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John R. Sand & Gravel Co. v. United States

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20160
Nos. No. 05-5033, (Fed. Cir., 08/09/2006)

The court vacates a lower court decision finding that the United States is not liable to a mining company for the alleged permanent physical taking of its leasehold interest in a 158-acre tract of land in Michigan. The takings claim arose after a landfill north of the company's plant was placed on the national priorities list and, pursuant to its authority under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began remedial action that included the construction of a security fence on the company's leasehold to restrict access to the contamination site. The mining company argues that the fence first constituted a permanent interference with its leasehold when the government realigned the fence in May 1998. But the court concludes that the takings claim accrued in February 1994 when EPA completed construction of the fence, thereby cutting off the mining company's access to its plant and stockpile areas. Thus, finding that the mining company failed to file its complaint within the six-year limitations period, the lower court lacked jurisdiction and the complaint should have been dismissed.