PFAS Contamination of Agricultural Land: Understanding Federal Takings Claims

PFAS Contamination and Federal Takings Claims

The federal government may owe commercial farm or ranch owners money for PFAS contamination if their land is located near a military base. PFAS is a toxic chemical used in a wide variety of applications. It’s called a forever chemical because it’s nearly impossible to remove once it gets into the soil and water.

If PFAS from a nearby military base has contaminated your agricultural land to the point where it’s lost value, you may be able to file a “federal takings claim.” According to the 5th Amendment, the federal government may be required to pay you compensation for the lost use of your property.

What are PFAS or Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances?

PFAS is the common abbreviation for a group of chemicals called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These chemicals are used to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFAS has a wide variety of applications on military bases, from solvents to fire fighting foam.

Federal Takings Claims from PFAS Contamination: What You Need to Know

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is also known as the “Just Compensation Clause” and it says private owners must be paid for their property in a government taking. 

A “taking” is another way of describing when the government “takes” land or property from a private owner, similar to eminent domain. But in the case of PFAS contamination, a federal taking is also when the government does something to “take away” the profitable use of your land.

Our attorneys represent agricultural land owners located near military PFAS contamination plumes across the country who are owed just compensation from the government.

Representing You in a Federal Takings Claim for PFAS Contamination

Takings claims are different from the commercials you see on TV about cancer-causing PFAS in drinking water. Federal takings claims do not involve injuries or liability. 

Takings lawsuits are against the federal government for money lost because of something the government did to impact your property and business. These claims or lawsuits are filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims, or the CFC.  

The CFC is a specialized court of national jurisdiction that hears cases for money claims against the federal government. The CFC has jurisdiction over taking of private property, government contract claims, tax issues, and claims related to military personnel and veterans. The attorneys at mctlaw can represent you in a PFAS related federal takings case anywhere in the country. 

How does PFAS get into the Ground Near Military Bases?

The military has knowingly used toxic PFAS foam during firefighting training exercises and during actual fires on military bases since the 1970’s. The PFAS foams seep into the ground, contaminating the soil and groundwater on the base and the toxic plumes can spread onto nearby land. 

Other sources of PFAS contamination on military bases include:

  • Runoff from roads and parking lots that are treated with PFAS-containing de-icing agents
  • Leaks from underground storage tanks that contain PFAS-containing fluids
  • Improper disposal of PFAS-containing products

What is the Impact of Military PFAS Contamination on Agricultural Land?

PFAS contamination of agricultural land  can lead to large financial losses for farmers. Some businesses have shut down completely because they are not able to remove the PFAS from the soil or water on their property. Other agricultural issues include:

  • Reduced crop yields: PFAs can interfere with plant growth, and they can also make crops more susceptible to pests and diseases.
  • Reduced livestock and dairy productivity: PFAs can accumulate in livestock, and they can cause a variety of health problems, including reproductive problems, developmental problems, and cancer.
  • Contaminated drinking water: PFAs can contaminate groundwater, and they can also leach into surface water. This can make drinking water unsafe for agricultural use.
  • Health risks to farmers and farm workers: PFAs can be harmful to human health, including cancer, reproductive problems, and developmental problems.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation to See if you have a Federal Takings Claim for PFAS Contamination

If you believe you have a takings claim for PFAS contamination on your land, contact us for a free consultation. We will ask a few questions to help us determine if your property may be eligible for a takings claim, including: 

  • Where is your property located in relation to a military base? 
  • Have you done any PFAS testing? 
  • Has the Department of Defense notified you of PFAS contamination?
  • Have you lost business, crops, cattle, or other money because of the contamination?

We Represent Clients in the Following Types of Federal Takings Claims

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