While researching Harrington's case, I kept running across comments comparing him to the Sackett's of Idaho, and their victory over the EPA last January. Article after article kept rehashing how the EPA swooped in on this family, stopped them from building their dream home, and then refused to negotiate with them. If you read the conservative press, it was a clear cut case of a heavy handed government run amuck squashing the little guy with no avenue of recourse. it's our way or the highway. We don't care if you just bought that land in a development. It's a wetland. You can't build on it. Here's a citation. Fix it or face a fine.
How scary is that? Pretty damn scary.
So, how did a little land use case in Idaho get all the way to the SCOTUS? Great question - they had help from a lot of interested parties. And when you read the background to their dilemma, you get the hint that this did not happen out of thin air and without provocation. There was a reason Mr. Sackett was filling in the property before he started construction, and it wasn't because they didn't like the landscaping. Like Mr. Harrington, they refused to obtain all the permits required, and when offered an opportunity to apply retroactively, they declined. They went into this eyes open, and played dumb.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, their case, aided by large companies most affected by EPA decisions, may have hamstrung compliance orders, and may allow unabated reckless actions with no opportunity for review.Link