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In Defense of Conservation Easements: A Response to 'The End of Perpetuity'

96 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2009 Last revised: 30 Nov 2013

Nancy A. McLaughlin

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

W. William Weeks

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Abstract

This article critiques the arguments offered in favor of treating donated conservation easements as unrestricted charitable gifts (that is, as fungible or liquid assets in the hands of their government or land trust holders). It also discusses the practical and potential constitutional problems associated with proposals to change state law to permit government entities and land trusts to sell, trade, release, extinguish, or otherwise terminate the conservation easements they hold outside of judicial cy pres proceedings. Johnson County, Wyoming's, improper termination of a perpetual conservation easement, which was challenged in Hicks v. Dowd and Salzburg v. Dowd, provides the backdrop for the discussion.

Keywords: Hicks, conservation easement, conservation servitude, perpetuity, cy pres, amendment, extinguishment, impairment of contract, separation of powers

JEL Classification: K11, K32, K34, L31, Q15, Q20, Q24

Suggested Citation

McLaughlin, Nancy A. and Weeks, W. William, In Defense of Conservation Easements: A Response to 'The End of Perpetuity'. Wyoming Law Review, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1332225

Nancy A. McLaughlin (Contact Author)

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

332 South 1400 East, Rm 101
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-5944 (Phone)
801-581-6897 (Fax)

W. William Weeks

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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