Matthew Thurlow Talks to Bloomberg about Review of EPA Settlement Agreements

News / August 10, 2017

Partner Matthew Thurlow is quoted in an article published Aug. 10, 2017, in Bloomberg BNA’s “Environment Reporter.” The article, “Sessions Raises Possibility of Reopening Pollution Settlements,” discusses Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent request for a list of all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settlement agreements, including those that include payments to third parties, which now are barred. The memo raises the possibility that the Justice Department might reopen some settlements. Thurlow told Bloomberg that final settlements that are modified to remove third party payment provisions could be subject to public notice and comment requirements and re-approval by courts.

He also mentioned that Sessions’ recent ban on settlement payments to third parties limits the EPA’s Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP) policy. “While the SEP policy was not entirely eliminated by AG Sessions’ June 5 memo, it was put on life support,” Thurlow said. “The only SEPs that still appear to be viable following the memo are projects performed by defendants. For a variety of reasons, many defendants are extremely reluctant to perform their own SEPs,” Thurlow said, adding that one reason is that they can be penalized by the EPA if they make mistakes in how they carry out the projects.

Read the article (registration required).