Surfrider Foundation Presents at United States Supreme Court
Washington, DC (December 1, 2009) - On December 2, 2009, the United States Supreme Court will hear the case of Florida Department of Environmental Protection v. Stop the Beach Renourishment to decide whether a private property owner has the right to exclude the public from access across the sandy beach in front of their property, when it has been filled with taxpayer-funded sand. The private property owner is claiming a “judicial takings” of their property due to Florida beach management program’s dredging efforts.
Surfrider Foundation petitioned the United States Supreme Court, with an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief in this case to remember and defend beach access rights and public trust law in the state of Florida. Surfrider Foundation’s brief, written by talented pro bono attorneys at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, argues that the state’s current regime properly allocates the beach access rights to the public after any beach management efforts have occurred. Specifically, the brief argues that the Florida beach access provisions of the beach management program are constitutional on their face, that the private property owner’s private rights are not affected by the Florida law, and that the Judicial Takings Doctrine of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment are not applicable in this case. Furthermore, theFlorida law at issue provides reasonable and appropriate measures to enable the State of Florida to discharge its obligations to the citizens of Florida as trustee, under Article X of the Florida Constitution, of the public’s rights of access to the State’s lands to navigable waters.
"Private landowners should not have the right to unilaterally act in a manner that negatively impacts coastlines or public access to the beach. The State of Florida has adopted a reasonable approach that
balances these important public and private rights," says Steve Combs of the Surfrider Foundation Atlanta Chapter who travels to Florida beaches on the weekends.
“This amicus brief effort will undoubtedly continue to bolster the Surfrider Foundation’s 25 years of defending beach access rights and complements our legislation and litigation beach access efforts in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Hawaii, and elsewhere around the nation,” says Angela Howe, Surfrider Foundation’s Legal Manager.
http://flbeachaccess.blogspot.com/ (case brief)
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