Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rehberg Among Army of Western Lawmakers to Introduce Legislation to Combat Frivolous Lawsuits on Taxpayer Dime

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, has introduced legislation with Representative Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL) to reduce taxpayers’ burden to pay for the attorneys’ fees of environmental obstructionist groups who abuse the legal system to block economic development and destroy jobs. The Government Litigation Savings Act makes long overdue reforms to the implementation and oversight of funds distributed through the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).

“The abuse of our legal system and attack on Montana jobs is a big enough problem without the government asking the taxpayer to foot the bill for the lawyers,” said Rehberg, a member of the Congressional Western Caucus. “Whether it’s wolf management, timber production or energy development, you can’t walk across the street in Montana without being sued by an out-of-state environmental obstructionist group. And while these groups have millions in the bank, they’re using tax dollars to fund their legal obstruction. This bill helps change that.”

“When the government stopped tracking EAJA payments in 1995, it was a dream come true for radical environmental groups. Lack of oversight has fueled the fire for these groups to grind the work of land management and other federal agencies to a halt -- and it does so on the taxpayer’s dime. Americans have unwittingly funded these obstructionist political agendas for far too long at the expense of individuals, small businesses, energy producers, farmers and ranchers who must pay out of their own pocket to defend the federal government against relentless litigation,” said Lummis. “This common sense legislation would help restore integrity to EAJA and return the program to the original intent of Congress.”

In 1980, Congress passed EAJA to help individuals, small businesses and non-profit organizations with limited access to financial resources defend themselves against harmful government actions. EAJA allows for the reimbursement of attorney’s fees and costs associated with suing the federal government. When operating as it was intended, EAJA allows plaintiffs who sue the federal government to recover part of their attorney’s fees and costs if they “prevail” in the case.

The original legislation required annual reports to Congress on the amount and nature of EAJA payments, but those reports ended in 1995. Two private studies, one by a Wyoming law firm and another by Virginia Tech University, have shown that despite congressional intent to assist small organizations, some large environmental obstructionist groups appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of EAJA payments. The Wyoming study, for example, found that more than 1,200 federal cases were filed in 19 states and the District of Columbia by just 14 environmental groups. The cost to the taxpayer was $37 million.

Rehberg’s legislation returns EAJA to its original intent reforming eligibility requirements to receive EAJA reimbursements, limiting repeated lawsuits, and reinstating tracking and reporting requirements to make EAJA more transparent. Under the Government Litigation Savings Act, veterans, social security claimants, individuals and small businesses will still enjoy full access to EAJA funds.

“No one wants to restrict access to the courts,” said Rehberg. “But let’s use some common sense and stop asking the taxpayer to fund the very lawsuits that are destroying their jobs and livelihoods.”

The legislation has been endorsed by over 85 agriculture, sportsmen, recreation and energy groups including the Montana Association of State Grazing Districts, Montana Public Lands Council, Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Wool Growers Association. The full list is below:

• Boone and Crockett Club
• National Rifle Association
• Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
• National Federation of Independent Businesses
• Public Lands Council
• National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
• National Association of Conservation Districts
• Congressional Sportsman Foundation
• National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
• National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
• Safari Club International
• Western Energy Alliance
• National Mining Association
• United States Cattleman’s Association
• American Sheep Industry
• National Association of Forest Service Retirees
• Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
• Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
• Motorcycle Industry Association
• Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
• Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
• American Agri-Women
• Mule Deer Foundation
• Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
• Independent Petroleum Association of America
• Foundation for Environmental and Economic Progress
• Women in Farm Economics
• National Trappers Association
• Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever
• U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
• Wildlife Forever
• Wildlife Management Institute
• Archery Trade Association
• Campfire Club of America
• Catch-a-Dream Foundation
• Masters of Foxhounds Association of America
• Orion-the-Hunter’s Institute
• Quality Deer Management Association
• Ruffed Grouse Society
• Tread Lightly!
• Pope and Young Club
• Association of National Grasslands
• Specialty Equipment Market Association

Regional, State, and Local Associations
• Western Legacy Alliance
• Western Business Roundtable
• Intermountain Forestry Association
• Wyoming Stock Growers Association
• Black Hills Forest Resource Association
• Wyoming Wool Growers Association
• Colorado Timber Industry Association.
• Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation
• Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
• Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts
• South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association
• Wyoming Petroleum Association
• Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas
• Dallas Safari Club
• Houston Safari Club
• Delta Waterfowl Foundation
• Texas Wildlife Association
• Texas Cattle Feeders Association
• Oregonians for Food and Shelter
• New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association
• New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc.
• Arizona Farm Bureau Federation
• Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association
• Arizona Public Lands Council
• California Cattlemen’s Association
• California Wool Growers Association
• Central Committee of Nevada State Grazing Boards
• Nevada Cattlemen’s Association
• Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
• Colorado Public Lands Council
• Colorado Wool Growers Association
• Florida Cattlemen’s Association
• Georgia Cattlemen’s Association
• Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association
• Idaho Cattle Association
• Idaho Wool Growers Association
• Iowa Cattlemen’s Association
• Kansas Livestock Association
• Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association
• Montana Association of State Grazing Districts
• Montana Public Lands Council
• Montana Stockgrowers Association
• Montana Wool Growers Association
• North Dakota Stockmen’s Association
• Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association
• Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
• Utah Cattlemen’s Association
• Utah Farm Bureau Federation
• Washington Cattlemen’s Association

CONTACT: Jed Link, 202-225-3211


Environmental groups, among them spurious organizations like the Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the especially lame and misnamed Humane Society of the United States, have raped this country for far too long, and have banked BILLIONS...not millions mind you...but BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars by milking the cash cow known as the Equal Access to Justice Act. They have also abused the Endangered Species Act thousands of times over the past several decades, keeping hundreds of lawsuits in court at just about any given time.

Yanking this financial rug from beneath them will be a major step in regaining control of wildlife issues in this country. With so much of this "easy money" flowing into their coffers, rest assured there are a lot of extremly dirty people in some mighty high places, who have pulled political and legal strings for these groups. There are many who need to be investigated, most likley including a governor or two, several high ranking judges, and a whole lot of state and federal wildlife agency directors and high ranking appointees.

Along with putting this choke hold on the Equal Access to Justice Act, more effort than ever needs to be made to get the gray wolf removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Likewise, management hunts for grizzlies in the Northern Rockies are way past due.

Toby Bridges

(To bring yourself up to date on the wolf issue, go to the above website link, and on the opening page, click on "News Releases".)


  1. They already have plenty of your money. DOW are among a handful of environmental groups that are making a very good living by suing the fed. gov. for billions of your tax dollars. These law suites involve procedural errors and missed time deadlines and do absolutely nothing for wildlife. How do you think they can pay execs 3 or 400k? According to DOW has sued the gov. more than 100 times for just such procedural errors. Your donations are just part of the smokescreen. If you want the whole story go to "Western Legacy Alliance" and see what has been uncovered by a Wyoming lawyer named Karen Budd-Falen.

  2. Lawmakers need to pass a law any Federal employee that support wolves should be fired on the spot. It is proven fact these Feds in the USFWS have lied to the public have help cover up the destruction wolves have done and generally treated the people like peasants. Fire all the useless anti Americans in the USFWS we don't need any more wolf studies we don't need the USFWS protecting a FAKE endangered species, we have big problems in this country and the wolves are forcing people out of business. Time to clean up the mess the anti American in USFWS have caused. Prison time for all so called experts that lied to the people about how great wolves are.