[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

GLIN==> Fwd: E-M:/ Court Reaffirms Balance Between Public Trust and Riparian Rights

>Delivered-To: enviro-mich-outgoing@glc.org
>Delivered-To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Date: Wed, 19 May 2004 09:35:36 -0400
>From: "Pam Burt" <pb@wabpc.com>
>X-Sender: <pb@wabpc.com>
>To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
>Subject: E-M:/ Court Reaffirms Balance Between Public Trust and Riparian 
>X-Mailer: <IMail v8.05>
>Sender: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Reply-To: "Pam Burt" <pb@wabpc.com>
>List-Name: Enviro-Mich
>X-Loop: enviro-mich
>Enviro-Mich message from "Pam Burt" <pb@wabpc.com>
>As the attorney for the plaintiff in this Michigan Court of Appeals 
>decision, I was surprised and disappointed by Chris Grubb's commentary on 
>the case.  The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council's position is out of pace 
>with what I thought that Council was all about.
>Because this case may well be heard by the Mich Supreme Court, I will not 
>dive into the legal issues in depth.  Suffice it to say that the right of 
>the public to walk the shores of our Great Lakes has never been squarely 
>addressed by the Michigan Courts until now.  The Attorney General opinion 
>cited by Mr. Grubb is not binding precedent on the courts, and was not 
>mentioned in the Court of Appeals decision.
>The Mich Court of Appeals relied principally upon what I view as a 
>tortured reading of the Hilt case decided in 1930 by the MI Supreme 
>Court.  In doing so, the court ignored a venerable body of law on the 
>Public Trust Doctrine extending back centuries to the law of the sea under 
>British common law.  The U. S. Supreme Court ruled that this law was 
>applicable to the Great Lakes (our great "inland seas") in a series of 
>cases decided a century ago.
>Like Ms. Gruenwald of the Tip of the Mitt, I too am a Great Lakes riparian 
>owner -- on Lake Huron.  In northeast Michigan where my elderly client and 
>I live, it has been the custom of the public to walk the shore of Lake 
>Huron for decades, as conceded by the defendant in our case.  We have not 
>done in the firmly held belief that it is our right, and not at the whim 
>of private property owners.
>For the Court of Appeals to hold that we have all been trespassing on 
>private property rights all these decades strikes a real blow to all of us 
>who believe in the principle that certain natural resources have such 
>great importance to the people as a whole that they should never be made 
>the subject of exclusive private use.
>The long stretches of sandy Great Lakes shoreline with which Michigan is 
>blessed are a gift of nature to all the people. In my experience, it has 
>always been the custom for the public to walk these natural highways of 
>our beautiful inland seas, along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, 
>and Lake Superior.  That the people have done so, within their rights, was 
>the conclusion of The National Public Trust Study by the Coastal States 
>Organization in 1990, which included the Chief of the Great Lakes 
>Shoreland Section of MDNR on its steering committee.
>These are difficult political times for everyone who cares deeply about 
>the Great Lakes.  I am saddened that there are those among us who support 
>depriving the public of yet another valuable right.
>Pamela Burt, Attorney
>Harrisville, Michigan
>(T) 989-724-7400
>(F) 989-724-7100
>email:  pb@wabpc.com

>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
>and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
glin-announce is hosted by the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN):

To subscribe: http://www.glin.net/forms/glin-announce_form.html

To post a message: http://www.glin.net/forms/glin-announce_post.html

To search the archive: http://www.glin.net/lists/glin-announce/

All views and opinions presented above are solely those of the author or
attributed source and do not necessarily reflect those of GLIN or its
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *