On March 21, with a 9-0 vote, the United State Supreme Court ruled that landowners have a right to direct, meaningful judicial review if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency effectively seizes control of their property by declaring it to be “wetlands.”
Mike and Chantell Sackett wanted to build the home of their dreams in a lakeside location in Idaho. Six years ago they bought a 0.63-acre parcel for $23,000. The Sacketts’ parcel is 500 feet west of Priest Lake, separated from the lake by a house and a road.
EPA issued a “compliance” order, declaring the Sackett’s property “wetlands,” and demanding that the Sacketts stop construction, remove the gravel and return the land to EPA’s liking. The compliance order carried fines anywhere from $32,500 a day to $75,000 a day. which would accrue unitl such time as the EPA deceided to sue for enforcement. Reason.tv has an extensive report on the case history.
This Bloomberg report summarizes the issue addressed in the ruling. What’s worth noting about the 1,500 compliance orders issued per year is that, as we’ve noted before, environmentalists are urging the EPA to shut down new oil exploration and mining projects, like Alaska’s Pebble Mine, using the same prememtive Clean Water Act tactics.
This is a very good day for those who want America to increase its energy and mineral independence.