the Public Trust Doctrine

The Public Trust Doctrine is an ancient concept that has been traditionally applied to protect the environment and the public's natural resources since Justinian times. The Doctrine holds that state governments hold natural resources, like the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the beds and banks underlying lakes and rivers, in public trust for the benefit of current and future generations. The Public Trust Doctrine is an evolving creature of state law and its application has been expanded widely to protect the public's right to navigation, fishing, and recreation, depending on the state.

About this Site
This site attempts to organize the wide variety of research and literature regarding the use of the Public Trust Doctrine to protect our environment and natural resources. Refer to the tabs to the left to navigate to lists of books, case law, law review articles, and websites referencing the Public Trust Doctrine's application to environmental protection.

Vermont Law School Water & Justice Program
The Water and Justice Program at Vermont Law School promotes the wise and sustainable use of water resources locally, nationally, and globally through research, education, and policy development. The program complements the law schools's outstanding faculty and diverse course offerings in the field of water law and policy. Learn more