Property Rights

Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board

The state has no “public trust” power over groundwater

Environmentalists sued the State of California and Siskiyou County on the theory that the government’s failure to regulate groundwater violates the public trust doctrine. This doctrine traditionally applies only to navigable waters and entrusts the government with the responsibility to preserve the land and resources for productive, recreational, and environmental uses. No California court had ever applied the public trust doctrine to groundwater until the Sacramento Superior Court did so in this case. As amicus on behalf of property owners and farmers, PLF asks the Court of Appeal to reverse this unwarranted, vast expansion of the public trust doctrine.

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