Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yay for property rights

Sackett vs EPA has been decided.  Unanimous decision by the SCOTUS in favor of private property owners.

Here was the situation.  The Sacketts owned some property and tried to build a house.  The EPA declared it a wetland and issued a compliance order.  Violation of the compliance order (ie not restoring the property to its original condition) results in a $75,000 per day fine.  To make matters worse, under current law the Sacketts couldn't take the EPA to court until the EPA filed suit.  Since the EPA has no time limit on when to file a suit (in fact my reading of the opinion suggests that they never have to file suit, they get to choose between a compliance order and a judicial proceeding) and since the fines keep adding up daily until they do, well, you can probably see where this is going.

Volokh has a writeup here

Actual SCOTUS opinion here.

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