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Public trust doctrine

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Thinking About The Public Trust Doctrine In A Modern Context As Applied To Non-Fungible Tokens, Dustyn Sams Jan 2024

Thinking About The Public Trust Doctrine In A Modern Context As Applied To Non-Fungible Tokens, Dustyn Sams

Natural Resources Journal

This paper discusses two popular concepts in the legal world, the public trust doctrine and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). For the first time, it explores whether litigants could successfully use the doctrine to protect valuable NFTs. The public trust doctrine is the legal principle that the government holds and manages land under navigable water and closely associated natural resources in trust of the people. NFTs, on the other hand, are unique collections of cryptographical data that represent ownership of a digital artwork. This paper reconsiders the question of what exactly the scope of the public trust doctrine is and how its …


Putting The Public Back In The Public Trust Doctrine: A Reinterpretation To Advance Native Hawaiian Water Rights, Steven Hindman Dec 2023

Putting The Public Back In The Public Trust Doctrine: A Reinterpretation To Advance Native Hawaiian Water Rights, Steven Hindman

Washington Law Review

The public trust doctrine guarantees that the government will hold natural resources in trust and protect them for the common good. The doctrine has played a key role in the allocation of water rights, particularly for Native American and Native Hawaiian interests in the United States. State and federal courts often consider the doctrine when deciding if certain use rights should be granted. In Hawai‘i, the doctrine has taken on a particularly robust form because the State Constitution expressly provides that all public natural resources are to be held in trust for the benefit of all Hawaiians. Unfortunately, the doctrine’s …


Wading Through Troubled Waters: Inequities & Improprieties Of Stream Access Laws In The American West, Alexander Johnson May 2023

Wading Through Troubled Waters: Inequities & Improprieties Of Stream Access Laws In The American West, Alexander Johnson

University of Cincinnati Law Review

No abstract provided.


Water We Cannot See: Codifying A Progressive Public Trust To Protect Groundwater Resources From Depletion, Susan E. Ness Apr 2023

Water We Cannot See: Codifying A Progressive Public Trust To Protect Groundwater Resources From Depletion, Susan E. Ness

Vanderbilt Law Review

Groundwater provides a vital water supply and plays an integral role in hydrological systems by supporting biodiversity and the overall health and functioning of surface waters. Yet, the current legal landscape in the United States premises groundwater management on outdated scientific understandings of hydrology and fails to adequately protect critical groundwater resources. Moreover, states differ significantly in their groundwater management practices despite the interstate nature of many aquifers. As climate change exacerbates stress to groundwater resources, many of the United States’ largest aquifers rapidly approach depletion.

The public trust doctrine may provide a mechanism to regulate groundwater resources in the …


Emerging Best Practices In International Atmospheric Trust Case Law, Rachel M. Pemberton, Michael Blumm Nov 2022

Emerging Best Practices In International Atmospheric Trust Case Law, Rachel M. Pemberton, Michael Blumm

Utah Law Review

With climate change litigation proliferating throughout the world, a substantial body of case law is emerging. As part of a project of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law's Climate Change Specialist Group, this Article, a version of which will be included in a “Judicial Handbook on Climate Litigation,” explains the public trust doctrine’s influence on climate change litigation internationally. We select what we view as judicial “best practices” as a kind of restatement of international atmospheric trust law in 2022. International atmospheric trust law is at the forefront of many best practices, as state and federal courts in the …


Trust Issues: Using States' Public Trust Doctrines To Advance Environmental Justice Claims, Alicia Muir Apr 2022

Trust Issues: Using States' Public Trust Doctrines To Advance Environmental Justice Claims, Alicia Muir

William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review

The primary purpose of this Note is to evaluate a new method one could use to bring an environmental justice claim. This Note suggests that the solution can be found within the reinvigorated public trust doctrine. Instead of pursuing environmental justice claims on the federal level, plaintiffs could utilize the sleeping giant that is states’ public trust doctrines. Pennsylvania courts, the pioneers of this new path, held that its public trust should be evaluated using private trust law principles. By interpreting state-created public trusts through the lens of private trust concepts, citizens in a number of states are capable of …


Held V. State, Alec D. Skuntz Oct 2021

Held V. State, Alec D. Skuntz

Public Land & Resources Law Review

On March 13, 2020, a group of 16 Montana children and teenagers filed a complaint in the First Judicial District, Lewis and Clark County against the State of Montana and several state agencies. These young Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief against Defendants for their complicity in continuing to extract and release harmful amounts of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. Plaintiffs premised their argument on the Montana Constitution’s robust environmental rights and protections. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss which the District Court granted in-part and denied in-part. Held provides a roadmap for future litigation by elucidating …


Offshore Wind Development In The Great Lakes: Accessing Untapped Energy Potential Through International And Interstate Agreement To Overcome Public Trust Concerns, Jordan Farrell Oct 2021

Offshore Wind Development In The Great Lakes: Accessing Untapped Energy Potential Through International And Interstate Agreement To Overcome Public Trust Concerns, Jordan Farrell

Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business

Offshore wind energy development in the Great Lakes presents an immense opportunity for distributed generation of renewable energy; however, this potential has thus far remained untapped. One significant barrier to why there has not yet been such wind energy development in the Great Lakes is the public trust doctrine. This doctrine generally stands for the principle that a state cannot convey its submerged lands to a private party. However, there remains much legal uncertainty with regards to the doctrine. Courts and scholars have struggled to determine with any certainty the origins and grounding of the doctrine and the limits it …


The Public Trust Doctrine And The Climate Crisis: Panacea Or Platitude?, Joseph Regalia Sep 2021

The Public Trust Doctrine And The Climate Crisis: Panacea Or Platitude?, Joseph Regalia

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Over a year of shutting down the global economy during the COVID pandemic achieved about .01 degrees of improvement in global warming. Not even a drop in the bucket. We continue to face a monumental climate crisis. And of the many ways that crisis threatens our environment, winnowing water resources is one of the scariest. One solution that many scholars have turned to is the public trust doctrine. At first blush, this doctrine sounds like a panacea for water management problems: When our water resources are threatened enough that current and future citizen’s access to it is in peril, the …


Monopolizers Of The Soil: The Commons As A Source Of Public Trust Responsibilities, Connor B. Mcdermott Jan 2021

Monopolizers Of The Soil: The Commons As A Source Of Public Trust Responsibilities, Connor B. Mcdermott

Natural Resources Journal

In the seventeenth century, public resources were essential to the survival of the English poor. The common law, stretching back to Magna Carta and the Forest Charter, provided them with usufructuary rights to the commons. Those rights were violated by the enclosure movement, which received royal assent beginning with Charles I’s absolutist reign in 1625. As a result, the common people joined with Parliament to overthrow Charles I. After the Interregnum, Matthew Hale wrote De Jure Maris, a treatise foundational to the public trust doctrine in America and the doctrine’s expansion abroad. Hale lived through the Civil War which resulted …


Up In The Air: A Fifty-State Survey Of Atmospheric Trust Litigation Brought By Our Children’S Trust, Anna Christiansen Jul 2020

Up In The Air: A Fifty-State Survey Of Atmospheric Trust Litigation Brought By Our Children’S Trust, Anna Christiansen

Utah Law Review

Frustrated by government inaction in response to the threats posed by anthropogenic climate change, the advocacy organization Our Children’s Trust (OCT) is pursuing legal reform in every state in the United States. These efforts include petitioning state environmental agencies for rulemaking and filing lawsuits against those agencies and the states. The legal claims have generally been rooted in the public trust doctrine. This Note surveys OCT’s efforts and the evolution of the organization’s legal strategy, as OCT has recently based its lawsuits on violations of substantive due process, and in some cases, violations of the states’ own environmental laws. This …


After Juliana: A Proposal For The Next Atmospheric Trust Litigation Strategy, Kacie Couch Jan 2020

After Juliana: A Proposal For The Next Atmospheric Trust Litigation Strategy, Kacie Couch

William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review

The cliffs of California are dissolving.2 Glaciers in Colorado and Montana are dissolving.3 Islands in Louisiana and Alaska are dissolving.4 America as we know it is dissolving; twenty-one youth plaintiffs that face a future with less liberty and independence than generations before them claim that federal government inaction in the face of climate change is to blame.5 Those plaintiffs, in the landmark case Juliana v. United States, sought judicial declaration of a federal public trust and substantive due process right to a stable climate system.6 In proceedings, Judge Anne Aiken of the District Court of Oregon declared a newly …


Fracking The Public Trust, Kevin J. Lynch Aug 2019

Fracking The Public Trust, Kevin J. Lynch

San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law

This Article explores the application of the public trust doctrine to fracking, specifically as it relates to regulations designed to prevent harms of continued greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a result of the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.


Defining Fishing, The Slippery Seaweed Slope, Ross V. Acadian Seaplants Ltd., Rebecca P. Totten Jun 2019

Defining Fishing, The Slippery Seaweed Slope, Ross V. Acadian Seaplants Ltd., Rebecca P. Totten

Ocean and Coastal Law Journal

In Maine, the intertidal zone has seen many disputes over its use, access, and property rights. Recently, in Ross v. Acadian Seaplants, Ltd., the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, sitting as the Law Court, held that rockweed seaweed in the intertidal zone is owned by the upland landowner and is not part of a public easement under the public trust doctrine. The Court held harvesting rockweed is not fishing. This case will impact private and public rights and also the balance between the State's environmental and economic interests. This Comment addresses the following points: first, the characteristics of rockweed and the …


Pure As Running Water: A Constitutional Argument For Utah’S Public Trust Doctrine, Brandon S. Fuller May 2019

Pure As Running Water: A Constitutional Argument For Utah’S Public Trust Doctrine, Brandon S. Fuller

Utah Law Review

Water rights in America, particularly in western states, have been a pervasive source of legal contention. The histories of these water rights, and the public trust doctrine more broadly, have created a tremendously complex area of law. This field of law is very old and draws on policy concerns stretching back to 100 B.C., overlapping federal and state powers and precedents, and what can only be described as one of the longest games of jurisprudential telephone in existence. As a result, anyone seeking to challenge a state statute, court opinion, or regulation, which they believe impermissibly restricts the public’s right …


Book Review: An Examination Of Maine's Public Beach Access, Ariel A. Hampton Jan 2019

Book Review: An Examination Of Maine's Public Beach Access, Ariel A. Hampton

Ocean and Coastal Law Journal

Many people assume that access rights to public resources are unwavering. Two Maine Supreme Judicial Court cases concerning limitations to public access to Maine beaches rebut this assumption. In his book, Maine's Beaches Are Public Property: The Bell Cases Must Be Reexamined, Professor Orlando E. Delogu challenges the modifications to public beach access that resulted from these two cases. This Review focuses on the historical and legal arguments that Professor Delogu presents as justification for the reversal of the Bell cases. Professor Delogu gives compelling reasons for his take on the Bell cases and why the State of Maine should …


Environmental Protection Through Constitutional Amendment, Robert T. Mann, Richard Jackson Aug 2018

Environmental Protection Through Constitutional Amendment, Robert T. Mann, Richard Jackson

Florida State University Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law

No abstract provided.


The Semicommons And Wisconsin Water Quality, David A. Strifling Jan 2018

The Semicommons And Wisconsin Water Quality, David A. Strifling

Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review

From the Great Lakes to pristine northern streams, Wisconsin boasts a plentiful and valuable array of water resources. Yet water stress analyses show that this natural capital is deeply threatened in a variety of ways. The pressure results primarily from human activity, ranging from general overuse to colonization by anthropogenically introduced non-native species. Some of the greatest water quality problems, however, are caused by land use practices that lead to polluted runoff from farm fields and urban settings. The onset of climate change has the potential to further exacerbate all of this. These issues, coupled with the failure of existing …


The Public Trust Doctrine: The Development Of New York’S Doctrine And How It Can Improve, Steven Fink Jan 2018

The Public Trust Doctrine: The Development Of New York’S Doctrine And How It Can Improve, Steven Fink

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


Mcgarvey V. Whittredge: Continued Uncertainty In Maine's Intertidal Zone, Benjamin N. Donahue Oct 2017

Mcgarvey V. Whittredge: Continued Uncertainty In Maine's Intertidal Zone, Benjamin N. Donahue

Maine Law Review

In 2008, William McGarvey and Mary Klientop filed a declaratory judgment seeking a determination that their neighbor, Jonathan Bird, had no right to cross their intertidal land to reach the ocean to scuba dive. McGarvey and Kleintop own property that borders Passamaquoddy Bay in the Town of Eastport. As owners of oceanfront property in Maine, their title extends through the intertidal zone to low water mark in fee simple. The intertidal land they own also stretches in front of Bird’s property, bordering his property just below the high water mark. This configuration creates a strip that separates Jonathon Bird’s property …


Public Resource Ownership And Community Engagement In A Modern Energy Landscape, Samantha Hepburn Jun 2017

Public Resource Ownership And Community Engagement In A Modern Energy Landscape, Samantha Hepburn

Pace Environmental Law Review

The onshore resource conflicts that have erupted in the Eastern states of Australia highlight the deep need for axiomatic structural change in public resource ownership frameworks. Much of the conflict that has arisen stems from the failure of the state, as owner, to give proper regard to the social and environmental concerns relevant to the expansion of onshore resource development. The underlying rationale for vesting resources in the state is to ensure they are managed for the benefit of the community as a whole. The implied sumption is that public benefit obligations are met through state administration because this is …


Fishing, Fowling, And Dockominiums: Maine's Need For A New Approach To Public And Private Intertidal Rights, Agnieszka A. Pinette Apr 2017

Fishing, Fowling, And Dockominiums: Maine's Need For A New Approach To Public And Private Intertidal Rights, Agnieszka A. Pinette

Maine Law Review

In the sixteenth century, Queen Elizabeth recognized the public’s inalienable right to the sea. Despite the intuitive concept embodied in the Queen’s pronouncement, a centuries-old debate over the public’s right to the seashore continues to occupy the attention of Maine’s bar and bench. In 2011, for example, the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, sitting as the Law Court, handed down a decision that maintains Maine’s prevailing judicial analytical framework for resolving property disputes in the intertidal zone. In McGarvey v. Whittredge, the plaintiffs, claiming ownership of the intertidal zone, brought an action in trespass and sought a declaratory judgment that …


Do Mess With Texas ... ? Why Rolling Easements May Provide A Solution To The Loss Of Public Beaches Due To Climate Change-Induced Landward Coastal Migration, Carolyn Ginno Jan 2017

Do Mess With Texas ... ? Why Rolling Easements May Provide A Solution To The Loss Of Public Beaches Due To Climate Change-Induced Landward Coastal Migration, Carolyn Ginno

San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law

This paper explores the viability of rolling easements in California as well as how they might be implemented. California has the opportunity to use rolling easement doctrine to fill the public policy vacuum created by the Severance decision. By messing with Texas; precedent, California could utilize rolling easements to preserve public access to its beaches in the wake of coastal inundation resulting from climate change.
Determining whether and how rolling easements might be used in California requires an understanding of climate change as a man-made phenomenon and the impacts it has on coastal property. The next sections will outline this …


Public Trust Doctrine Implications Of Electricity Production, Lance Noel, Jeremy Firestone Dec 2015

Public Trust Doctrine Implications Of Electricity Production, Lance Noel, Jeremy Firestone

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

The public trust doctrine is a powerful legal tool in property law that requires the sovereign, as a trustee, to protect and manage natural resources. Historically, the public trust doctrine has been used in relationship to navigable waterways and wildlife management. Despite electricity production’s impact on those two areas and the comparatively smaller impacts of renewable energy, electricity production has garnered very little public trust doctrine attention. This Article examines how electricity production implicates the public trust doctrine, primarily through the lens of four states—California, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and New Jersey—and how it would potentially apply to each state’s electricity planning …


A Breach Of Trust: Rock-Koshkonong Lake District V. State Department Of Natural Resources And Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine, Anne-Louise Mittal Apr 2015

A Breach Of Trust: Rock-Koshkonong Lake District V. State Department Of Natural Resources And Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine, Anne-Louise Mittal

Marquette Law Review

Wisconsin has a particularly notable tradition of using the public trust doctrine aggressively to protect the state’s natural resources. The general thrust of the doctrine’s evolution in Wisconsin has been expansion beyond the doctrine’s traditional application to waters navigable for commercial purposes. Emblematic of such expansion is the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in Just v. Marinette County, which scholars have characterized as a landmark extension of the public trust doctrine to non- navigable wetlands adjacent to navigable waters. In light of this tradition, it is unsurprising that the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s recent pronouncement that the Department of Natural Resources …


Contested Shore: Property Rights In Reclaimed Land And The Battle For Streeterville, Joseph D. Kearney, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2015

Contested Shore: Property Rights In Reclaimed Land And The Battle For Streeterville, Joseph D. Kearney, Thomas W. Merrill

Northwestern University Law Review

Land reclaimed from navigable waters is a resource uniquely susceptible to conflict. The multiple reasons for this include traditional hostility to interference with navigable waterways and the weakness of rights in submerged land. In Illinois, title to land reclaimed from Lake Michigan was further clouded by a shift in judicial understanding in the late nineteenth century about who owned the submerged land, starting with an assumption of private ownership but eventually embracing state ownership. The potential for such legal uncertainty to produce conflict is vividly illustrated by the history of the area of Chicago known as Streeterville, the area of …


Climate Change & The Public Trust Doctrine: An Analysis Of Atmospheric Trust Litigatin, Kassandra Castillo Jan 2015

Climate Change & The Public Trust Doctrine: An Analysis Of Atmospheric Trust Litigatin, Kassandra Castillo

San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law

As Professor Charles Wilkinson explains, “The public trust doctrine is rooted in the precept that some resources are so central to the well-being of the community that they must be protected by distinctive, judge-made principles.” Because a healthy and habitable atmosphere is essential to the survival of the human race, it is imperative that the public trust doctrine be interpreted in a way to include the atmosphere within its scope. Civil litigation is an effective legal mechanism to expand the public trust doctrine’s scope by way of the judiciary. Once a state judiciary can determine the applicability of the public …


"Take Back The Beach!" An Analysis Of The Need For Enforcement Of Beach Access Rights For U.S. Virgin Islanders, Aliya T. Felix Jan 2015

"Take Back The Beach!" An Analysis Of The Need For Enforcement Of Beach Access Rights For U.S. Virgin Islanders, Aliya T. Felix

Florida A & M University Law Review

Part I of this paper defines the traditional use of the beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands and includes a personal anecdote as evidence of a trend toward restricting beach access in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Part II provides a legal framework of public beach access rights through an analysis of the general public trust doctrine, the U.S. Virgin Islands Open Shorelines Act, and the U.S. Virgin Islands’ case law. Part III examines case studies involving private entities blocking beach access to the public in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Part IV offers a proposal for reform to ensure protection of …


The Categorical (Lucas) Rule: "Background Principles," Per Se Regulatory Takings, And The State Of Exceptions, David L. Callies, David A. Robyak Jun 2014

The Categorical (Lucas) Rule: "Background Principles," Per Se Regulatory Takings, And The State Of Exceptions, David L. Callies, David A. Robyak

Touro Law Review

No abstract provided.


A Binding And Perpetual Obligation: Protecting Louisiana’S Sixteenth Section Land As A Natural Resource, Zachary Howser Jun 2014

A Binding And Perpetual Obligation: Protecting Louisiana’S Sixteenth Section Land As A Natural Resource, Zachary Howser

LSU Journal of Energy Law and Resources

No abstract provided.