By Greg Stohr
(Updates with Scalia comment in fifth paragraph.)
Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Supreme Court justices accused the Environmental Protection Agency of overreaching in enforcing federal statutes, as a majority of the court signaled it may blunt a favorite agency enforcement tool.
Hearing arguments today in a case involving an Idaho couple seeking to build a new home, justices from across the ideological spectrum suggested they will let landowners go straight to a federal judge when the federal agency orders them to correct violations of environmental laws.
The case, which has ramifications for energy companies and manufacturers, may weaken the EPA’s so-called administrative compliance orders. The agency issues as many as 3,000 such orders each year to businesses and individuals, demanding an end to alleged environmental violations and applying so much pressure that those accused typically give in before the agency has to justify the action before a judge.
“Don’t you think most ordinary homeowners would say this kind of thing can’t happen in the United States?” Justice Samuel Alito asked at today’s hearing. He later suggested the EPA’s actions had been “outrageous.”
Justice Antonin Scalia accused regulators of “high- handedness.”
The fight involves a 0.63-acre property near Priest Lake in northern Idaho. In 2007 Chantell and Michael Sackett had begun preparing the land to build a three-bedroom home when EPA officials ordered work to halt. The agency said the property was a wetland and that the Sacketts couldn’t build without obtaining a permit under the Clean Water Act. MORE>>> http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-11/clean-water-act-tool-us...
For more from a different source>>> http://www.theblaze.com/stories/supreme-court-justices-blast-epa-fo...
(TLS)- 100 million dollars for building on a piece of property they OWN? A piece of property that did NOT have any water let alone wetlands... I'll be watching this case with interest, If the EPA and it's unamerican unconstitutional compliance orders that as on now CANNOT be challenged in court are let to continue as usual then the era of private property is truly over. You could argue it already is but this is nails in the coffin.