Monday, January 2, 2012
Mike Sackett says he considered walking away from his scenic property in Idaho when the Environmental Protection Agency threatened to impose daily fines of $30,000. The property was worth less than one day's penalty.
The EPA said Sackett and his wife, Chantell, illegally filled in most of their small lot with dirt and rocks before building a home. The EPA said the property is a wetlands that can't be disturbed without a permit. The Sacketts had none.
Instead of walking away, the Sacketts sued the EPA and now the Supreme Court is hearing their case, with implications beyond their lot near scenic Priest Lake.
The justices are considering how and when people can challenge the kind of order the Sacketts got. The EPA issues nearly 3,000 similar orders a year.