Sackett v. EPA
In January, the Court will hear argument in Sackett v. EPA, No. 10-1062, a case involving governmental enforcement of federal environmental laws against private property owners. The specific questions presented concern the EPA’s use of so-called “administrative compliance orders,” which assert that the property owner is in violation of an environmental law provision and demands that the owner bring itself into compliance, and remedy the effects of the violation, within a certain time. The Court will decide whether the property owner can go to court to challenge the order or if it may only contest the EPA’s factual and legal assertions later, when the EPA sues the property owner civilly or criminally.
The case in itself warrants discussion, but it also provides the Community an opportunity to discuss broader questions regarding the Court’s approach to property rights and how it resolves potential conflict between property rights and environmental protection.