Scalia Calls EPA 'High-Handed' In Northwest Property Rights Case

Originally published on January 9, 2012 2:47 pm

WASHINGTON, DC - United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia criticises the E-P-A for what he calls "high-handedness." His comments came during oral arguments Monday in the case of Sackett versus the Environmental Protection Agency.

The case involves a north Idaho couple, barred from building a home because the EPA has classified their property as a protected wetland. The landowners contend they've been denied due process.

For Chantell and Mike Sackett, this day was the culmination of four years in limbo.

"What we've had to endure and go through with a government agency that has come in and turned our life upside down — I'm glad the Supreme Court took the case," Chantell Sackett says. "I'm glad they have the chance to look and see what the agency's doing."

"We were encouraged in the fact that they asked a lot of good questions that need to be questioned about the accountability of the EPA," adds her husband Mike. "So yeah, I feel encouraged."

The government says the agency has acted within the authority granted by Congress under the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups say a ruling in the Sacketts' favor could hamstring federal regulators in their efforts to enforce clean water protections.

On the Web:

Previous coverage:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=141887844

Sackett v EPA:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=/docketfiles/10-1062.htm

Sackett v EPA case information:

http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/sackett-et-vir-v-environmental-protection-agency-et-al/

2007 EPA press release on Sackett property:

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/9301d59d2c957451852573a9006365cb?OpenDocument

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