McClung v. Paul, No. 14-3463 (8th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
The McClungs bought a vacation home next to Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas, and received a permit for a boat dock and stone steps on the public land between their property and the lake. The lake and shoreline area is federal property managed by the Army Corps of Engineers under 16 U.S.C. 460d. Before obtaining their permit, the McClungs met with Ranger Ivy in 2011 and were informed of permit regulations. The Corps later sanctioned the McClungs for violating those regulations, first for causing herbicide to be sprayed on public property and then for removing brush from the previously sprayed land, and revoked their permits. The district court determined that the sanctions were not arbitrary and did not violate due process. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. There was no constitutional due process violation because the McClungs did not have a property interest in their permits. No statute or regulation requires the Corps to authorize private use of publicly owned shorelines. Shoreline use permits "do not convey any real estate or personal property rights or exclusive use rights," 36 C.F.R. 327.30(d)(5), and the Corps has broad discretion to manage and regulate water resources and to revoke permits as the public interest requires.