Mike and Chantell Sackett
Mike and Chantell Sackett, of Priest Lake, Idaho, had their property rights "sacked" by the Environmental Protection Agency -- and we should soon know whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear their lawsuit, in which they are represented by attorneys with PLF.
The court is scheduled to consider the Sacketts' petition on Thursday, June 23, and announce whether it will take their case, on June 27.
|A lot rides on this--not just for the Sacketts, but for all property owners, nationwide.
A lot rides on this--not just for the Sacketts, but for all property owners, nationwide. Can the EPA take over someone's property--by declaring it federally controlled "wetlands"--without the owner having a meaningful right to challenge the agency in court?
PLF Senior Staff Attorney Damien Schiff explains how the Sacketts are fighting for everyone's property rights, everyone's right to his or her day in court - and for the principle that government agencies should not be above the law:
The Sacketts can't build a house because EPA has taken their land
The Sacketts own a small parcel in a residential area of Priest Lake.
They wanted to build a house to live in, as their neighbors have done.
They got the necessary local permits and approvals, and started laying gravel for the foundation.
But then, suddenly, without hearings or warnings, EPA swooped in and told them to cease and desist. EPA bureaucrats claimed that the Sacketts' small parcel is a federally controlled "wetland." Not only can the Sacketts not build a house on their property, they were ordered to return the land to EPA's liking - or face potentially
hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines!
The Sacketts want to challenge the EPA's "wetlands" claim in court. As a New York Times report showed, their property isn't next to the lake. It's in a residentially zoned area, with houses on both sides. There's no standing water or continuous water link to any navigable water.
EPA and Ninth Circuit deny the Sacketts their day in court
But EPA has said the Sacketts can't immediately appeal its "wetlands" designation - and the Ninth Circuit agreed. Instead, the Sacketts would first have to apply - probably fruitlessly - for a wetlands development permit, and be denied. That process would be long and expensive - costing more than the value of their land!
PLF's petition to the U.S. Supreme Court says that the Sacketts' constitutional Due Process rights are being denied. A victim of an EPA land grab must be permitted to appeal to a court, without paying an exorbitant "admissions fee" in the form of negotiating a long and expensive procedural maze. Otherwise, EPA is effectively an agency that is out of control and above the law!
Stay tuned to see whether the Supreme Court takes this important case!
Help PLF fight abuse by EPA - and all agencies that trample on people's rights
"Without PLF, we couldn't be carrying forward this fight for our property rights, and everyone's property rights," said Mike Sackett. "Thank you, PLF - and thank you, PLF donors!"
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