Partner Francis Lyons, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) environmental enforcement attorney, was quoted on the DOJ’s review of the use of supplemental environmental projects (SEP) as part of settlements in citizen suits.
The DOJ recently ended a nearly 30-year practice of using SEPs in enforcement settlements with companies. Frank said that it would be a significant change if the DOJ started objecting to SEP-use in citizen suit settlements.
"I think it would be a huge disruption and a huge disappointment to the [nongovernmental organizations] — the citizens who bring the suit — and to the defendants," he said.
Frank added that environmental groups and industry both like SEPs, because they can be used to facilitate settlement negotiations and provide an alternative to just forcing a company to pay fines.
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