Wetlands, Property Rights, and the Due Process Deficit in Environmental Law
Cato Supreme Court Review, p. 139, 2011-2012
29 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2012 Last revised: 26 Oct 2012
Date Written: September 5, 2012
In Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency a unanimous Supreme Court held that private landowners could seek judicial review of an Administrative Compliance Order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency alleging that their land contained wetlands subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. The Court’s decision rested on statutory grounds, but the same result may have been dictated by principles of due process. Under the CWA, federal regulators have asserted authority over waters and dry lands alike and sought to expand federal jurisdiction well beyond constitutional limits. Under existing regulations, landowners have little notice or certainty as to whose lands are covered, under what authority, or with what effect. As a consequence, federal wetlands regulations, as currently practiced, violates important due process principles.
Keywords: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, wetlands, property rights, judicial review, due process, Administrative Compliance Orders, environmental law, Clean Water Act
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation