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.
Last Friday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a compliance order it previously had issued to Range Resources, and also dismissed an action the Agency had filed against Range in federal court. The EPA’s retreat appears to have been prompted by the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision against the Agency the week before in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency.
As we’ve discussed on the blog, in late 2010, homeowners who lived near drilling operations of Range Resources in Parker County, Texas, reported problems with their tap water, complaining that it was bubbling and even flammable. On December 7, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued an emergency order under the Safe Drinking Water Act to the company to take immediate action to protect the homeowners.
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.
My head hurts. Actually, my brain hurts. It hurts because I’ve been spending more time than a Texan should watching the opinions come out of the Supreme Court of the United States. The reason for this cranial exertion is the upcoming Supreme Court update at the UT Seminar on State and Federal Appeals in June. The cases are starting to establish a theme. The high court spends a good deal of its time drawing boundaries.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held on March 21 that an Idaho couple who had received a compliance order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allegedly illegal filling of wetlands could directly challenge the order in court, and did not have to wait until EPA filed a lawsuit to enforce the order in court before obtaining judicial review of its validity.
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s order directing a homeowner to remove fill material from an area that EPA alleged included regulated wetlands was final, ripe, and immediately reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In this blog post, we provide some background, discuss the issue of finality under the APA, and consider some implications of this decision, especially with respect to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
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.