What is in this article?:
- Supreme Court paves way for Sacketts to fight EPA
- Mike Sackett statement
- The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Mike and Chantell Sackett, of Priest Lake, Idaho, in their dispute with the EPA.
- SCOTUS held 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 Sackett statement
Mike Sackett issued this statement:
“We are very thankful to the Supreme Court for affirming that we have rights, and that the EPA is not a law unto itself and that the EPA is not beyond the control of the courts and the Constitution,” said Mike Sackett. “The EPA used bullying and threats of terrifying fines, and has made our life hell for the past five years. It said we could not go to court and challenge their bogus claim that our small lot had ‘wetlands’ on it. As this nightmare went on, we rubbed our eyes and started to wonder if we were living in some totalitarian country. Now, the Supreme Court has come to our rescue, and reminded the EPA — and everyone — that this is still America, and Americans still have rights under the Constitution. We want to thank Pacific Legal Foundation for defending us, without charge! Without Pacific Legal Foundation, this day would have not come, and this Court ruling that vindicated the rights of all Americans against bureaucratic bullying, would not have happened.”
The Sacketts’ saga: EPA overreach and a Ninth Circuit denial
Mike and Chantell Sackett bought a small parcel in 2005 with the intent to build a three-bedroom family home. The lot is in a residential area, and neighbors have built their own houses. The Sacketts obtained a county permit to build, and started laying gravel. But then they were devastated by EPA, which came in, without hearings or notice, and claimed the property is “wetlands” — and ordered them to return it to the agency’s liking, on pain of astronomical fines.
With good reason to believe the land is not “wetlands,” the Sacketts wanted to contest EPA’s claim. But EPA denied their request for a hearing — and the Ninth Circuit ruled they had no right to immediate judicial review. It held that they would first have to go through a years-long “wetlands” permit process, which could cost 12 times the value of their land!
Represented by attorneys with PLF, the Sacketts were asking the Supreme Court: When property owners are hit by an EPA wetlands “compliance order,” do they have a right to meaningful judicial review — or is EPA effectively above the law? Today, the Supreme Court answered, in effect, that EPA is under the law, not above it, and that Americans still have the right to their day in court.