So it would seem to be a bad idea for animal rights groups to sue the EPA because the EPA is going to not do something they never started doing anyway. Activists need the EPA to enforce their goals, they have no authority without the EPA or various other federal laws and bodies to oversee laws that highly-paid lobbyists convince lawmakers to pass.
While it might lead to hurt feelings if you and I sued each other, for activist groups and the government, it is not only smart strategy, they sometimes plan it together in advance. Why? Once a lawsuit is filed, the EPA can 'settle' - since the EPA is an appointed body outside lawmakers and the public, as long as the White House does not object to their settlement, it will be fine.
For example, when the American Canoe Association didn't like that there was too much water in Accotink Creek, they sued the EPA. The EPA settled and handed the residents of Fairfax County, Virginia a plan they had to follow under federal law. The EPA had declared water a pollutant at the request of canoers who wanted less of it so they could have better canoing and they stuck a county in Virginia with up to $500 million worth of costs to 'fix' a problem no local people had.
Are we really to believe that wasn't negotiated in advance?
In July of 2012 the EPA dropped a plan to to collect information from large-scale livestock farms, such as the number of animals, the waste management practices and the locations. Those last two are important to activist groups. We have seen in the past that the EPA's 15,000 government employees have forgotten about the Privacy Act and given out names, phone numbers and addresses of farm employees to environmental groups, with nothing but a simple Freedom of Information Act request, and even waives the charges for environmental groups most of the time, something they don't do for 'conservative' groups.
So they want the EPA to gather all that information - and the EPA wants to gather it also - and the way to do that is to file a lawsuit, negotiate a settlement, and then get approval from above. It isn't 'anti-business', the reason the EPA was forced to shelve a lot of new regulations they wanted a few months before an election last year, it would now be a court order that the administration would speedily obey - unlike the court order telling the administration to stop violating federal law and make a decision on Yucca Mountain, the White House is still ignoring that.
The EPA said it can still get the information from the states but environmentalists prefer the federal government so they say state statistics will not be accurate enough. How do they know? Well, they don't, but they have to know that 50 individual states won't be as 'friendly' about releasing personal information on farmers illegally, especially the 24 states that did not vote for President Obama in 2012.
And the states are required to enforce the Clean Water Act but often lack the resources to do it. And the Clean Water Act is the big sledgehammer activists try to use against legitimate farmers.
What we know is that illegal marijuana farmers are far more damaging to the environment, especially when it comes to waste water and toxic pesticides and herbicides - but not a single environmental activist is brave enough to picket and harass them.