Sure it would be better if nobody sued the Environmental Protection Agency. That would save taxpayers and the EPA lots of money, because it wouldn’t have to fight back. But Scott Pruitt — in his first speech to EPA employees — stressed that avoiding litigation would be a focus of his EPA tenure. CNN reported Pruitt saying all EPA work needs to be “tethered to a statute,” with the goal being “we avoid litigation, we avoid the uncertainty of litigation and we reach better ends and outcomes at the end of day.”
But the EPA’s work, in its view, is customarily tethered to a statute. Avoiding being sued while trying to regulate big industry is like avoiding injuries while playing in the NFL. It’s not possible — and if an NFL coach has a player trying to avoid injuries rather than get the job done, that player won’t be effective because he won’t play. Having sued the EPA as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt knows the pain litigation can put the agency through, even if it’s ultimately not a win for the plaintiff. No regulatory body can do its work if its goal is trying to avoid being sued.