Priest Lake Couple's Legal Battle Heads To Nation's Highest Cour - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Priest Lake Couple's Legal Battle Heads To Nation's Highest Court

PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - It's a classic David versus Goliath battle. The United States Supreme Court now says it will consider the case of a Priest Lake couple that's just hoping to build a home. But the Federal Government says you can build a home, just not where you bought your property. It's illegal.

It was in March of 2005 when the Sackett's thought their dream home had finally become a reality.

"Our goal was to be in by Christmas of 2007," Mike Sackett said.

Mike and his wife, Chantell, bought the land along Priest Lake. In early 2007 they were ready to build. But just as they were set to start construction the EPA put a stop to it.

"We asked them why and they said well we believe you're filling in wetlands," Chantell Sackett said.

The EPA then asked for their filling in wetlands permit. The Sackett's didn't have it because they don't think their property is on wetlands. In 2007 the Government then sent a compliance order that said if the couple built the home on that land they'd be fined $37,500 per day.

"In this country everybody has the right to their day in court," said Damien Schiff.

Schiff works for the Pacific Legal Foundation. It got involved in the legal battle in 2008. Now the case heads to the United States Supreme Court.

It's now been six years since they completed the purchase of what they thought was their dream home.

"If you would consider from that time till now we have over 40 million dollars in fines," Chantell Sackett said. "Who can do that, well the government can."

But the Sackett's say the government can't do that to them, and it shouldn't to anyone else as their fight with the feds now heads to Washington D.C. 

This web story was filed by KHQ Local News Reporter Alex Rozier

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