Safe Mode: On
Supreme Court Sides With Idaho Couple Over EPA

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has come forcefully down on the side of an Idaho couple in its fight against the Environmental Protection Agency, unanimously ruling Wednesday that the couple can challenge an EPA order to stop construction of their home on property designated a wetland.

Mike and Chantell Sackett bought their land near a scenic lake for $25,000, but when they decided to build a property there in 2007, the EPA ordered a halt, saying the Clean Water Act requires that wetlands not be disturbed without a permit.

Related Video

Alaska Gov. Comes to Aid of Idaho Couple Against EPA

Gov. Sean Parnell on EPA regulations


They've been fighting for the right to challenge the decision in court for several years, and facing millions of dollars in fines over the land. The couple complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order, and noted they don't know why the EPA concluded there are wetlands on their lot, which is surrounded by a residential neighborhood with sewer lines and homes.

In an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled the EPA cannot impose fines that could be as much as $75,000 a day without giving property owners the ability to challenge its actions.

The ruling allows the couple to challenge the EPA head-on in court, but the real battle begins now. The case has brought attention to the EPA's reach. While the court only allowed a challenge to be brought, in a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the law allowing EPA to demand compliance is overly broad.

"The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear. Any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year is in danger of being classified by EPA employees as wetlands covered by the act, and according to the federal government, if property owners begin to construct a home on a lot that the agency thinks possesses the requisite wetness, the property owners are at the agency's mercy," Alito wrote.

"The court's decision provides a modest measure of relief," he added. "But the combination of the uncertain reach of the Clean Water Act and the draconian penalties imposed for the sort of violations alleged in this case still leaves most property owners with little practical alternative but to dance to the EPA's tune. Real relief requires Congress to do what it should have done in the first place: provide a reasonably clear rule regarding the reach of the Clean Water Act."

The couple, which termed the battle "David versus Goliath," has earned support from several lawmakers who want to reduce the grasp of the EPA on private property. Reps. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Idaho Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, all joined the Chantells and other couples in a forum last fall about limiting EPA authority.

Labrador congratulated the Sacketts after the ruling.

"The federal government is an intimidating force against ordinary citizens, and standing up to its bureaucracy requires extraordinary bravery. Thanks to the unwavering courage and selfless sacrifice of the Sacketts, Americans everywhere will be guaranteed the right to appeal a decision imposed by a government agency. Their victory also safeguards individual property rights against the encroachment of the federal government, a fundamental assurance of our Constitution," he said.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/21/supreme-court-sides-with-idaho-property-owners-over-epa/#ixzz1pnmAlTNM

Loading the player ...
Embed CodeSwitch Player
Plays: 1713 (Embed: 0)

Added: Mar-21-2012 Occurred On: Mar-21-2012
By: marinemom
In:
Regional News, Other News, Politics
Tags: EPA, lawsuit, Supreme Court
Location: United States (load item map)
Views: 2573 | Comments: 57 | Votes: 4 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE
'
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first | Highest score first
Liveleak opposes racial slurs - if you do spot comments that fall into this category, please report them for us to review.
  • Good for these folks. FUCK THE EPA!

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (8) | Report

  • the EPA needs to be eliminated

    Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

    (7) | Report

    • @Hang-Man I'll kill off the EPA for you if you'll get rid of the NRA for me. Deal?

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (-5) | Report

    • @mistamista No. The NRA is a private group of citizens. They have no power to force anything on anyone. The EPA does have the power to impose it's tyranny on the populace. See the difference?

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (5) | Report

    • @lonewolf6972 No, I don't see the difference. The NRA is an organization that uses the second amendment like it's parachute while many of it's members blindly look the other way on many of the other amendments. Furthermore, they have the highest paid lobbyists in the US working to defend gun ownership for dollars.

      On the other hand, the EPA does what it can to keep some trees on the ground and the water we drink, the air we breathe and the land we love untainted by proposing laws that are signe More..

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (-1) | Report

    • @lonewolf6972

      The NRA has no power? Rolmfao!

      Wow telling some whoppers.

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (-3) | Report

    • @dcmfox Can they have you arrested? Can they tell you what you can or can't do to or on your property? No, they can't.

      They do have influence, which they wield for the millions of people who are members.

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (2) | Report

  • Rand Paul is pretty awesome.

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (6) | Report

  • The EPA out of control? How about the whole Obama administration.

    Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

    (4) | Report

  • Lou Dobbs!!! Where the hell has he been? I miss that guy!

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (4) | Report

  • Sweet. Glad someone is raging against the machine..

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (3) | Report

  • Common sense prevails.

    Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

    (3) | Report

  • This was an awesome SCOTUS decision. I only hope those scumbag EPA employees who blatantly scammed to steal this family's home get civil and criminal penalties for this. Let some of these power mad government assholes live in fear of their lives being ruined for a change, the sociopathic dirtbags.

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (2) | Report

  • WIN! Enough of this agency gone wild

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (2) | Report

  • The EPA is a vile and corrupt creation of the commie democrap party.

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (2) | Report

    • Comment of user 'jgmurj' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • score 1 for the little guys....FIGHT THE POWER

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • With this being said. It all comes down to Congress in clarifing the Clean Water Act (1972). Until then, expect the same knee jerk response from the EPA.

    See Judge Alito's concurrance.

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Bout time the courts made a decision on this

    Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Our federal government has gotten so far out of control it's going to take something very drastic to slay the beast. I cannot think of a single agency that doesn't put road blocks in front of american citizens in our everyday lives. You have to look back and think the south was right for fighting against a centralized all powerful government that doesn't represent anyone but themselves. And before anyone cries "yeah that slavery thing..." The truth about slavery in this country can nev More..

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

    • Comment of user 'ReplicantDeckard' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @ReplicantDeckard Thank you. Especially for the "Greatwhiterapture shark" complete with RPG 1ea.

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (1) | Report

    • Comment of user 'ReplicantDeckard' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Comment of user 'htos1' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • That's one for the good guys huh? I hope the court tells the epa to get the fuck outta here. This is just plain bull right here, Put restrictions on the people but don't tell them they can't build their dream home. That's what part of the amer dream is all about, Building your family's dream house. Man this dam nation. They go and build or do whatever they want, Just try and get in their way and watch what happens to you. Geeezy Weeezy

    Posted Mar-25-2012 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Almost 5 years since this started. Damn our legal system is getting slower every ear.

    Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

    • Comment of user 'htos1' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • i thought lou dobbs was gray...

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

  • I respect them for bothering with all this trouble for their land... but I'm betting the guy was like 'lets just move' and the woman was like 'NOOO this is the spot for OUR house!'

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (0) | Report

  • Comment of user 'Fahstahoahn' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • Comment of user 'Fahstahoahn' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • It's hilarious that Lou Dobbs doesn't understand that a "protected wetland doesn't need to be wet. In fact, there are some "wetlands" that haven't had standing water for decades, but the animals that have been coming there to reproduce for thousands of years don't seem to give a damn.

    Now, on the subject of building your home near a protected wetland, the argument on the part of the people wishing to build their home is ignorant, but in order to fight, they needed to get their a More..

    Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

    (-2) | Report

    • Comment of user 'htos1' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @htos1 I don't think that this has anything to do with a culture war, unless you're using "culture" to say "environmentally educated". There is a limit to what we should develop as human beings, and while the fundamental question of land ownership is one of the cornerstones of our society, there must be an advanced respect for nature and the animals that are being displaced byway of our development. I'm all for vuilding homes anywhere that you wish and can afford, but there M More..

      Posted Mar-23-2012 By 

      (0) | Report

  • What about their encroachment on the rights of other people to have clean water. We can't all build our houses on wetlands.

    Posted Mar-21-2012 By 

    (-4) | Report

  • Comment of user 'stinkbuttdog' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @stinkbuttdog If you think the EPA always acts in the interest of the environment, you are mistaken.

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (8) | Report

    • @stinkbuttdog

      You should read up on this case and look at maps of the property. The property is inland from a lake, and there are other houses and properties already built up between this couple's land and the lake. There is no actual water, marsh, or other wetland on this property, and the EPA is making the determination that the property is "wetland" based on the conjecture that wetlands once existed on the property at some unspecified time, which for the EPA could have been hund More..

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (7) | Report

    • @ChumCannon Of course they don't, but that is their goal.

      Posted Mar-22-2012 By 

      (-6) | Report