For Further Consideration
Hypothetical Case Scenario
Following the closure of a naval base, the General Services Administration
announced plans to sell the property, on which are located many acres of filled
- Develop USA, Inc. has put together a bid proposal that would convert the
property to a gated residential community.
- The local Congressman is promoting legislation that would grant the naval
base property to Conglomerated Industries, Inc. in exchange for an ecologically
rare tract of timber.
- The state has announced that any disposition of the naval base property
must be consistent with state policy that provides for the creation of public
access upon use conversion of filled lands, and has requested that any deed
for the property include public access easements.
- The General Services Administration has refused the state’s request
and the state has filed for an injunction to block the transfer of the property.
- What additional facts are needed about the property title held by the
- What argument can be made that the Public Trust interest cannot be revived
once it is extinguished?
- What arguments can be made that the Public Trust interest in the filled
lands is merely dormant and can be revived?
Suggested Case Studies
In the 1892 case of Shively v. Bowlby, a dispute over whether a
federal or state grant of lands under navigable waters was controlling,
the U.S. Supreme Court discussed the pre-statehood status of lands beneath
submerged lands as one of federal policy rather than constitutional limitation.
Pisarski, Genevieve, “Testing the Limits of the Federal Navigational
Servitude,” Ocean and Coastal Law Journal, Volume 2, Number