EPA Enforcement Orders Subject to New Judicial Scrutiny

April 16, 2012
Michael C. Gross
Association of Corporate Counsel's "Green-house Counsel"

In a case with potentially broad-reaching implications, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held in Sackett v. EPA that landowners may bring civil actions in federal court pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") to challenge EPA compliance orders stemming from alleged Clean Water Act ("CWA") violations. In so doing, the Court has dealt a potentially strong blow to EPA’s current enforcement protocols under a variety of environmental statutes and provided private parties with a meaningful mechanism to challenge compliance orders that previously did not exist. In-house lawyers whose work pertains to real estate or environmental matters should familiarize themselves with this landmark decision to understand the benefits and limits afforded by this new judicial access.

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