January 13, 2012

The American Spectator on Sackett

By The American Spectator on Sackett

Robert J. Smith has a witty look at the Sackett case and the EPA generally over at The American Spectator. Excerpt:

From the day the Clean Water Act was passed, giving the federal government the authority to protect navigable waters, the bureaucrats at EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have stretched the definition of navigable water beyond all rational bounds to include almost any surface that is ever wet—no matter how seldom, for how short a time, or to what degree or depth. As one attorney has put it, the government is now trying to regulate the “moistures of the United States.”

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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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