6 years ago

Sackett reaction: Enviros need to better coordinate their spin

By Sackett reaction: Enviros need to better coordinate their spin

Earlier today I remarked how the Natural Resources Defense Council completely botched its analysis of this morning’s decision in Sackett v. EPA. Among other things, NRDC oddly suggested that the Supreme Court “did not give anyone a license to pollute,” as if the Sacketts’ mere request for judicial review of EPA’s egregious actions in this case could somehow be construed as bad for the environment.

So NRDC’s assertion that authorized pollution can’t go forward after Sackett is clearly a red herring. But now comes University of Michigan law professor Nina Mendelson, who takes a different approach by wrongly claiming not only that pollution was an issue in Sackett, but that pollution will likely increase as a result of today’s decision!

From NPR’s story on the case:

Nina Mendelson, a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School, warns, however, that such challenges could allow corporations to tie up the EPA in litigation.

“Factory farm lagoons that are overflowing into a river or tributary, the malfunctioning of a sewage treatment plant, a mine opening into a river — all of these are subject to the Clean Water Act,” Mendelson says. “If the EPA were to issue a compliance order in these settings, it would likely get bogged down in court.”

I’ll leave it to you to click on the link to the NPR story to read my colleague Damien Schiff’s obvious response to this nonsense. But the interesting thing here is that the enviros are not on the same page in their collective disdain for PLF’s victory.

They’re not happy with today’s decision because it is a win for property rights advocates, but they can’t decide how to spin it — “Should we mislead the public by suggesting that this case was about pollution and trumpet that pollution won’t increase, or should we engage in further deception by implying that dangereous polluters who are wholly unlike the Sacketts and their attempt to build a dream home will be able to continue to pollute while tying up the EPA in court?”

This may be an instance where the left hand doesn’t know what the other left hand is doing. In the meantime, I might suggest to the enviros that they honestly acknowledge what Sackett v. EPA is really about: the right of property owners and all Americans to have their day in court in accordance with due process of law.

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Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency

Chantell and Michael Sackett received a local permit to build a modest three-bedroom home on a half-acre lot in an existing, partially built-out residential subdivision in Priest Lake, Idaho. The home poses no threat to water quality but federal EPA regulators nonetheless declared their property to contain a wetland and demanded they stop all work and restore the lot to its natural condition or pay fines of up to $75,000 per day. When they sued to challenge this order, EPA asserted they had no right to judicial review. The district court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, and tossed their lawsuit out of court. The United States Supreme Court unanimously reversed, ruling that failure to allow the lawsuit violated the Sacketts’ constitutional due process rights. They are now litigating their claims in federal district court in Idaho.

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