Public Trust Doctrine

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The Public Trust Doctrine is a legal principle that requires a state to keep navigable waters within that state a public resource available for citizens to use for navigation, commerce and fishing, generally up to the average high water mark. The idea of a state holding navigable waters in trust for all citizens is rooted in English Common Law. Some states have expanded this doctrine to including recreation, scenic beauty and environmental protection, including for flora and fauna. The Public Trust Doctrine is important to fracking because environmental groups have begun using it as a means for suing to stop or limit fracking.[1]

See also