"Justice Was Blind To Some Facts in Idaho Wetlands Case"

The nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court did not have all the facts before them when they decided the recent case of Sackett v. EPA, which limited EPA's authority over wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

"When the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against U.S. EPA last week in a Clean Water Act case, it was widely characterized as a victory for courageous underdogs against a bureaucratic behemoth.

The winners were Mike and Chantell Sackett, a likable couple from Priest Lake, Idaho, who just wanted to build a house on a plot of land near the scenic waterfront.

The loser was heavy-handed EPA, which -- as Justice Samuel Alito put in his concurring opinion -- "would have put the property rights of ordinary Americans entirely at the mercy" of Washington bureaucrats.

Now the Sacketts have a chance to contest in court EPA's contention that their 0.63-acre lot is a wetland, and the agency's authority to force compliance with the Clean Water Act with minimum fuss has been weakened.

But -- as several legal experts, including former EPA staff, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have pointed out -- there is more to the Sacketts' story than meets the eye."

Lawrence Hurley reports for Greenwire March 29, 2012.

Source: Greenwire, 03/30/2012