FactCheck.org: Romney Misspoke About Idaho Couple's Wetland Woes

Romney blamed Obama Administration but EPA orders came under Bush's watch.


FactCheck.org says that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney misfired when he took aim at Barack Obama while talking about an Idaho couple's battle with the Environmental Protection Agency. Romney was speaking before the National Rifle Association on April 13, when he brought up the story of Mike and Chantell Sackett of north Idaho and their challenge to an EPA compliance order.

Here's what Romney said:

"They run a small business in Idaho. They saved enough money to buy a piece of property and build a home. But days after they broke ground, an EPA regulator told them to stop digging. The EPA said they were building on a wetland. But the Sackett’s property isn’t on the wetlands register. It sits in a residential area. Nevertheless, the EPA wouldn’t even let them appeal the decision. Fortunately, the Constitution confronted the Obama administration: The Supreme Court ruled unanimously for the Sacketts and against the Obama EPA."

But Romney's own party has quite a few fingerprints on the compliance orders. First off, the initial EPA action was taken in 2007, under the George W. Bush administration. Additionally, the federal judge who issued the order, Edward Lodge, was recommended by Idaho Republican Sen. James McClure and formally nominated by George H.W. Bush.

FactCheck.org said it wasn't offering any judgments about the proper reach of wetlands regulations, or what the EPA did in this chase, "but this wasn't solely an 'Obama EPA' battle, as Romney said. It was an enforcement action initiated by the EPA under the Bush administration, and a legal dispute over a ruling made by a Republican-appointed federal judge during the Bush administration."