Public Good and Private Magic in the Law of Land Trusts and Conservation Easements: A Happy Present and a Troubled Future
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Denver University Law Review, Vol. 73, p. 1077, 1996
The laws that provide the framework for the national environmental regulatory structure remain in a perilous and apparently perpetual reauthorization holding pattern in Congress. State legislatures appear unwilling to undertake environmental protection where the federal government no longer will. But someone establishes a new private land trust, committed to scenic, historic or ecological preservation on an average of once a week.
The land trust movement furthers the public good in ways that other more public aspects of the environmental protection movement cannot because it possesses a private magic. I use the word magic for its two meanings, the art of producing illusions . . . by the use of sleight of hand and the art of producing a desired effect or result through . . . techniques that presumably assure human control over supernatural agencies . . . I leave to the reader whether the private magic of land trusts and conservation easements is simply legal sleight of hand or the operation of some occult controlling principle of nature.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 12, 2007
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