The Public Trust Doctrine and the Management of America's Coasts


This volume closely examines the English common law doctrine of "public trust"—the notion that the state is obliged to manage certain properties and associated rights under its control in the public interest—a doctrine that has been historically associated with coastal areas. The book outlines rationales and methods for applying the doctrine to contemporary environmental management of coastal areas, as a useful alternative to the state's acknowledged "police power" and right of eminent domain.

The authors provide a set of tools and concepts for lawyers and environmental policy professionals charged with managing coastal areas in the public interest. Included is a significant case study in Massachusetts, where the doctrine has been applied to preserve public interests in filled tidal areas and harbors, in part through the efforts of the authors of this volume. Coastal managers and legal staffs, state and federal officials, environmental activists, coastal user groups, and academic researchers are among those who will find this book a valuable addition to their libraries.

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