Restoring the Trust: An Index of State Constitutional and Statutory Provisions on Water Resources and the Public Trust Doctrine
Center for Progressive Reform White Paper No. 908-B, September 2009
21 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 25, 2009
This index accompanies CPR’s publication, Restoring the Trust: Water Resources and the Public Trust Doctrine, A Manual for Advocates (CPR White Paper #908, available on SSRN). The purpose of this index is to provide a starting point for advocates to assess state-specific constitutional and statutory provisions and case law that apply the public trust concept to protecting water resources.
As the Manual notes,"'he ideal operating framework for using the public trust doctrine to protect water resources is like a well-balanced tripod: a robust and updated common law, a constitutional declaration of public ownership of water, and statutory incorporation of the doctrine into water resources legislation. This framework integrates the public trust doctrine in all its forms and allows each form to be mutually reinforcing - a strength in one leg can compensate for any weaknesses in another leg.'
In some states, the public trust doctrine framework - the common law, a constitutional provision, and a statutory provision - already exists. Some are clear declarations of public ownership or use explicit public trust language. Other provisions refer to public trust principles or concepts from which courts infer the public trust doctrine. Together with the common law doctrine they provide a powerful tool for water advocacy groups in their efforts to protect water resources.
Keywords: public trust doctrine, groundwater, water,
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