Dear Representative Collins and Senator Grassley:
On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I commend you for introducing the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlement Act of 2013 (H.R. 1493, S. 714). Your legislation would promote transparency in the rulemaking process by requiring federal agencies to disclose proposed agency settlement agreements and consent decrees before the resulting rules go into effect.
Currently, many environmental activist organizations engage in sue-and-settle techniques to write new regulations in concert with agencies while excluding the general public and relevant stakeholders. This means that federal agencies can evade many of the requirements built into the rulemaking process that are meant to protect the public and generate better rules. Issuing public comments or filing lawsuits after the resulting rule goes into effect are the only methods of recourse that the affected parties have.
Your legislation would shine light onto this process. The Act would require new proposed consent decrees and settlement agreements to be published in the Federal Register for 60 days of public comment before they are filed with the court. This will provide affected parties with an opportunity to comment on proposed regulations before the proposed rule is finalized, instead of learning about a rule after it gets finalized in a private settlement.
Americans for Prosperity is proud to support the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlement Act of 2013 (H.R. 1493, S. 714). I urge your colleagues to support this legislation, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity