A group of 25 southeast Missouri farmers is suing the federal government over its decision to blow a hole in a levee, causing their farmland and houses to flood.

Cape Girardeau attorney J. Michael Ponder filed the lawsuit Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detonated explosives on the Birds Point levee to ease pressure from the swelling Mississippi River.

The Southeast Missourian reports that the lawsuit claims that the government violated the farmers’ rights by taking their land without adequate compensation. The lawsuit seeks class-action status.

Ponder, who is from Charleston, says he has had cousins who were wiped out by the levee breach.

The corps has said that flow-age easements attached to the farmers’ property deeds allowed them to breach the levee.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press