April 19, 2010

In response to numerous questions we have received, www.Enviroattorney.net is launching a new “Ask An Environmental Attorney” feature. If you have a question involving an issue of concern to you, please submit your question to us and we will try to respond.

The first question comes from a resident of Clay County in Western Minnesota who asks: “I just received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps wants to enter my land to conduct testing related to a planned flood diversion project. I am concerned about what the government is looking for on my private property and what they may find. May I deny the Corps the right to enter my property?”

Response: “First, we caution you that because we do not have an attorney client relationship with you, we cannot provide legal advice to you. Please see the disclaimers contained at the tab at the bottom of the page in this website.

Without actually seeing the letter you have received it is difficult to respond. Generally, government agencies do have the authority to enter upon land. The authority for access is usually contained within the statutes that permit the agency to carry it out its mission. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is charged with flood mitigation as one of its primary duties. We understand that the Corps is involved in investigating further measures including the construction of diversions to address flooding that has ravaged western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. An article describing the letters that are being sent to landowners and the proposed investigation of conditions found on those properties is found at:http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/158086/group/homepage/.

This is a major project which could affect many landowners in Minnesota and North Dakota. Depending on the route of the diversion, an individual landowner may face the prospect of having land that will be taken by the Corps of Engineers so that the diversion can be constructed. If you have questions about your rights you should contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in environmental and real estate law.

Hessian & McKasy lawyers counsel clients on a range of matters involving real estate, zoning, land use, title and environmental issues. We offer client legal service packages to address their needs.  To learn more, please visit: http://www.enviroattorney.net/sample-price-list.php.

The views here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy, P.A.

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