The Environmental Protection Agency halted their home’s construction arbitrarily and unconstitutionally.
Michael and Chantell Sackett were building their dream home on less than two-thirds of an acre of land near Priest Lake in northern Idaho. They owned a small business nearby and had been looking forward to the day when they could stop renting — they purchased the property in 2005 for $23,000. In 2007, gravel was being laid in preparation for the pouring of a concrete foundation.
However, construction screeched to a halt upon the order of three agents of the Environmental Protection Agency. The property was a federally protected “wetlands,” the Sacketts were told, and they were served with a compliance order to immediately restore the property to its prior condition.
In fact, the EPA compliance order went even further. Relying on authority it claimed to have received under the Clean Water Act, EPA officials prescribed a set of conditions that went beyond the prior condition of the property when the Sacketts purchased it.
The Sacketts were ordered to plant “native scrub-shrub, broad-leaved deciduous wetlands plants and [have the property] seeded with native herbaceous plants.” Further, they were ordered to fence the property and monitor plant growth for three years.
All of this came as quite a shock to the Sacketts because their sliver of land was located in a platted residential subdivision with water and sewer hook-ups, and was bordered by roads on the front and rear and existing homes on either side.
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