Michael and Chantell Sackett were building their dream home on less than two-thirds of an acre of land near Priest Lake in northern Idaho. They owned a small business nearby and had been looking forward to the day when they could stop renting — they purchased the property in 2005 for $23,000. In 2007, gravel was being laid in preparation for the pouring of a concrete foundation.

However, construction screeched to a halt upon the order of three agents of the Environmental Protection Agency. The property was a federally protected “wetlands,” the Sacketts were told, and they were served with a compliance order to immediately restore the property to its prior condition.

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