Oyster Takings Claims

Campo v. United States, No. 20-44, 2024 WL 504316 (Fed. Cl. Feb. 9, 2024).

Campo v. United States, 157 Fed. Cl. 584 (2021)

[For a good discussion of the Louisiana law on property interests in oyster leases, see: John J. Costonis, Avenal v. State: Takings and Damagings in Louisiana, 65 La. L. Rev. (2005)]

Just handed down by the Court of Federal Claims. Denial of SJ on plaintiffs’ claims that the Corps took their property by operating the Bonne Carre spillway. The state SC kicked the same type of claims some years ago because they only lease the land from the state and the lease makes it clear that they do not have a continuing property interest.

“In his 1690 Second Treatise of Government, John Locke famously noted “the labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.” Over 300 years later, this case raises the unique legal issue of whether Louisiana oyster growers may claim property rights in the fruits of their labor-oysters.

Plaintiff oyster farmers allege the United States deprived them of use, occupancy and enjoyment of their personal oyster stock and real property (oyster beds and reefs). The farmers allege the government actions resulted in a permanent taking of their property for a public use without payment of just compensation in violation of the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution. The government admits when plaintiffs sell oysters they are “paid for the fruits of [their] effort,” and plaintiffs may assert rights to exclude, destroy, use, possess, recover for larceny, alienate, sue third parties for damages, and enjoy the fruits of selling oysters. Despite acknowledging those rights, the government moves to dismiss the portion of plaintiffs’ claim alleging a taking of the oysters; the government argues plaintiff farmers lack a compensable property right in the oysters. For myriad reasons detailed infra, under Louisiana precedent, federal common law, and Lockean labor theory, plaintiffs undoubtedly have compensable property rights in their oysters. Accordingly, the Court DENIES the government’s motion to dismiss in part pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Court of Federal Claims.”


BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

This is a climate case based on public nuisance and misrepresentation. Defendants removed to federal court under the federal officer statute and the Circuit sent it back. Defendants appealed to the USSC, which accepted cert. and rule that when the federal officer statute was triggered, the appeals court had a duty to remand to consider all grounds for removal.

Lower court

Scotus Blog Docket

Scotus Blog – Case preview: Justices to consider procedural issue in major climate-change lawsuit



Mitigation Banking and Offsets – Bad Science and Failed Policy

Office, U.S.G.A., on Transportation, U.S.C.H.C. & Infrastructure, 2005. Wetlands Protection: Corps of Engineers Does Not Have an Effective Oversight Approach to Ensure that Compensatory Mitigation is Occurring: Report to the Ranking Democratic Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives, GAO.

Braun, K.N. & Theuerkauf, E.J., 2021. The role of short-term and long-term water level and wave variability in coastal carbon budgets. Iscience, 24(5), p.102382.

Burgin, S., 2010. “Mitigation banks” for wetland conservation: a major success or an unmitigated disaster? Wetlands ecology and management, 18(1), pp.49–55.

Newling, C.J., Landin, M.C. & others, 1985. Long-term monitoring of habitat development at upland and wetland dredged material disposal sites, 1974-1982.

Kusler, J. & Kentula, M., 1989. Wetland creation and restoration: the status of the science. v. 1. Regional reviews-v. 2. Perspectives. EPA-600/3-(USA). no. 89/038a-b.

Alagood, R.K., 2016. The Mythology of Mitigation Banking. Environmental Law Reporter, 46, pp.10200–10207.

Turner, R.E., Redmond, A.M. & Zedler, J.B., 2001. Count it by acre or function—mitigation adds up to net loss of wetlands. National Wetlands Newsletter, 23(6), pp.5–6.

Boyer, M.E., 1997. The effect of long-term marsh management on land-loss rates in coastal Louisiana. Environmental Management, 21(1), pp.97–104.



Resources – Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) DRAFT Environmental Impact Statement

News – The final EIS is available: https://www.nola.com/news/environment/article_65b9af6e-3837-11ed-903e-a786ab658b0e.html

See also: River Diversion Research Articles

The official site: Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) DRAFT Environmental Impact Statement Released for Public Review and Comment

Note – in order to make it more difficult for reporters and others to use the files, they are published with all of the security settings enabled so that they can only be printed. You cannot copy text out of the files for articles or analysis without loading them into a PDF manager such as Qiqqa.

I have collected all of the Draft EIS documents and indexed them with Acrobat. You can download the collection as a zip file here:


The file is about 688 megs. Unzip this into a subdirectory. You will get the EIS files plus the index files.  One file is named MBSD Index.pdx If you open this file in Acrobat or Acrobat reader, it allows you to search all of the files and then page through them to see the search terms in context.

Environmental Justice Issues

US Army Corps of Engineers – 2021 – Draft EIS for the Proposed MBSD Project- Chapter 4 – Environmental Consequences

The environmental justice review starts at p. 615

McCall, Grant S., and Russell D. Greaves. “Creating a Diversion: Why the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) Project Is Unpopular Among Coastal Communities in Southeast Louisiana.” Marine Technology Society Journal 56.3 (2022): 67-83.

Reference Documents

Petition Requesting That The Federal Emergency Management Agency Amend Its Regulations Implementing the National Flood Insurance Program

Petition Requesting That The Federal Emergency Management Agency Amend Its Regulations Implementing the National Flood Insurance Program

I. Introduction

Flooding poses a significant threat to life and property and is the most common natural hazard in the United States. Since 1973, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has paid more than $69 billion in flood insurance claims, half of which have occurred in the last 12 years. Further, the risk of flooding is increasing due to climate change impacts, like sea level rise and changing precipitation patterns, and increased development in the nation’s floodplains. As atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise, flood risk will continue to increase, presenting grave challenges to our nation’s cities, towns, and neighborhoods when floods strike.

NASA Science Briefs – The Great Ice Meltdown and Rising Seas: Lessons for Tomorrow

The Great Ice Meltdown and Rising Seas: Lessons for Tomorrow

As accumulating atmospheric greenhouse gases lead to further climate warming, sea level rise will accelerate, endangering coastal communities by more frequent flooding, exacerbated beach erosion, and saltwater penetration into streams and aquifers. Twentieth century global sea level rise has averaged 1.7 mm/yr, increasing to around 3 mm/yr since 1993, as measured by TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellite altimetry. Current trends exceed those of the last few millennia by 1 to 2 mm/yr, based on saltmarsh data from many localities.

Fake news and disinformation

The Bad News Game

This is a learning tool on how to build effective fake news. The objective is to teach critical thinking about fake news and disinformation.

The Bad News Primer on Dis/Misinformation

The Bad News Game (Click on Play the Game, then click on one of the responses to get started.)

National Security Issues

NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence: Digital Hydra: Security Implications of False Information Online (2017)



Drowned Worlds – Doggerland, the Neolithic Bridge between Britain and Europe

During the last glacial maximum, sea level was around 600 feet lower than today. Southeast Britain was connected to Europe by a land bridge called Doggerland, which is derived from the Dogger Banks which the name of the submerged area. Northern and western Britain was covered by an ice sheet at this time. Doggerland provided a habitat for neolithic tribes migrating from the ice sheet. It was covered with forests and wetlands and was likely a prime area for hunting and gathering. About 8,150 years ago, when most of Doggerland had been inundated by the melting of the ice cap, there was a massive tsunami caused by the collapses of parts of the continental shelf off the coast of Norway. The tsunami was estimated to be 25 meters (82 feet) high. It would have devastated British coastal areas and much of the remaining area of Doggerland. There is evidence that some areas of Doggerland, which would have been islands at the time, were high enough to be refuges for the neolithic peoples in the area. These refugees may have been critical in the resettlement of Britain as sea level stabilized and the ice sheet disappeared.