AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation won a significant victory against government overreach when a three-judge panel from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on behalf of landowners.

“This is a victory not only for Orchard Hill specifically but also for those who believe in limiting the ominous and bloated powers of federal government,” said Ted Hadzi-Antich, lead attorney on the case. “The unanimous decision of the Seventh Circuit panel in our favor is a refusal to let the Corp of Engineers regulate beyond what it can demonstrate as an actual interest.”

In the case of Orchard Hill Building Company v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, TPPF represented Orchard Hill Building Company, a small, family-owned business protesting federal government to regulate 13 acres of dry land as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, despite the fact the land is 11 miles away from any natural water source.

Robert Henneke, TPPF’s general counsel and director of the Center for the American Future said, “This is a significant victory for due process and property owners around the Country. When the government declares that your property is a federal wetland, you basically lose your right to use or develop that property in any meaningful way. Today, the Seventh Circuit agreed that before the government can take such dramatic steps, it has to produce actual real world evidence that developing the property will have substantial effects on federal waters.”

TPPF attorney Chance Weldon observed, “Private property doesn’t become a federal wetland just because a federal bureaucrat says so. Today’s opinion shows that federal agency decisions affecting property rights will receive meaningful review in the Seventh Circuit.”

For more information or to request an interview, please contact Alicia Pierce at apierce@texaspolicy.com or 512-472-2700.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin. The Texas Public Policy Foundation aims to advance a societal framework that effectively fosters human flourishing based upon cooperation and mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and speech.

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