September 13, 2011

Sen. Rand Paul highlighting EPA wetlands abuses, including PLF's Sackett case

By Sen. Rand Paul highlighting EPA wetlands abuses, including PLF's Sackett case

Author: Anne Hayes

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is bringing greater attention to the issue of EPA's authoritarian behavior with respect to supposed "wetlands" both in an editorial he penned for the Washington Times, and in a recent interview with Lou Dobbs. Among the cases he cited was our upcoming case before the Supreme Court, Sackett v. EPA. As we gear up for our hearing in the Sacketts' battle against the EPA, we appreciate the attention he is bringing to this issue. Remember–this case will not resolve whether the Sacketts get to build a three-bedroom home on their property; it is about whether the Sacketts even have the right to question the EPA's exercise of authority over their lot–which cost them $23,000–at the risk of over $40 million in fines.

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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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