By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider limiting the scope of a landmark federal environmental law as it took up for the second time an Idaho couple’s bid to build on property the federal government has deemed a protected wetland.
The justices will hear an appeal by Chantell Sackett and her husband Mike Sackett, who own property in Priest Lake, Idaho where they hoped to build a home, of a lower court ruling favoring the government.
The court will consider what test courts should use to determine what constitute “waters of the United States” under the landmark 1972 Clean Water Act, the answer to which determines whether the property is subject to regulation, requiring owners to obtain permits in order to carry out construction.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 determined that the Sacketts’ land was part of a wetland and that they were required to obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act before beginning construction, which they had failed to do.
There has been lengthy litigation and political debates over how much of a connection with a waterway a property must have in order to require a permit, with the Supreme Court issuing a ruling in 2006 that led to further uncertainty.
The justices are expected to hear the case in their next term, which begins in October and ends in June 2023.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)