Raymond K. Shin

Document Type


Publication Date

December 2007


Chesapeake Bay


This paper was submitted as a Certification Paper, December 2007.


In the 1970s, the state of Maryland planned to construct a diked disposal area on Hart and Miller Islands to contain contaminated spoil from dredging projects in the Chesapeake Bay. Environmental groups and nearby residents filed a lawsuit in opposition, relying on the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 along with other statutes and regulations. Although the courts held in favor of the defendants, the litigation caused years of delay and millions of dollars in added costs for the state. The Hart-Miller Island controversy demonstrates the importance of avoiding lawsuits against large-scale public works projects if at all possible, even if it is probable that a lawsuit against a project will be unsuccessful.