NPR

Environmentalists Rejoice: Court Says Land Regulation Doesn't Go 'Too Far'

The court upheld a regulation preventing a Wisconsin family from developing part of their land, denying them government compensation. The decision is a huge win for regulators and environmentalists.
The confluence of the St. Croix, top, and Mississippi Rivers, bottom, is seen from the air on May 31, 2012. / KAREN BLEIER / Getty Images

In a major property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a decisive victory to state and local governments and environmental groups.

By a 5-to-3 vote, the justices made it much harder for property owners to get compensation from the government when zoning regulations restrict the use of just part of landowners' property.

The Constitution bars the taking of private property by the government without just compensation. The Supreme Court, for a century, has said that when the government goes "too far" in regulating property — so as to make that property

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