Alabama Uses Deed Covenants to Ward Off Flooding Claims From Black Residents

"Inundated by an expanded highway, residents said they turned to the state for financial help. Basic reimbursements came with strings attached."

"SHILOH COMMUNITY, Ala. — Their land is bound forever.

The deeds of three homeowners—Pastor Timothy Williams, Aretha Wright and Page Jones—all living in the historically Black Shiloh community of south Alabama, tell the tale.

Restrictive covenants attached to their deeds limit the ability of current and future residents to file actions against the state. The legal instruments are the result of an effort by the State of Alabama to stem citizen claims related to flooding, according to newly obtained records analyzed by Inside Climate News.

“This release is agreed to be a covenant running with the land, binding on any future successor in interest or title,” the restrictive covenants say.

The covenants, released by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) in response to a records request by the Southern Environmental Law Center, show that agency officials have been aware of residents’ flooding concerns for years."

Lee Hedgepeth reports for Inside Climate News May 12, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 05/13/2024