The Justice Department staff defended the EPA on an average of about 155 cases each year, or a total of about 2,500 cases between fiscal years 1995 and 2010. Most cases were filed under the Clean Air Act (59 percent of cases) and the Clean Water Act (20 percent of cases).
The costs borne by the Justice, EPA, and Treasury Departments also varied without a discernible trend from fiscal year 1998 through fiscal year 2010. Justice spent at least $43 million, or $3.3 million annually, to defend EPA in court during this time. In addition, owing to statutory requirements to pay certain successful plaintiffs for attorney fees and costs, Treasury paid about $14.2 million from fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2010—about $1.8 million per fiscal year—to plaintiffs in environmental cases. EPA paid approximately $1.4 million from fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2010—about $280,000 per fiscal year—to plaintiffs for environmental litigation claims under relevant statutes.