NACD Supports Bills to Increase Transparency in Conservation LitigationFri, 30 Aug 2013 13:20:06 CDT
National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) President Earl Garber sent the following letter to Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary Bob Goodlatte supporting the Equal Access to Justice Act and the Government Litigation Savings Act:
"On behalf of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) I am writing to support two pieces of legislation to increase transparency in litigation impacting conservation.
"The Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act, H.R. 2919, introduced by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) would reinstate tracking and reporting requirements of payments made under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). By requiring agencies to track payments to attorneys engaged in lawsuits affecting conservation, the legislation would add much-needed accountability to EAJA. It would also provide transparency by increasing public understanding of how taxpayer dollars are being spent on such litigation.
"NACD also supports the Government Litigation Savings Act (GLSA), H.R. 3037, introduced by Rep. Lummis earlier this month. GLSA would limit access to taxpayer funded reimbursements for suing the federal government under EAJA. GLSA would bring us closer to the intent of EAJA, which is to provide small non-profit, business, or individual interests with a means to sue the federal government by taking on a one-time challenge, not for litigious groups to use EAJA to fund repeated procedural lawsuits.
"We strongly believe that on-the-ground efforts and local decision-making-rather than litigation-is the best way to address environmental challenges and achieve positive results for our land, air, water and other natural resources.
"Both bills will bring us closer to the original intent of EAJA while matching the spirit of its intent. We thank you for your consideration."Both bills were introduced prior to the August recess, and we look forward to Congress' return in early September to get back to work on these and other issues of importance to conservation, including the Farm Bill and Appropriations.
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