Did Congress pass the Clean Water Act so that federal bureaucrats could force American citizens
to pay outrageous fees just to build a little house on their own property in
rural Idaho? Well, the EPA thinks so.
In 2005, Mike and Chantell
Sackett purchased a 0.63 acre lot in Priest Lake, Idaho, surrounded by
built-out parcels. They got all the permits for their three
bedroom home. But when they began grading work, the EPA marched onto
the property and issued a Compliance Order, asserting that the property was a
wetland and demanding that they remove the fill that they had placed on the property,
restore the alleged wetlands that used to be there, and fence off the
property for three years before applying to them for apermit.
The Order also threatened them with fines
of $38,500 per day if they failed to comply. The Sacketts,
believing EPA was wrong, sued. But according to current law, the
Sacketts have no right to even go to court. Represented by PLF, the Sacketts have argued
that the lack of any opportunity for judicial review violates their due process
rights under the Constitution. Now, the Supreme Court has agreed to
take up their case.