The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) recently filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) case, which will likely be argued in January 2012. Dustin Van Liew, PLC executive director and NCBA director of federal lands, said Sackett v. EPA could set a dangerous precedent allowing EPA and other federal agencies to make jurisdictional determinations that are not judicially or administratively reviewable.

In 2005, Chantell and Michael Sackett purchased a plot of land, less than one acre in size, to build a home. However, in 2007, after filling in half the lot with gravel in preparation for construction, EPA issued the Sacketts an “Administrative Compliance Order” (ACO), alleging the land was a wetland subject to Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction and ordered the Sacketts to restore the land to its original condition or face nearly $50,000 in fines per day. The Sackett family appealed for a hearing on their alleged violation but was denied by EPA and the federal court.