Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SCOTUS Hears Arguments In Sackett v. EPA Wetlands Case

Jan 9: The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case of Chantell and Michael Sackett v. U.S. EPA (SupCt No.10-1062). The case is being appealed from the Ninth Circuit [See WIMS 9/21/10]. In the case the Ninth Circuit said, "We join our sister circuits and hold that the Clean Water Act precludes pre-enforcement judicial review of administrative compliance orders, and that such preclusion does not violate due process."
    Chantell and Michael Sackett own a small lot in a built-out residential subdivision that they graded to build a home. Thereafter, the Sacketts received an Administrative Compliance Order from EPA claiming that they filled a jurisdictional wetland without a Federal permit in violation of the Clean Water Act. At great cost, and under threat of civil fines of tens of thousands of dollars per day, as well as possible criminal penalties, the Sacketts were ordered to remove all fill, replace any lost vegetation, and monitor the fenced-off site for three years. The Sacketts were provided no evidentiary hearing or opportunity to contest the order. And, the lower courts have refused to address the Sacketts' claim that the lot is not subject to Federal jurisdiction. The questions presented to the Supreme Court are: Do Petitioners have a right to judicial review of an Administrative Compliance Order issued without hearing or any proof of violation under Section 309(a) (3) of the Clean Water Act?
    Access the transcript of the oral arguments (click here). Access the merit briefs and numerous amicus briefs filed in the case (click here). Access the SupCt docket in the case (click here). [#Water, #SCOTUS]