Posthaste Facts on the Environment #16

The Muddy Shoe Test Proves a Wetland, Bureaucrat Says

Produced 1996

Landowner Beware! According to Army Corps of Engineers, if your shoes get muddy after a walk, your property may be designated a wetland.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used my shoes to delineate my land as 'navigable waters of the U.S.,'" testified Mrs. Nan Robbins before the U.S. Congress. All this Tennessee woman wanted was to provide for her husband -- who has been totally disabled for over 11 years -- by selling off a 39 acre parcel of the family's land. In the Spring of 1994, Mrs. Robbins entered into a contract to sell the land to a mobile home sales operation for $351,000. But after she took a walk on her property with a Corps inspector, she was told by the agent that her land was a wetland -- worthless for development, but environmentally priceless.

"I asked my son to be with me when we met [a second time]," said Nan Robbins. "And when my son asked how they checked the hydrology the bureaucrat said -- without blinking an eye -- 'by your mother's shoes,' presumably referring to the mud on my shoes after it rained." The Robbins family is frustrated for good reason. "While commercial development booms around us, we are sitting on a 39-acre worthless parcel," said Mrs. Robbins.

Source: Mrs. Nan Robbins, April 24, 1996


Posthaste Facts on the Environment #16, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. For more information about Posthaste #16 contact Bob Adams at 202/543-4110 or [email protected]

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