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Deltona Corp. v. Alexander

Citation: 12 ELR 20963
No. No. 81-5226, 682 F.2d 888/18 ERC 1009/(11th Cir., 08/09/1982) Aff'd

The court upholds a decision by the district court, 11 ELR 20235, that the Army Corps of Engineers properly denied a permit to dredge and fill wetlands on Marco Island, Florida. The court notes that the federal government is generally not subject to estoppel when it exercises its sovereign powers. Thus, it rejects appellant's claim that the Corps was estopped from denying the § 404 permits, because the permit process is within the Corps' sovereign power to protect the public interest in environmental quality. The fact that Corps officials had knowledge of appellant's plans and failed to object does not qualify as "affirmative misconduct," which would warrant an exception to the estoppel rule. Finally, the court rules that appellant is not entitled to a trial to establish the extent of the Corps' jurisdiction over its property since it has not exhausted its administrative remedies.

Counsel for Appellant
William L. Earl
Peoples, Earl, Moore & Blank
One Biscayne Tower, Suite 3636, 2 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami FL 33131
(305) 358-3000

Counsel for Appellees
James P. B. Tripp
Environmental Defense Fund, Inc.
444 Park Ave. S., New York NY 10016
(212) 686-4191

Fred R. Disheroon
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2306

Before TUTTLE, KRAVITCH and JOHNSON, Circuit Judges.