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Published Feb. 22, 2006

Keith Carabell, 78, has been fighting for two decades to build condominiums on his property on a northern fringe of metropolitan Detroit, a woodlot hemmed in by townhouses, gas stations, a McDonald's, Kmart and other emblems of creeping suburbia. Regulators say it's among the last forested wetlands in Macomb County and should remain intact for wildlife habitat and erosion control.

John Rapanos, 70, a Michigan real estate developer from Midland, became a poster child for property rights advocates when the federal government prosecuted him in 1995 for illegally filling wetlands. He had cleared vegetation and spread dirt on a 175-acre parcel to build a shopping center, ignoring cease-and-desist orders.