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public trust

Gunderson v. State: The Indiana Supreme Court Strengthens the Public Trust Doctrine’s Potential for Conservation in the Great Lakes

ELR Article

The Indiana Supreme Court recently delivered a landmark public trust decision, Gunderson v. State, ruling that the state acquired and still owns Indiana’s bed of Lake Michigan below the ordinary high water mark, including...

Whose Coast Is It Anyway? Climate Change, Shoreline Armoring, and the Public’s Right to Access the California Coast

ELR Article

The public trust doctrine provides that a state holds its tidelands, submerged lands, and navigable waters in trust for the benefit of the general public. California has codified the principles of this doctrine through various statutes...

Juliana v. United States

ELR Case

A magistrate judge recommended that a district court deny motions to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a group of young people against the U.S. government for failing to protect them from climate change. The plaintiffs alleged that the...

Pesticides, Water Quality, and the Public Trust Doctrine

ELR Article

The public trust doctrine is an ancient legal principle undergoing a modern resurgence. Under it, governments hold certain natural resources in trust for the benefit of present and future generations, and have a judicially enforceable...

Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board

ELR Case

A California court held that the public trust doctrine protects navigable waterways from harm caused by groundwater extraction. Concerned about the management of the Scott River in northern California, environmental groups filed suit...

Filippone v. Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ELR Case

An Iowa appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a minor's petition asking the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to adopt new rules regarding the emission of greenhouse gases in the state. She first argued that the state agency...

Aronow v. State

ELR Case

A Minnesota appellate court affirmed a lower court decision dismissing an individual's lawsuit against the state for violating the public trust doctrine with respect to climate change. In his complaint, the individual alleged that the...

Alec L. v. Jackson

ELR Case

A district court dismissed a lawsuit filed by nongovernmental organizations and a group of minors claiming that six federal agencies violated their fiduciary duties to preserve and protect the atmosphere as a commonly shared public...

Merrill v. Ohio Department of Natural Resources

ELR Case

The Supreme Court of Ohio held that the territory of Lake Erie held in trust by the state of Ohio extends to the natural shoreline, which is the line at which the water usually stands when free from disturbing causes. Case law from...