||Damien M. Schiff
Pacific Legal Foundation
The Sacketts and PLF’s Damien Schiff will address Congress’ Western Caucuses
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 27, 2012: Mike and Chantell Sackett of Priest Lake, Idaho, along with Pacific Legal Foundation Principal Attorney Damien M. Schiff, are among the scheduled witnesses at a hearing to be held tomorrow by members of the Senate and Congressional Western Caucuses.
||Bicameral hearing: “Washington Barriers to Prosperity and Property Rights in the West.”
||Tuesday, February 28, 2012. 9:30 a.m. until approximately 12:30 p.m., EST.
||Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628.
The hearing is being chaired by Senate Western Caucus Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Steve Pearce (R-NM). The Sacketts and Schiff have been invited by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID).
Members and witnesses will examine federal environmental and natural resource policies and their negative impact on jobs, economic growth, and property rights in Western states and communities. The hearing will also help facilitate a discussion of needed reforms.
The Sacketts will discuss the high cost of abusive EPA regulation
The Sacketts, who are small business owners, will talk about how they have been devastated by heavy-handed regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Without any notice or hearings, EPA declared their small parcel at Priest Lake to be a “wetland,” blocked them from building their planned three-bedroom home on the property, ordered them to return the land to the agency’s liking, and threatened them with fines of up to $75,000 per day if they failed to obey EPA’s wetlands “compliance order.”
Siding with EPA, the Ninth Circuit held that the Sacketts could not directly appeal EPA’s compliance order to a court. Their case, Sackett v. EPA, is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Represented by PLF attorneys, the Sacketts argue that property owners who are hit with EPA compliance orders are entitled to judicial review. Oral argument was held on January 9 and a decision is expected in spring or early summer.
In remarks prepared for Tuesday’s hearing, Mike Sackett said, “EPA’s wetlands compliance orders stop people from using their property, and that destroys jobs — yet EPA does not want these orders to be subject to judicial review. From what we can see based on our own experience, EPA must be one of America’s most efficient job-killing machines.”
PLF’s Damien M. Schiff will discuss abuses under the Endangered Species Act
Damien M. Schiff is the PLF Principal Attorney who represents the Sacketts and argued their case at the U.S. Supreme Court on January 9. At tomorrow’s hearing, he will give examples of how federal environmental laws and regulations have become seriously out-of-balance, with too little concern for a healthy human environment for job growth and community betterment. He will focus in particular on abuses under the Endangered Species Act, including the draconian water cutbacks for the agricultural San Joaquin Valley and urban communities in Southern California, as part of a scientifically dubious scheme to help the Delta smelt, a three-inch fish that has long been in decline.
In remarks prepared for the hearing, Schiff said that there are too many examples of “environmental regulations that ignore the law, bend it, or push vague statutory language to the limit, imposing damaging economic costs with environmental benefits that are uncertain at best.
“The need is great for reform,” he continued. “We need more balance and concern for a healthy economic environment, as well as for more scientific rigor to ensure that our regulations actually make environmental sense.”
As of Friday, February 24, these speakers were confirmed for Tuesday’s hearing:
||The Honorable Butch Otter, Governor of Idaho
||Mike and Chantell Sackett, Priest Lake, Idaho
Damien Schiff, Principal Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation
Dr. Dennis Fife, Mayor of Brigham City, Utah
Mark Knight, National Cattlemen Beef Association
and the Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas
Buster Johnson, Chairman of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, Arizona
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is a legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental protection, in courts across the country.