July 26, 2012

Talking Sackett with the cattlemen

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association annual summer conference in Denver.  I’ll be presenting on Sackett v. EPA, and discussing other prominent and current environmental issues, including the pending draft agency guidance on interpreting Rapanos, the chicken coop controversy in West Virginia, and Forest Service efforts to divest grazing permittees of their water rights.  Hope to see you there!

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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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