Yesterday the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGAFC) ended a four year court battle against the federal government, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in AGAFC’s favor. AGAFC claimed that for roughly seven years, temporary flooding of the Black River Wildlife Management Area, a 23,000-acre wildlife preserve, caused hardwood damage. The flooding was from a Missouri dam controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps argued that by releasing the water, it was acting in the common good, to provide relief to farmers, and it should not be forced to investigate the impact of this action on every downstream property-owner.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with an earlier federal court that had awarded AGAFC $5.8 million in damages, to cover lost timber and reforestation charges. Both the lower court and the Supreme Court decided the AGAFC is protected under the Fifth Amendment, which states that private property shouldn’t be taken for public use without just compensation. This judgment remanded the decision of a federal appeals court, which reversed the original ruling.