Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Supreme Court rules government may be liable for flooding
The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the federal government may be required to pay damages when it releases water from a dam that causes temporary flooding for a property owner downstream. The case addressed the politically charged issue of when government activity that affects private property constitutes a "taking" that requires payment to a landowner. Under the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the government must pay owners of private property that it takes for public purposes. Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said temporary flooding of private land by the government is "not categorically exempt" from liability under the 5th Amendment's Takings Clause. There is "no solid grounding in precedent for setting flooding apart from all other government intrusions on property," Ginsburg wrote. The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, which operated the 23,000-acre Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area, had complained about water releases by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the Clearwater Dam in Missouri, about 115 miles upstream. It claimed that releases between 1993 and 1998 led to six years of flooding, causing the death or weakening of nearly 18 million board feet of timber and making it harder to operate...more