Speaking at the Cato Institute’s launch of a new book on property rights (Timothy & Cristina Sandefur, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in the 21st Century) on February 9, Professor Robert Percival argued that environmental law actually protects property rights rather than infringing on them. He disputed the book’s assertion that there is a “national property rights crisis” in the United States in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London where the court decided what property qualifies as a"public use" within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Percival defended the Environmental Protection Agency's “waters of the U.S.” rule for determining what properties are wetlands subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. He noted that the rule clarifies an area of law that is hopelessly confused in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Rapanos v. United States.
Percival also condemned the authors’ call for overruling the Supreme Court’s famous snail darter decision (TVA v. Hill) where the Court upheld the new Endangered Species Act.
Watch Percival's portion of the forum at the 30 minute mark: