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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Grand River Dam Authority, 363 U.S. 229 (1960)

United States v. Grand River Dam Authority

No. 503

Argued May 17, 1960

Decided June 13, 1960

363 U.S. 229


Respondent is an agency of the State of Oklahoma created to develop hydroelectric power on the Grand River, a nonnavigable tributary of the navigable Arkansas River. It proposed a river development plan at Pensacola, Markham Ferry, and Ft. Gibson, all sites on the Grand River, and, under license from the Federal Power Commission, completed a project at Pensacola in 1940. Subsequently, by the Flood Control Act of 1941, Congress incorporated the Grand River plan into a comprehensive plan for regulation of navigation, control of floods and production of power on the Arkansas River and its tributaries, and the United States constructed a project at Ft. Gibson, in connection with which it compensated respondent for a condemned tract of land, flowage rights over its lands, and relocation of its transmission lines. Respondent sued in the Court of Claims for additional compensation for the "taking" of its water power rights at Ft. Gibson and its franchise to develop electric power and energy at that site.

Held: Respondent is not entitled to recover. It failed to show that it had any rights in the flow of the river. The United States had the superior right under the Commerce Clause to build the Ft. Gibson project itself to protect the navigable capacity of the Arkansas River, and the frustration of respondent's plans and expectations which resulted when the United States chose to do so did not take property from respondent in the sense of the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 363 U. S. 230-236.

___ Ct. Cl. ___ 175 F. Supp. 153, reversed.

Page 363 U. S. 230

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