Saturday, June 02, 2012

Sackett v. EPA: GOP Senators Inquiring

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Clean Water Act compliance orders are subject to judicial review before enforcement. In Sackett v. EPA, a couple was denied the right to a hearing by EPA to petition a ruling that they had violated the Clean Water Act. The court ruled that the Sacketts did have the right to the hearing and that EPA's compliance orders may be challenged in a civil action brought under the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Congressional Research Service recently found that EPA issues more than 1,000 administrative compliance orders annually. The senators' letter said they don’t believe the Sacketts' case was an isolated incident.

A group of 16 Republican senators recently demanded an explanation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on how its practices will change after a recent Supreme Court ruling on the Clean Water Act. The want EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to respond to a comment by the water enforcement division that said the court’s decision on Sackett v. EPA will have little effect on the agency and that, “internally, it’s same old, same old.”  The senattors believe the court’s decision points toward a broader concern: that EPA should not use its enforcement authority to intimidate citizens into compliance. (The Hill, 6/1/2012)

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