March 29, 2012

Talking "Sackett" to American Agri-Women

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

This evening I’m speaking at the American Agri-Women’s 2012 Mid-Year conference in Nebraska City, Nebraska (the home of Arbor Day).  The focus of my presentation is Pacific Legal Foundation’s recent Supreme Court victory in Sackett v. EPA.  In addition to explaining the case’s background and the Court’s holding, I’ll offer some thoughts on how the decision will positively affect the U.S. agriculture industry.  Perhaps its most important impact will be giving farmers a chance to fight back against EPA regulatory excess when the agency charges a farmer with having illegally filled wetlands or otherwise violated the Clean Water Act.

If you belong to an organization that would be interested in having a PLF speaker, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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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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