4 of my co-workers were wearing the 10-10-10 shirts where I work. It made me wonder if this is how an average citizen felt in the 1930’s in Germany when he saw his friends wearing brown shirts. It was a little creepy. I seriously doubt if they know how sinister the global warming/climate change/leprechaun temperature unicorn disruption scam really is.
I'm so glad to see the Leftist newspapers folding and the liars on network TV “news” failing!
*These extortion payments will come to a crippling halt is a few accidents should occur. Threaten me knowing there is a price that you will pay.*
“Fings break, doan nay?”
I expect the next Repblican Congress to defund the Left. If there is a statute that results in my tax money going to the Left (environmental groups, Planned Parenthood, NPR, the ACLU, ACORN or its equivalent, etc.) including those statutes mentioned in this thread, it must be repealed.
What we now know is that this country doesn't have a single AG who is worth a crap. It's not like this is new either; it's been going on for over thirty years, as I documented in my first book and as Ron Arnold has done in his (Undue Influence & Trashing the Economy). The reason is that the extremely wealthy provide the seed money for these operations by which to manipulate markets. They give money for the campaigns of Attorney's General.
QED, we get the government we pay for.
“slap” suits should be illegal.
I don’t mean rule 11 federal sanctions but a rule of procedure that strikes their standing and forces them to pay the attorney fees.
“You dont really expect a group of lawyers to enact true tort reform, do you?”
No. But what we could do is go into Conservative friendly districts, look up some wacky environmental lawuit that was filed (every town in America should have one on the books) and countersue for an astronomical sum.
Force the environmental groups to spend boatloads of money in districts that the law hasn’t had an impact. They will either pull back the suit or defend it. If they pull back, make it precedent and go after them everywhere else.
A 2X4 also works.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.