About this Site

In February 2010, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program and project partners Florida Sea Grant, Louisiana Sea Grant Law and Policy Program, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, and Texas Wesleyan School of Law launched a new legal research and outreach program on the impact of the “regulatory takings” doctrine on the ability of local governments to implement sea level rise adaptation policies. This work was funded by the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Programs, the EPA Gulf of Mexico Office, the Northern Gulf Institute, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Project Team focused on five primary research areas:

  • The impact of notice provisions on the “reasonable investment-backed expectations” of coastal property owners;
  • Conditional approvals of development proposals or “proposed exactions”;
  • Continued feasibility of “rolling easements” as an adaptation response;
  • Shoreline regulation;
  • Liability of local governments for failing to act.

The Project Team made preliminary presentations regarding their research at the International Conference on Sea-level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico: Impact, Adaptations, and Management in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 1–3, 2010. The Project Team’s research findings were shared at Florida State University College of Law’s Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law Symposium on Sea Level Rise and Property Rights on April 23, 2010. The proceedings from the Symposium were published in the Spring 2011 issue of the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law.

In addition, the Project Team organized continuing education workshops for attorneys, land use planners, and local government officials. On August 19, 2011, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program organized Recent Developments in Takings Law: A Workshop for Planners. State and national experts on sea level rise, law, planning, and policy presented at the workshops organized by Florida Sea Grant on January 18, 2012 (Lee County), January 19, 2012 (Pinellas County), and August 9, 2012 (Tallahassee). On January 23, the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program hosted a workshop entitled Adaptive Planning for Sea-Level Rise: Legal Issues for Local Government Workshop. Finally, on July 18, 2012, the Project Team conducted a 3-hour professional development session, Takings 101, for Sea Grant extension agents in the Gulf of Mexico.

The project team’s research and outreach materials provided the foundation for the StormSmart Legal website. For more information about the overall project, please visit the Project Team’s website.

Legal and Policy Implications of Innovative Planning for Sea Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico was a collaborative research and outreach project funded under award number NA10OAR4170078 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the U.S. Department of Commerce. Project team members included Stephanie Showalter Otts, Director, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program (Lead PI); Niki Pace, Research Counsel, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program; Thomas Ruppert, Coastal Community Outreach Coordinator, Florida Sea Grant; Jim Wilkins, Director, Louisiana Sea Grant Law and Policy Program; Richard McLaughlin, Endowed Chair – Marine Policy and Law, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies; and Timothy Mulvaney, Associate Professor of Law, Texas Wesleyan School of Law.