It's actually an amendment to an existing federal law, but it could be a groundbreaking piece of legislation, perhaps one that will stop the never-ending stream of environmental lawsuits we've seen over the years.

After months, even years of work, Americans for Limited Government announced an amendment has been passed and attached to the Department of Interior Appropriations bill that will fund them for the next government cycle. In passing this amendment and bill, it now becomes law.

ALG is a leading national conservative think tank and political action group that fights for conservative political, environmental and other causes.

Three U.S. Representatives, Lynn Westmoreland, and Doug Collins of Georgia and Jason Smith of Missouri were able to get it passed.

The amendment modifies the government's practices of how lawsuits are handled. According to ALG, environmental groups have practiced what's called "Sue And Settle" for years. They file lawsuits against federal agencies, from the Department of Interior, to the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management and others that are part of the Interior Department.  According to ALG:

"Sue-and-settle arrangements are where a group sues demanding that the EPA or another agency enforce the law in a new, expanded way and the agency enters into a consent decree with the party, which is signed by a judge. This leaves the agency with new powers under the Clean Air and Water and the Endangered Species Acts. But now, thanks to U.S. Reps. Smith, Westmoreland and Collins and a decisive 226 to 202 vote in the House, this practice will come to an end. Sue and settle is an abomination that has no place under representative government, as it cuts Congress out of the process of amending law."

The new amendment cuts off ALL funding used for legal fees for "Sue and Settle" litigation, making it impossible to file them. Pretty simple: you can't proceed with a suit unless you have the money to pay attorneys and legal council!

It is hoped this will dry up the endless stream of lawsuits, including the one filed in Portland this last week, claiming 26 Northwest dams are damaging endangered bull trout habitats.

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