What Happened to Hispanic Natural Resources Law in California?
13 California Legal History 43 (2018)
15 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2018
Date Written: October 26, 2018
Before the US annexation of California in 1848, the region’s Spanish and Mexican governments supervised a geographically-adapted legal system emphasizing communal water rights and public allocation of minerals, land, and coastal areas. While many post-takeover judges considered Hispanic legal principles, the overall trend was to reject these in favor of common law. The prior anti-developmental tradition was in most cases distorted, overridden, or procedurally blocked, and the jurisprudence replacing it facilitated resource degradation that has been only partially reversed by California’s modern environmental policy. As one example, the stark contrast between fire zone rules in Mexico’s Baja California and in US Southern California, and the resulting far more destructive conflagrations in the latter, demonstrate the advantages of the more managed, sustainable Hispanic approach.
Keywords: California, coastal law, comparative law, environmental law, international law, irrigation, land law, legal history, law and society, Mexican law, Mexico, mining law, water law
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