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Is it too much to ask that commonsense prevail in Government Departments?

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Like quite a few others the EPA has become a law unto itself, and it's officers seem oblivious to who actually pays their wage.

 

Who else thinks that government has run amok and needs to be curtailed? I certainly do.

 

The real question is why there appears to be no commonsense and why the lower and appellate courts turfed this on to the Supreme Court.

 

They has a prime opportunity to throw this out early and make the EPA pursue further legal action.

 

Instead the plaintiffs were forced to make appeals for hearings,, wasting years of their lives.

 

Perhaps your local senators and congressmen should be goaded into sponsoring a bill that would repudiate legal exemption for department workers making these ridiculous judgement calls, and allowing Joe Citizen to haul their butts into civil court.

 

 

Supreme Court rebukes EPA in landmark property rights case

Rare 9-0 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court affirms property owners' right to challenge the decrees of federal agencies and receive due process of law.

 

March 23, 2012

by Dr. Jeff Edgens

 

Property rights in America are sinking to the bottom of a regulatory swamp. The biggest threat to property rights are unchallenged bureaucratic decisions that command property owners to do the bidding of the EPA while not allowing those citizens the opportunity to be heard.

 

One couple caught in this legal quagmire is Mike and Chantell Sackett residents of Priest Lake, Idaho where they bought property in 2008 to build the home of their dreams. They secured all of the necessary permits and began work to fill the land and to prepare the site for the construction of their lake home. But three days after they began work a group of EPA wetland cops made a visit and in no uncertain terms ordered the Sacketts to cease and desist their activities.

 

Obviously, the Sackett’s were taken aback by the EPA command. To complicate matters EPA’s own National Wetlands Inventory did not include the Sackett property as a wetland. To that, the EPA officials only shrugged and said that makes no difference, your property is still a wetland.

 

During the coming weeks and months the Sacketts attempted to voice their complaints to the agency, but not only did the agency not listen, EPA said their decision could not be challenged. What part of the Constitution does the agency need to re-read? Our founders understood that it is a basic right of Americans to challenge their government to protect us against arbitrary decrees imposed by the king or those who carry out his orders.

 

But this is where the story gets interesting, because of EPA’s refusal to hear the Sacketts and with fines racking up, the agency issued a compliance order. This compliance order is a final step in EPA’s actions to enforce the regulations against the Sacketts and to demand that the property be returned to its original state (remember it's not classified as a wetland) and pay the fines.

 

With fines mounting every day for violating the Clean Water Act and the EPA compliance order the Sacketts options were limited. They could either make amends to the property and quit work or challenge the agency’s decision. The Sacketts did as any American would do, they went to court and sued the agency to hear them out, unfortunately the lower court and appeals court affirmed the Sacketts could not speak to EPA.

 

In all of this they understood their “due process” rights were denied. No hearing, no ability to file suit, no nothing. They either had to pay the fines for everyday out of compliance or convert the property to its original condition. In either case their private property rights were effectively seized through the lack of “due process.”

 

Violating property rights is nothing new to the EPA. Through creative definitions and federal guidance documents the agency has gone beyond its mandate in the Clean Water Act and it is engaged in a form of “mission creep.” These meth fueled EPA power grabs are devoid of reason.

 

Thankfully, the Sacketts appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief from the agency’s overbearing power addiction. The Supreme Court unanimously saw what the lower courts and EPA did not – that the right of a citizen to challenge its government is inviolable.

 

EPA’s smack down is sweet justice for those of us who have been decrying for years the inequity confronting private property owners to challenge agency rulings. The court opinion now reasserts the rights of citizens to challenge EPA actions.

 

Justice Scalia’s decision goes a long way but threats remain to property owners across all demographic, economic and regional boundaries. Legislative interpretation of “navigable waters” and the definition of a wetland remain supreme challenges for property owners wanting to use their land.

 

When private property is seized without due process of law landowners are effectively denied the use of their land and denied a basic freedom. A concept not lost on these courageous landowners who took on Goliath to win a victory for the “people.” Mike and Chantell Sackett can now breathe a bit easier and celebrate their victory over a glass of wine while sitting on the front porch taking in the sites of Priest Lake. They deserve it.

 

 

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Like quite a few others the EPA has become a law unto itself, and it's officers seem oblivious to who actually pays their wage.

Who else thinks that government has run amok and needs to be curtailed? I certainly do.

The real question is why there appears to be no commonsense and why the lower and appellate courts turfed this on to the Supreme Court.

They has a prime opportunity to throw this out early and make the EPA pursue further legal action.

Instead the plaintiffs were forced to make appeals for hearings,, wasting years of their lives.

Perhaps your local senators and congressmen should be goaded into sponsoring a bill that would repudiate legal exemption for department workers making these ridiculous judgement calls, and allowing Joe Citizen to haul their butts into civil court.

Supreme Court rebukes EPA in landmark property rights case

Rare 9-0 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court affirms property owners' right to challenge the decrees of federal agencies and receive due process of law.

March 23, 2012

by Dr. Jeff Edgens

Property rights in America are sinking to the bottom of a regulatory swamp. The biggest threat to property rights are unchallenged bureaucratic decisions that command property owners to do the bidding of the EPA while not allowing those citizens the opportunity to be heard.

One couple caught in this legal quagmire is Mike and Chantell Sackett residents of Priest Lake, Idaho where they bought property in 2008 to build the home of their dreams. They secured all of the necessary permits and began work to fill the land and to prepare the site for the construction of their lake home. But three days after they began work a group of EPA wetland cops made a visit and in no uncertain terms ordered the Sacketts to cease and desist their activities.

Obviously, the Sackett’s were taken aback by the EPA command. To complicate matters EPA’s own National Wetlands Inventory did not include the Sackett property as a wetland. To that, the EPA officials only shrugged and said that makes no difference, your property is still a wetland.

During the coming weeks and months the Sacketts attempted to voice their complaints to the agency, but not only did the agency not listen, EPA said their decision could not be challenged. What part of the Constitution does the agency need to re-read? Our founders understood that it is a basic right of Americans to challenge their government to protect us against arbitrary decrees imposed by the king or those who carry out his orders.

But this is where the story gets interesting, because of EPA’s refusal to hear the Sacketts and with fines racking up, the agency issued a compliance order. This compliance order is a final step in EPA’s actions to enforce the regulations against the Sacketts and to demand that the property be returned to its original state (remember it's not classified as a wetland) and pay the fines.

With fines mounting every day for violating the Clean Water Act and the EPA compliance order the Sacketts options were limited. They could either make amends to the property and quit work or challenge the agency’s decision. The Sacketts did as any American would do, they went to court and sued the agency to hear them out, unfortunately the lower court and appeals court affirmed the Sacketts could not speak to EPA.

In all of this they understood their “due process” rights were denied. No hearing, no ability to file suit, no nothing. They either had to pay the fines for everyday out of compliance or convert the property to its original condition. In either case their private property rights were effectively seized through the lack of “due process.”

Violating property rights is nothing new to the EPA. Through creative definitions and federal guidance documents the agency has gone beyond its mandate in the Clean Water Act and it is engaged in a form of “mission creep.” These meth fueled EPA power grabs are devoid of reason.

Thankfully, the Sacketts appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief from the agency’s overbearing power addiction. The Supreme Court unanimously saw what the lower courts and EPA did not – that the right of a citizen to challenge its government is inviolable.

EPA’s smack down is sweet justice for those of us who have been decrying for years the inequity confronting private property owners to challenge agency rulings. The court opinion now reasserts the rights of citizens to challenge EPA actions.

Justice Scalia’s decision goes a long way but threats remain to property owners across all demographic, economic and regional boundaries. Legislative interpretation of “navigable waters” and the definition of a wetland remain supreme challenges for property owners wanting to use their land.

When private property is seized without due process of law landowners are effectively denied the use of their land and denied a basic freedom. A concept not lost on these courageous landowners who took on Goliath to win a victory for the “people.” Mike and Chantell Sackett can now breathe a bit easier and celebrate their victory over a glass of wine while sitting on the front porch taking in the sites of Priest Lake. They deserve it.

 

That was a squeaker.

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That was a squeaker.

 

It was a less a squeaker than a given.

 

Don't believe any of the SC judges would like to go down in history as voting against private property rights.

 

The SC ruling should have been what was handed down in the lower court.

 

Curiously the EPA was not publicly excoriated.

 

 

 

 

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Glad to hear that the supreme court has some sense (not always clear on their recent eminent domain cases).

 

What is even more scary is that the Clean Water act was written by Congress in ways that gave too much discretion and no due process procedures:

For regulatory purposes under the Clean Water Act, the term wetlands means "those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas."

 

That's why the lower courts deferred -- the agency literally was going by the rules (except the rules were stupidly wrong). Now Congress could not have inventoried all the wetlands beforehand, but they wrote the definitions and they wrote the procedures. Wetlands are useful to all of us (ducks are tasty, and costal wetlands are critical for fishermen, among others) and getting people not to screw them up is generally good for all of us (you'd think so too if your neighbor started a landfill on their property and argued that stopping it violated their rights to use their property) but there have to be procedures to correct errors. Due process should not be that hard to understand. For example, Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri is surrounded by homes and resorts. About a year ago, a federal power regulatory agency determined that the lake maps were drawn wrong and hundreds of homes and resort buildings were into restricted space (often just one corner or wall). If you don't want your lake home flooded, that is bad. If you don't want the feds being sued for allowing the lake homes to flood, something should be done. The agency acted -- and ordered everything in the least over the line torn down! BUT THANKS TO DUE PROCESS, that was rescended and a sensible compromise was found.

 

We often hear "freedom is not free." I suspect the lawyers to get this outcome were not free either -- I hope at least the couple has their legal bills paid. I wonder how many cases before this lacked the money to fight and just fell into line? I guess we may never know.

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A sqeaker, but still one of the most important SCOTUS rulings in decades. :clap:

 

It means that We, the People, do have the right to appeal the decisions of fiat thrown at our feet by the EPA Czars. This is real setback to the bureaucrats in the EPA who view themselves as omnipotent overseers in all things 'environmental', but a definitive boon to freedom loving Americans. :clap:

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