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Public trust doctrine

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Public Trust Doctrine, Property, And Society, Erin Ryan Jan 2022

The Public Trust Doctrine, Property, And Society, Erin Ryan

Scholarly Publications

The public trust doctrine creates a set of sovereign rights and responsibilities with regard to certain resource commons, obligating the state to manage them in trust for the public. In the last century, the doctrine has gradually transformed from an affirmation of sovereign authority over trust resources to a recognition of sovereign responsibility to protect them for present and future generations. Especially in the United States, it has evolved through common, constitutional, and statutory law to protect a broader variety of resources and associated values, including ecological, recreational, and scenic values. Today, the doctrine is frequently invoked in natural resource …


Michigan's Groundwater And The Public Trust Doctrine, Shay Elbaum Jan 2022

Michigan's Groundwater And The Public Trust Doctrine, Shay Elbaum

Law Librarian Scholarship

In March, legislators introduced a package of bills in the Michigan House of Representatives that would apply the public trust doctrine to the state’s groundwater. But what is the public trust doctrine and why does it matter if it applies to Michigan groundwater? This column provides an overview of the public trust doctrine and its application to groundwater, a summary of the bills now being considered, and resources for tracking their progress.


Conceptualising A Role For The Common Law In Environmental Protection In Singapore, Kenny Chng Dec 2021

Conceptualising A Role For The Common Law In Environmental Protection In Singapore, Kenny Chng

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

In Singapore, the key institutions driving environmental protection are the legislature and the executive. The judiciary’s role in environmental protection has thus far been relatively minor. By drawing upon environmental law theory and comparative analysis of other common law jurisdictions, this paper aims to explore avenues through which the common law can be engaged more meaningfully to further environmental protection in Singapore. A conceptualisation of environmental law as directed at furthering the rule of law by promoting carefully-considered and participatory environmental governance will be suggested as a fruitful way forward for thinking about the role of the common law in …


Natural Resources And Natural Law Part Ii: The Public Trust Doctrine, Robert W. Adler Apr 2020

Natural Resources And Natural Law Part Ii: The Public Trust Doctrine, Robert W. Adler

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

Natural Resources and Natural Law Part I: Prior Appropriation analyzed claims by some western ranchers, grounded in natural law, that they have property rights in grazing resources on federal public lands through prior appropriation. Those advocates asserted their position in part through civil disobedience, sometimes including armed standoffs with federal officials. They also asserted that their duty to obey theistic natural law overrode any duty to obey the Nation’s positive law. Similar claims that individual religious beliefs override positive law have been made recently regarding a range of other controversial issues, such as same-sex marriage, public insurance for birth control, …


The Public Trust Doctrine In The 21st Century, Nicholas A. Robinson Jan 2020

The Public Trust Doctrine In The 21st Century, Nicholas A. Robinson

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In this Symposium's initial lecture, I will (a) provide a glimpse into life in Medieval England to explain the context from which Magna Carta arose, (b) describe the evolution of environmental rights from Magna Carta to the Forest Carter, (c) explore in a case study how “liberties of the forest” functioned for 800 years in England's Royal Forest of Dean, ultimately sustaining the ecological systems of Dean, (d) discuss the “liberties of the forest” in light of Elinor Ostom's common pool analyses, and (e) offer some views on the question just posed. I shall start by describing the English environment …


Animal Agriculture Liability For Climatic Nuisance: A Path Forward For Climate Change Litigation?, Daniel E. Walters May 2019

Animal Agriculture Liability For Climatic Nuisance: A Path Forward For Climate Change Litigation?, Daniel E. Walters

Faculty Scholarship

Despite possessing statutory authority to regulate at least some contributing causes of climate change, environmental regulators in the United States have recently found themselves tied up in political gridlock. In response, advocates are turning from the regulatory track to a common law liability track, bringing public nuisance suits against fossil fuel producers and electric utilities. However, most of these public nuisance suits have met a common fate: they have been held to be displaced by the comprehensive regulatory framework for controlling greenhouse gas emissions contained in the Clean Air Act. As long as there is even the possibility of regulatory …


From Mono Lake To The Atmospheric Trust: Navigating The Public And Private Interests In Public Trust Resource Commons, Erin Ryan Jan 2019

From Mono Lake To The Atmospheric Trust: Navigating The Public And Private Interests In Public Trust Resource Commons, Erin Ryan

Scholarly Publications

This Article partners a summary of the Mono Lake story — one of the all-time great tales of environmental, property, and water law — with additional historical context, expanded legal analysis, and new reporting on contemporary public trust developments, especially Juliana vs. United States and the unfolding atmospheric trust climate litigation. The Mono Lake case and its progeny — in which the public trust doctrine has been applied in contexts ranging from takings litigation to groundwater management to fracking regulation and now to climate change — prompt reflection about the way the public trust doctrine navigates complex conflicts between public …


Fracking The Public Trust, Kevin J. Lynch Jan 2019

Fracking The Public Trust, Kevin J. Lynch

Sturm College of Law: Faculty Scholarship

Climate change presents an ever more urgent threat, and earlier in 2019, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reached an all time high for recorded history. Current federal and state policies promoting fossil fuel extraction mean that future governments will have to look very seriously at leaving fossil fuels in the ground, if our society wants to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change.

One of the biggest obstacles to leaving fossil fuels in the ground is the threat of massive takings liability for any government that dares to slow or prevent the extraction of fossil fuels. This has been particularly …


Limiting Lessons From Property: Re-Imagining The Public Domain In The Image Of The Public Trust Doctrine, Deidre Keller Jan 2019

Limiting Lessons From Property: Re-Imagining The Public Domain In The Image Of The Public Trust Doctrine, Deidre Keller

Journal Publications

No abstract provided.


The Public Trust Doctrine, Outer Space, And The Global Commons: Time To Call Home Et, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2019

The Public Trust Doctrine, Outer Space, And The Global Commons: Time To Call Home Et, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Space exploration is heating up. Governments and private interests are on a fast track to develop technologies to send people and equipment to celestial bodies, like the moon and asteroids, to extract their untapped resources. Near-space is rapidly filling up with public and private satellites, causing electromagnetic interference problems and dangerous space debris from collisions and earlier launches. The absence of a global management system for the private commercial development of outer space resources will allow these near space problems to be exported further into the galaxy. Moreover, without a governing authority or rules controlling entry or limiting despoliation, outer …


The Public Trust In Public Art: Property Law's Case Against Private Hoarding Of “Public” Art, Hope M. Babcock Aug 2018

The Public Trust In Public Art: Property Law's Case Against Private Hoarding Of “Public” Art, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Private hoarding of important works of art is a phenomenon that has caused their disappearance from public view. The loss of this art undermines republican values like education, community, and citizenship, and therefore should be resisted. This Article explores various legal tools to prevent this from happening, including doctrines and laws that protect artists’ rights in their work, but which offer the public little relief. Turning to two well-known common-law doctrines—public dedication and public trust—to see whether they might provide a solution, the author favors the latter because it is nimbler and better suited to the public nature of important …


Riparian Rights And Public Trust: Enforcement Authority, Reeana Keenen Apr 2018

Riparian Rights And Public Trust: Enforcement Authority, Reeana Keenen

Virginia Coastal Policy Center

In Virginia, private landowners own the land to the Mean Low Water mark (“MLW”), whereas in many coastal states private landowners only own to the high water mark. The bottomlands channelward of the MLW mark in Virginia are governed by the Public Trust Doctrine, meaning that the state holds this land in trust for use by the public. However, use conflicts can arise where private landowners own property adjacent to publicly owned property or where public easements run through private property adjacent to public beach access points.

This Paper will provide a summary of the law regarding private and public …


Natural Resources And Natural Law Part I: Prior Appropriation, Robert W. Adler Mar 2018

Natural Resources And Natural Law Part I: Prior Appropriation, Robert W. Adler

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

In recent years there has been a resurgence of civil disobedience over public land policy in the West, sometimes characterized by armed confrontations between ranchers and federal officials. This trend reflects renewed assertions that applicable positive law violates the natural rights (sometimes of purportedly divine origin) of ranchers and other land users, particularly under the prior appropriation doctrine and grounded in Lockean theories of property. At the same time, Native Americans and environmental activists on the opposite side of the political-environmental spectrum have also relied on civil disobedience to assert natural rights to a healthy environment, based on public trust …


Property And Permitting Boundaries At The Shoreline (Legal Fact Sheet: Ctsg-17-03), Audrey Elzerman Jan 2017

Property And Permitting Boundaries At The Shoreline (Legal Fact Sheet: Ctsg-17-03), Audrey Elzerman

Sea Grant Law Fellow Publications

The determination of the boundary between public and private areas of the shoreline can be a topic of substantial interest and dispute, especially as the environment changes over time. This document explains the property and regulatory boundaries that apply in Connecticut and how those boundaries change.


How The Public Trust Doctrine's Fiduciary Duty Requirement Requires States' Proactive Response To Promote Offshore Power Generation, Andrew S. Ballentine Jan 2016

How The Public Trust Doctrine's Fiduciary Duty Requirement Requires States' Proactive Response To Promote Offshore Power Generation, Andrew S. Ballentine

Student Works

As the earth continues to warm and the impacts of that warming trend loom larger, the question becomes whether and to what degree do governments have responsibility to respond to that threat. The potential range of threats and impacts from climate change vary greatly and governments’ ability to respond, effectively and efficiently, exceeds that of the individual and therefore must fall on the greater collection of individuals. In the United States, one way that the collection of individuals is represented, albeit with limitations, is by the government that operates for the collective public good. This Article focuses on what responsibility …


Climate Litigation Scores Successes In The Netherlands And Pakistan, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2016

Climate Litigation Scores Successes In The Netherlands And Pakistan, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Most U.S. climate change litigation falls into one of two categories. The vast majority of cases — which receive the bulk of the attention — are based on the Clean Air Act and other statutes. These include Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (2007) and the current litigation over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan. The second category, and the focus of this article, comprises cases based on common law and the Constitution.


Slides: Practicing Sustainability In Natural Resource Industries, Gary D. Libecap Feb 2015

Slides: Practicing Sustainability In Natural Resource Industries, Gary D. Libecap

Natural Resource Industries and the Sustainability Challenge (Martz Winter Symposium, February 27-28)

Presenter: Gary D. Libecap, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Economics Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

10 slides


The Public Trust Doctrine, Private Water Allocation, And Mono Lake: The Historic Saga Of National Audubon Society V. Superior Court, Erin Ryan Jan 2015

The Public Trust Doctrine, Private Water Allocation, And Mono Lake: The Historic Saga Of National Audubon Society V. Superior Court, Erin Ryan

Scholarly Publications

This Article tells the epic tale of the fall and rise of Mono Lake—the strange and beautiful Dead Sea of California—which fostered some of the most important environmental law developments of the last century, and which has become a platform for some of the most potentially important developments in the new century. It shares the backstory and legacy of the California Supreme Court’s famous decision in National Audubon Society v. Superior Court, 658 P.2d 709 (Cal. 1983), known more widely as “the Mono Lake case.” Inspired by innovative legal scholarship and advocacy, the decision spawned a quiet legal revolution in …


The Public Trust Doctrine, Private Water Allocation, And Mono Lake: The Historic Saga Of National Audubon Society V. Superior Court, Erin Ryan Jan 2015

The Public Trust Doctrine, Private Water Allocation, And Mono Lake: The Historic Saga Of National Audubon Society V. Superior Court, Erin Ryan

Scholarly Publications

This article tells the epic tale of the fall and rise of Mono Lake — the strange and beautiful Dead Sea of California — which fostered some of the most important environmental law developments of the last century, and which has become a platform for some of the most potentially important developments in the new century. It shares the backstory and legacy of the California Supreme Court’s famous decision in National Audubon Society v. Superior Court, 658 P.2d 709 (Cal. 1983), known more widely as “the Mono Lake case.” Inspired by innovative legal scholarship and advocacy, the decision spawned a …


The Public Trust: The Law's Dna, Gerald Torres, Nathan Bellinger May 2014

The Public Trust: The Law's Dna, Gerald Torres, Nathan Bellinger

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Burdens On Public Access, Elizabeth Blank Jan 2013

Burdens On Public Access, Elizabeth Blank

Sea Grant Law Fellow Publications

No abstract provided.


Letting Nature Work In The Pacific Northwest: A Manual For Protecting Ecosystem Services Under Existing Law, Robert L. Glicksman, Robert W. Adler, Daniel J. Rohlf, Robert R.M Verchick, Yee Huang Jan 2013

Letting Nature Work In The Pacific Northwest: A Manual For Protecting Ecosystem Services Under Existing Law, Robert L. Glicksman, Robert W. Adler, Daniel J. Rohlf, Robert R.M Verchick, Yee Huang

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

In the decades since Congress and state legislatures passed most of the nation's most significant environmental laws, our knowledge about ecosystems has increased dramatically. As ecologists learn more about the complex and dynamic interactions that produce valuable ecosystem services, decisionmakers and advocates should adopt an ecosystem services approach to implementing laws that affect the environment. An ecosystem services approach integrates advances in ecology with the law. It fosters creative thinking about how to restructure laws and regulatory programs to mimic the connectedness of ecosystem functions. The approach requires performance-based evaluations to measure success or failure of management decisions, and it …


The Public Trust Doctrine And The Montana Constitution As Legal Bases For Climate Change Litigation In Montana, Gregory S. Munro Jan 2012

The Public Trust Doctrine And The Montana Constitution As Legal Bases For Climate Change Litigation In Montana, Gregory S. Munro

Faculty Law Review Articles

This article examines the need to resort to law and the legal process to address the risk posed by climate change to Montana and its people.

Part II provides a brief overview of global warming. Part III demonstrates how civil litigation can and should provide a meaningful role in addressing climate change. Part IV traces the origin of the public trust doctrine and how the U.S. Supreme Court and Montana Supreme Court have applied the doctrine in the past. Part V argues that principles underlying the public trust doctrine make it appropriate for the Montana courts to expand the doctrine …


A Trusting Public: How The Public Trust Doctrine Can Save The New York Forest Preserve, Katherine R. Leisch Dec 2010

A Trusting Public: How The Public Trust Doctrine Can Save The New York Forest Preserve, Katherine R. Leisch

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Student Publications

The public trust doctrine was instituted in England as a permanent limitation on the powers of the Crown. The well-established doctrine was brought to America and applied equally in the states even after the states seceded from England. The doctrine has since served as an indestructible check on the government. Article XIV of the New York State Constitution ensures protection of its wilderness in perpetuity, solidifying the forest preserve as part of the public trust. The paper traces the beginnings of the public trust doctrine and its eventual application Article XIV. The author contemplates the indestructibility of the Forest Preserve …


Stop The Beach Renourishment Stops Private Beachowners' Right To Exclude The Public, Kristen G. Juras, Sydney F. Ansbacher, Robert K. Lincoln Jan 2010

Stop The Beach Renourishment Stops Private Beachowners' Right To Exclude The Public, Kristen G. Juras, Sydney F. Ansbacher, Robert K. Lincoln

Faculty Law Review Articles

In this article, the authors examine the various measures implemented by state and local governments to enhance public access to and use of government-owned tidelands, streambeds, and lake shores and how, although not necessarily titled as such, many of these measures result, without payment of compensation, in an easement allowing public access to and use of private waterfront property.

Section I describes the rights of riparian property owners and the right of the public to use government-owned shores and tidelands, followed by a general overview of various state legislative and judicial responses designed to address the conflicts that arise when …


Instream Flows And The Public Trust, Timothy M. Mulvaney Jul 2009

Instream Flows And The Public Trust, Timothy M. Mulvaney

Faculty Scholarship

Empirical evidence suggests that diversion of instream flows for human use, coupled with the potential impacts of changing climatic conditions, is threatening the sustainability of aquatic life. Nonetheless, several states merely prevent stream flows from being reduced below the "7Q10 flow," or the average flow during the driest consecutive seven-day period that has a likelihood of recurring only once every ten years. Overwhelming scientific consensus suggests that 7Q10 merely preserves water quality standards by calculating the concentration of pollutants in point source discharges, without considering water quantity and numerous other core principles of instream management.

The protection of instream flows …


Slides: Rethinking Western Water Law: Restoring The Public Interest In Western Water Law, Mark Squillace Jun 2009

Slides: Rethinking Western Water Law: Restoring The Public Interest In Western Water Law, Mark Squillace

Western Water Law, Policy and Management: Ripples, Currents, and New Channels for Inquiry (Martz Summer Conference, June 3-5)

Presenter: Mark Squillace, Director, Natural Resources Law Center, University of Colorado Law School

20 slides


The Public And Wildlife Trust Doctrines And The Untold Story Of The Lucas Remand, Blake Hudson Jan 2009

The Public And Wildlife Trust Doctrines And The Untold Story Of The Lucas Remand, Blake Hudson

Journal Articles

Government attempts to protect ecosystems on private lands are often thwarted by Fifth Amendment takings claims demanding that “just compensation” be paid to the property owner. In the case of Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a state statute could survive a takings claim if the state could prove on remand that “background principles of property law” applied to the subject property. Scholarly works since Lucas have argued that “background principles” includes the public and wildlife trust doctrines. However, on remand, the state failed to assert either doctrine in defense of the statute. Though …


The Public Trust Doctrine: What A Tall Tale They Tell, Hope M. Babcock Jan 2009

The Public Trust Doctrine: What A Tall Tale They Tell, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Despite continuing hostility towards the public trust doctrine because of its potential to defeat private property rights and the will of elected representatives, the doctrine refuses to die. It continues to assure public access to and protection of certain natural resources of communal value; in fact, the doctrine's geographic reach and the activities it protects have expanded beyond its original conception. It is this doctrinal accretion that has drawn the attention of Professor James Huffman, who in a recent article criticizes the "ambitions" of public trust scholars who see in "an expansive public trust doctrine . . . a powerful …


Bridging The Governance Gap: Strategies To Integrate Water And Land Use Planning, Sarah Bates Van De Wetering, University Of Montana (Missoula). Public Policy Research Institute Jun 2008

Bridging The Governance Gap: Strategies To Integrate Water And Land Use Planning, Sarah Bates Van De Wetering, University Of Montana (Missoula). Public Policy Research Institute

Shifting Baselines and New Meridians: Water, Resources, Landscapes, and the Transformation of the American West (Summer Conference, June 4-6)

16 pages.

Includes bibliographical references

"2007"

"Collaborative Governance Report 2"