The Public Trust Doctrine: Piecing Together California's Groundwater Regulation.
Abstract: In 2014 California faced its driest year in recorded state history. During years of drought, with the state's surface water being depleted, water users must rely more heavily on groundwater. Waters users have a large thirst in California; with the state consistently being the largest agricultural exporter in the United States. For decades groundwater use was unregulated and encouraged un... read morelimited growth and investment in both agricultural regions and urban centers. Only in the past 20 years has local regulation been allowed, but not required, by the state. Additionally, there was no direct state oversight of the local regulation of groundwater until a new law was passed in September 2014. There is no doubt that a better regulatory structure must be put in place to protect California's vital resource; the question being: whether the public trust doctrine can save California's groundwater policy? The public trust doctrine is a legal concept that protects a natural resource for public use. California has one of the most expansive interpretations of the public trust doctrine of all the states, but both the courts and legislature have expressed no interest in expanding the doctrine to include groundwater. But, what if the doctrine were applied to groundwater regulation? The following thesis will analyze Fresno County's, the largest agricultural exporter in California, groundwater regulatory scheme, and revise the county's policy as if the public trust doctrine were expanded to include groundwater.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2015.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Jon Witten.
Committee: Sheldon Krimsky.
Keywords: Law, and Environmental law.read less