Every now and then, the Supreme Court decides to review one of the thousands of cases sent its way each year, and even experienced lawyers wonder why. And then, when a usually deeply divided Court renders a unanimous decision, the case becomes even more intriguing.
In a rare unanimous decision issued on March 21, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that property owners and other regulated parties can challenge administrative compliance orders issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The case involves the attempt a pair of Idaho landowners to challenge an EPA compliance order requiring them to take remedial action in response to alleged wetlands violations or face civil penalties of $75,000 per day.
The United States Supreme Court recently held that an enforcement order issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) under the Clean Water Act (the “Act”) constituted “final agency action” and that the Act did not preclude judicial review of the order. (Sackett v. EPA, No. 10-1062 (U.S. March 21, 2012).
Last week the United States Supreme Court handed a decisive win to property owners battling to protect their due process rights against baseless environmental regulation. In Sackett v. EPA, the Sacketts were denied their due process rights when they attempted to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) determination that the Sackett property was encumbered with wetlands. Download Sackett v. EPA.
On March 20, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the much anticipated decision in Sackett v. EPA. The Court rejected U.S. EPA’s claims that its administrative enforcement orders were not subject to pre-enforcement review. The Court’s decision provides a new tool to challenge EPA administrative compliance orders.
LXBN TV: The Reasoning and Impact of the Supreme Court’s Ruling in Sackett V. EPA—Foley Hoag’s Robert Sanoff
As we touched in a previous episode of LXBN TV, and have seen numerous LXBN authors explain, Sackett v. EPA is a case that could have a very big impact on the EPA’s enforcement authority. Earlier this week the court ruled unanimously against the EPA; in plain terms, this means that EPA must allow judicial review of enforcement orders issued pursuant to its authority under the Clean Water Act. But what remains to be seen is what impact this will have on the agency’s authority under other acts.
In June of this year, one of my partners Greg Young and I will be speaking at the AGC Environmental Conference in Washington, DC. Our panel discussion will focus on the dangerous intersections between construction law and environmental law. One of those crossroads is the applicability of the Clean Water Act to construction projects.
With stunning alacrity, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion [PDF] today in Sackett v. EPA (roughly two months since oral argument), resolutely and unanimously striking down EPA’s position that the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not provide pre-enforcement judicial review of compliance orders. This blog has covered the Sackett case and explored the potential ramifications for EPA’s pursuit of regulatory authority over hydraulic fracturing.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously (with two concurring decisions) decided Sackett v. EPA – a case that everyone in the environmental law business has been anxiously awaiting. The issue concerns whether a USEPA unilateral compliance order issued under the Clean Water Act was subject to judicial review. USEPA had issued the Sacketts a compliance order asserting the Sacketts had illegally filled jurisdictional wetlands.
Oral arguments took place last week in Sackett v. EPA, a Supreme Court case that could have a major impact on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority. If the EPA loses the case, in which an Idaho couple is challenging an EPA order identifying their land as “protected wetlands” and were halted from building a house on the property, it could potentially lose its ability to issue enforcement orders under the Clean Water Act without those orders being subject to judicial review. What remains to be seen—besides the ruling, of course—is if a decision against the EPA would be limited only to the Clean Water Act, or if it’s order authority under other statutes would be affected as well.
To discuss this case, what it means and its impact going forward, we bring in Seth Jaffe, Coordinator of the Environmental Practice Group at Foley Hoag and author on the firm’s Law & The Environment—one of the LexBlog Network’s best and most established environmental law publications.