October 8, 2011

Sacketts to recount EPA abuses at forum hosted by Senator Rand Paul

By Sacketts to recount EPA abuses at forum hosted by Senator Rand Paul

Author:  Anne Hayes

Senator Rand Paul has graciously invited PLF clients Mike and Chantell Sacketts and Mississippi Levee Board Commissioner Peter Nimrod to tell their stories to a group of elected officials at a forum entitled:  Property Wrongs:  A discussion with the victims of the U.S. government's assault on private property.  The forum will be held next Wednesday, October 12, at 2:30 p.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington DC. 

This forum is not an official Senate hearing, but Senator Paul has expressed his increasing concern about federal agencies using the power of the federal government to infringe upon basic rights of American citizens, and, in particular, to ignore fundamental property rights.

The Sacketts, of course, are battling the EPA over whether EPA can prevent them from building their single-family home on a small lot in rural northern Idaho.

Peter Nimrod, of the Mississippi Levee Board, will have an opportunity to tell his story of how the EPA has prevented the construction of the Yazoo Backwater Project.  The project is designed to protect landowners from catastrophic damage in the event of flooding in the Mississippi Delta.  Citing its concerns over wetlands, the EPA has prevented the project from going forward for nearly three decades, despite the fact that Congress exempted the project from EPA oversight.

Senator Paul has also invited other parties to tell their stories to the Congressional panel.

Here is Senator Paul's message about why he is holding this hearing:


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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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