“According to data recently obtained from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in response to document requests, the federal government has defended more than 570 Endangered Species Act (ESA)-related lawsuits, costing U.S. taxpayers more than $15 million in attorney fees – in just the past four years,” reports a graphic news release issued today by the House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Doc Hastings (WA-04).
These data provide “further evidence that the ESA has become litigation driven, where money and resources are spent addressing endless, frivolous lawsuits instead of species recovery,” says the committee.
Amen to that. And some folks wonder why we’re up to our eyeballs in debt with stubbornly high unemployment.
Environmental groups are filing the vast majority of litigation, with the Center for Biological Diversity and the WildEarth Guardians leading the charge.
These groups, and their lawyers, are making millions of taxpayer dollars in profit by suing the federal government. According to DOJ, some attorneys are reimbursed up to $500 an hour and two lawyers have each received over $2 million in attorney fees from ESA cases.