Q: Are there any laws pertaining to a diver recovering scrap metal that fell from barge in Tennessee River

We are cleaning river bottom where a scrap metal company has missed the barge while loading. The metal is underwater and we are not touching land at any time. Are we breaking any laws.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In regards to your question about recovering scrap metal from the Tennessee River, it's essential to understand that various laws may apply. These include federal, state, and local regulations concerning environmental protection, salvage rights, and navigation. For instance, the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act might influence activities in and around navigable waters.

Before undertaking recovery efforts, you should seek permission from relevant authorities. This might include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees river navigations and structures, or state environmental agencies. It's also prudent to determine if the scrap metal is considered abandoned property or if it still belongs to the company.

Lastly, consider the potential environmental impacts of your actions. Ensuring that the salvage operation does not harm aquatic life or disrupt the river's ecosystem is crucial. Compliance with all applicable laws will help protect you from legal issues while contributing positively to environmental conservation.

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