PLF Helps an Idaho Couple Take a Bully to Court: Sackett v. EPA

Pacific Legal Foundation | September 30, 2011
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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.