Public Trust Doctrine

News & Analysis as of

Water and Land Part 2

Water and Land - In Part I, we discussed the lawsuit between the State of North Carolina and Alcoa which determined that Alcoa owns a 45 mile portion of the Yadkin River riverbed. State of North Carolina v. Alcoa Power...more

Does the Public Trust Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The California Appellate Courts Will Soon Decide

The California appellate courts will soon be called on to decide an important and novel issue of California water law: whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater. The public trust doctrine holds that the state...more

Money, Dirt and Steel: Year End 2015 NC Real Property Litigation Update

Inverse Condemnation: Nies v. Town of Emerald Isle, COA15-169 (November 17, 2015). The Town of Emerald Isle established a beach nourishment project extending the mean high water mark seaward, and regulating vehicles...more

NC Court of Appeals rules Emerald Isle’s restriction on the use of privately owned oceanfront property is not a compensable...

What part of a beach in North Carolina is subject to public use and what part is private property was recently addressed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Nies v. Town of Emerald Isle (Nov. 17, 2015). This case...more

State Lands Commission’s CEQA Review of SF Bay/Delta Sand Mining Project Approval Is Adequate, But Fails to Fulfill Obligation to...

The First District Court of Appeal held the California State Lands Commission’s (“CSLC”) EIR for a project involving the lease of sovereign lands beneath San Francisco Bay for private dredge mining of sand complied with CEQA;...more

Washington Has A Public Trust Obligation to Address Climate Change — So What?

Last week, a trial judge in Washington State, in Foster v. Washington Department of Ecology, ruled that the Public Trust Doctrine requires the State of Washington to address climate change more aggressively. Greenwire’s...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, September 2015

The 1st District Court of Appeal invalidated the use of a statutory exemption applicable to the State Lands Commission’s (SLC) approval of a land exchange. The land exchange related to the 8 Washington Street Project, which...more

Rising Sea Levels and Prohibited "Takings" - A Different Sort of Climate Change Litigation

A little noted anniversary passed this past week. The odd 2009 storm, Nor’Ida (the progeny of a nor’easter and a hurricane), swept along the east coast pounding some areas with record storm surge five years ago in the second...more

Does the Public Trust Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The California Supreme Court May Decide

The California Supreme Court is currently considering a petition that raises an important and novel issue of California water law: whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater. The public trust doctrine holds that...more

The Atmosphere Is a Public Trust. So What?

The last frontier of citizen climate litigation has been state-based litigation alleging that states have a public trust obligation to mitigate climate change. As I have previously noted, I’m skeptical that these cases are...more

Alaska Supreme Court Opens the Door for Alternative Theory in Public Trust Litigation

As this blog has discussed on several prior occasions, Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon public interest group, has coordinated lawsuits in numerous states seeking to apply the public trust doctrine to the atmosphere. While...more

First District Court of Appeal Holds State Water Board May Restrict Beneficial Water Use by Senior Water Rights Holders, Relying...

Most Californians are well aware of the restrictions currently being placed on water use throughout the state. The ongoing drought and dwindling water supplies in California are dramatically affecting those with rights to...more

Kids Get Their Day in Court on Climate Change

On June 11, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that two teens are entitled to a judicial declaration of whether there exists a “public trust” obligation in state officials to “protect the State’s atmosphere as well as the...more

EPA May Be Regulating GHGs, But Private Litigation Still Looks to be On Shaky Ground

In a case of interesting timing, three days after EPA announced its proposed GHG rules for existing facilities, the D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal of a case seeking an injunction against EPA and other federal defendants...more

Public Trust Act Preserves Candidate Choices

Political communications are like trees in a forest. Blessed with monetary sunshine political communications reach toward the sky, dominate the horizon, and potentially drench competitors in shade. Legal limits on financial...more

Public Trust Act – A Public Financing Trial and Tribulation

The NY State Legislature and Governor Cuomo enacted a new State budget on April 1, and with it, enabling legislation that includes changes in NY’s campaign finance law. In addition to new independent expenditure disclosure...more

Climate Change Legal Theories: The Atmospheric Public Trust Doctrine Moves Another Step Forward

One of the shibboleths of those following climate change litigation is the idea that new legal theories will be surfaced, fired in the furnace of litigation and then forged as the vehicle for addressing climate change in the...more

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