Your Rights Under Regulatory Law

Friday, December 16th, 2011

You really don’t have any.

The case started four years ago when a married couple named Mike and Chantell Sackett received an EPA compliance order instructing them to stop construction on what was supposed to be their dream home near Priest Lake, Idaho. The government claimed their .63-acre lot was a federally-protected wetland, but that was news to the Sacketts, who had procured all the necessary local permits. Their lot, which is bordered by two roads and several other residential lots, was in fact zoned for residential use.

The Sacketts contend that the compliance order was issued erroneously and they would like the opportunity to make their case in court. Yet according to the terms of the Clean Water Act, they may not challenge the order until the EPA first seeks judicial enforcement of it, a process that could take years. In the meantime, the Sacketts risk $32,500 in fines per day if they fail to comply. And complying doesn’t just mean they have to stop building; they must also return the lot to its original condition at their own expense.

Moreover, if they did eventually prevail under the current law, the Sacketts would then need to start construction all over again. By that point they would have paid all of the necessary compliance costs plus double many of their original building expenses. And who knows how much time would have been lost. Where’s the due process in that? The Sacketts understandably want the right to challenge the government’s actions now, not after it’s become too late or too expensive for them to put their property to its intended use.

For its part, the EPA argues that old-fashioned judicial review would simply get in the way. As the agency states in the brief it submitted to the Supreme Court, “A rule that broadly authorized immediate judicial review of such agency communications would ultimately disserve the interests of both the government and regulated parties, by discouraging interactive processes that can obviate the need for judicial action.”

Of course, the whole point of due process is that people sometimes do have “the need for judicial action” against overreaching government officials. Why should those people have to give up that right to the EPA? More to the point, why should the Supreme Court allow it to happen?

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24 Responses to “Your Rights Under Regulatory Law”

  1. #1 |  Frank Hummel | 

    I don’t usually fall for conspiracy theories, but in this case did anyone check whether some big shot is interested in that land and is using the EPA to get the Sacketts out of there?

  2. #2 |  Difster | 

    First of all, there should be no EPA. The Constitution doesn’t grant the Federal government the power to have an EPA.

    Even so, what gives the EPA the right to determine what is wet lands except on FEDERAL property? Nothing! Let them make recommendations but it should have no regulatory power within the states.

    There are so many outrages that they cease to be outrageous.

  3. #3 |  CyniCAl | 

    Yea! Two more libertarians!

  4. #4 |  CyniCAl | 

    If they fight the EPA hard enough, maybe the administration can say they’re terrorists and detain them indefinitely.

  5. #5 |  claude | 

    “The Constitution doesn’t grant the Federal government the power to have an EPA.”

    Oh yes there should.

    “Even so, what gives the EPA the right to determine what is wet lands except on FEDERAL property? Nothing! Let them make recommendations but it should have no regulatory power within the states.”

    When pollution learns to stop at state borders, perhaps.

  6. #6 |  Z | 

    According to Kelo, they don’t have rights. Btw, this is a natural consequence of allowing the rights of
    criminals and immigrants and gays to be curtailed.
    Schaudenfreud is fun until it happens to you.

  7. #7 |  BamBam | 

    Radley, you can call this “The Second Set of Books” AKA “regulatory law” AKA “laws and policies that have force of law because no one is allowed to challenge the process by which this policy is established and enacted”.

  8. #8 |  Joshua | 

    I’m sorry what part of “we can send the military to your house to capture you and lock you in a secret prison for the rest of your life” don’t the Sacketts understand? Judicial review? Hah.

  9. #9 |  Difster | 

    Z – You have it backwards. The curtailing of rights in general is because of a lack of understanding and/or respect for the Constitution. No one’s rights are safe.

    I don’t see how gays rights have been curtailed though. Do explain that one. Though I don’t see why anyone should have a particular set of rights based on who they are having sex with.

  10. #10 |  Pinandpuller | 

    A gay guy has the same right to marry a woman as I do.

  11. #11 |  Omar | 

    I don’t see how gays rights have been curtailed though. Do explain that one.

    Homosexuality used to be illegal in these states. Sodomy laws, discrimination, sex toy bans, etc. Just because things are getting better for teh geh today dosen’t mean their rights haven’t been curtailed in the past.

    Z seems to be making a parallel between the lost rights of property owners and other groups on the receiving end of oppression. As Trivial or brutal the different cases may be, oppression always comes from a lack of basic respect for the rights of others.

    Z is reminding you to remember to always be offended at legal injustice.

    Schaudenfreud is fun until it happens to you.

  12. #12 |  Goober | 

    I’m not so sure I wouldn’t build the sonofabitch and tell them to come get me. There is a line that has to be drawn at some time, and I’m afraid that a government organization effectively dictating to me what I can do with my private property using liens and rules that weren’t on the title when I bought the place would cross that line. Let ’em come.

    The EPA doesn’t have the nuts to create a Ruby Ridge situation over a mistaken property classification (BTW, I’ve been to the property in question and i assure you that the classification is in error. This is not a wetland. If it is, then the houses on either side of the lot are all built on the same wetland – is is very surprisingly un-wet. So is the road. Both of them). So I’d be tempted to just tell them, al’la Ken at Popehat, to snort my taint and be done with it.

  13. #13 |  BamBam | 

    In most cases one can replace the word RIGHT with PRIVILEGE. Once you understand that you owe your existence to The State (as organized and enforced by OTHER HUMANS, meaning you are a lower class/subservient slave), then you will understand that matters are operating as expected.

    There is no such thing as private property if you have property taxes. You are simply the renter from The State of said property.

  14. #14 |  the innominate one | 

    Goober – wetlands, both in a biological sense and a legal sense, are not necessarily inundated with water 100% of the time. that said, the EPA shouldn’t be allowed to do want it wants without judicial review.

  15. #15 |  Troy | 

    The whole problem started when SCOTUS allowed Congress and the Executive to delegate their authority. The whole fucking point of the constitution is to delegate authority. And once the fucking legal wizards have determined, using the grand intellectual force of “legal reasoning”, that the constitution can delegate what was not delegated, the story is over. I mean fuck, the whole point of the constitution is to say, “dude, only YOU can do these list of things.” To which the courts have interpreted, “dude, Anyone can exercise these powers, and any others and we won’ stop them.”

  16. #16 |  Matt | 

    The pursuit of coercive power over others will someday be universally recognized as a symptom of profound mental illness.
    — L. Neil Smith,

    That day can’t arrive soon enough.

  17. #17 |  CyniCAl | 

    “Once you understand that you owe your existence to The State…”

    This is truer than you think BamBam. Because of the multiplying effect that State policies have on population, there are billions of people on Earth that would not have been born if not for State interference in economics, therefore those people actually do owe their existence to the State.

    While I believe that Earth can support a human population of 7 billion, and possibly more, whether that number of people is healthy for the human race is another question. In this mechanized age, I don’t see the need for that many people. If I see it, I’m willing to bet that TPTB can see it too and have for quite some time.

    My ultimate point is that the State, by adjusting its policies, can determine human population at will, by both addition and subtraction. In this modern era, unless you can find some Galt’s Gulch (good luck!), just about all of us (except maybe the 0.01%) exist at the whim of the State.

  18. #18 |  StrangeOne | 

    So the EPA has to seek judicial enforcement before anyone is required by law to actually stop? Build anyways. I think it would be fun for the feds to argue in court that the .63 acre lot in a suburb is a protected wetland, but the other houses, roads, and structures aren’t. Let the fines rack up. Years later they can let the EPA explain to a judge how building a house did 2 million dollars in damage to a non-existent wetland.

    I know this sounds naive, but lets be honest a callous and unaccountable government agency has decided to fuck them. They aren’t getting out of this easy. The EPA through sheer government arrogance is beyond a sensible response. The only prayer these people have is to let the EPA be soooooo stupid that the first judge who gets to see this will throw the whole damn thing out. By the EPA’s own admission that could take years. In the meantime the house is built and they live in it, maybe, hopefully.

  19. #19 |  Ed | 

    The so called “EPA” isn’t doing anything. An individual is and that individual needs to be dealt with one way or another. Where is the mafia when you need them?

  20. #20 |  Joe in Missouri | 

    The EPA is a rogue criminal organization that is no where authorized in the Constitution to exists much less to write law. The word treasonous comes to mind when I think of the EPA that stole the only land that I have even owned. The gallows would be too good for these traitors to every concept of liberty.

  21. #21 |  Jean | 

    This is why we need a libertarian-constitution recognizing president in this
    upcoming election. Ron Paul is that man and he plans on abolishing the EPA. Which can’t happen to soon. Chances are if we were to check the Federal Register there is no regulation with the force and effect of law for this agency. Just a bunch of criminals stealing from the little guy for the benefit of the wealthy. Ron Paul may not, on his own be able to correct the situation but with the bully pulpit he can put pressure on the sellouts in congress to get rid of this criminal agency. This is one agency he has
    said he would eliminate. Vote for Ron Paul

  22. #22 |  Goober | 

    Ron Paul talks tough at every turn, but if you actually look at his legislative accomplishments, even given his posts on some important comissions, he hasn’t accomplished much of anything. i doubt very much him being elected will change anything.

  23. #23 |  You really don’t have any « Authentically Wired | 

    […] Your Rights Under Regulatory Law […]

  24. #24 |  Ron Paul 2012! | 

    I read a short little book called “Adventures in Legal Land” a couple of years ago when I was battling my HOA. I won, and do not pay any fees. It is all about having the right mindset – not knowing the usurper’s rules, regulations, and ordinances per se.