AFBF Statement Regarding Court Ruling in Sackett v. EPA – March 21, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2012— “The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased with the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on behalf of property owners in Sackett v. EPA. AFBF filed amicus briefs in the case to educate the court about the legal and on-the-ground consequences of Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act policies.
“The Sacketts’ homebuilding was halted by EPA in 2007 based on the agency’s assertion that the Idaho couple’s home site was a wetland. Although the couple believed their land was not a wetland, they were denied any opportunity to challenge EPA’s ‘compliance order’ and faced up to $37,500 per day in potential fines until the matter was settled. Today’s decision vindicates the rights of landowners like the Sacketts to challenge EPA compliance orders that improperly assert jurisdiction over their land. The decision gives landowners like the Sacketts their day in court, overriding the position taken by EPA and many prior courts that have denied them that right.
“We agree with Justice Alito’s concurring opinion that the federal government has too often ‘put the property rights of ordinary Americans entirely at the mercy of the Environmental Protection Agency’s employees.’ We also agree with Justice Alito that, while allowing landowners to sue is a start, Congress needs to clarify the reach of the Clean Water Act.
“Farm Bureau is optimistic that today’s decision will help curtail EPA’s efforts to illegally expand its regulatory jurisdiction over farming and other land-based activities. At the very least, landowners have another tool to hold EPA accountable.”