Sacketts v. EPA: Land Owners Win As US Supreme Court Rules Against EPA Regulation of Wetlands
The Sacketts won. The EPA lost. This is big news for Florida real estate developers, investors (foreign and domestic) in Florida land, as well as landowners everywhere.
For details on what happened over in Idaho, read our earlier January 10, 2012, post, "Environmental Protection Agency Criticized by U.S. Supreme Court Justices Over Treatment of Land Owners In Wetlands Controversy."
To read the entirety of the March 2012 opinion of the United States Supreme Court in Sackett v. EPA, case no. 10-1062, go here.
Here's What Happened in Sackett v EPA and Why It's a Good Thing
With every single Justice siding with Mr. and Mrs. Sackett, the United States Supreme Court has ruled 9-0 that property owners have a right to a hearing to challenge the federal agency's attempts to control their building on their own property. In other words, the EPA's threats of Big Big Fines against this couple who wanted to build their family home near a river (and by big we mean $75,000/day), which the EPA claimed to be protected wetlands, cannot stand without the rights of the property owners to challenge the agency.
This gives support to property owners everywhere in the United States, not just Idaho, and not just Michael and Chantell Sackett. And given that the EPA enforces wetlands protections on almost a daily basis here in Florida, this is a case that is especially important here in the Sunshine State.
It's not news to those who deal in land development to hear horror stories of the EPA coming in and threatening huge, monster fines if a landowner chooses to proceed in building something against the EPA's idea of what should and should not be built on the land. And, it's not news that before now, the EPA was pretty secure in the position that there would be no hearing where the landowner could challenge the EPA's position.
Until the Sacketts, who risked a whole lot to take this fight to the Highest Court in the Land. We should all be appreciative of their efforts.