The U.S. Supreme Court gave landowners a new avenue to challenge some federal regulatory decisions affecting their property rights, in a case that three conservative justices said raised troubling questions about government overreach.
The 8-0 ruling on Tuesday said that landowners can go straight to court after federal regulators decide that a piece of property containing wetlands is covered by the Clean Water Act. The ruling was a blow to the Obama administration and a victory for property-rights activists, potentially streamlining the approval process for companies seeking to develop wetlands.
The ruling came in a dispute over a proposed peat-mining operation in Minnesota. The property owners and Hawkes Co., are fighting a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the land is subject to federal regulation.
The Obama administration said a landowner can’t sue until a permit application is rejected or the owner faces a federal enforcement action.