Crimes against nature: how George W. Bush and his corporate pals are plundering the country and high-jacking our democracy
In this powerful and far-reaching indictment of George W. Bush's White House, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the country's most prominent environmental attorney, charges that this administration has taken corporate cronyism to such unprecedented heights that it now threatens our health, our national security, and democracy as we know it... --from the book jacket.
See: Sarah van Gelder. Yes Magazine. May 27, 2010. "Protecting our Water Commons: Interview with Robert Kennedy Jr."
van Gelder: How important is the public trust doctrine in enforcing the idea that the waters are a commons and that ordinary people have a right to it?
Kennedy: There are two ancient laws that underlie all modern environmental laws: One is the nuisance doctrine that essentially says you can use your property any way you want, but if you pollute and it escapes your property and goes onto somebody else’s property, you’re violating the law.
The other is the public trust doctrine, which says you can’t do anything that is going to diminish the commons, which includes any property that is not susceptible to private property ownership, like air, water, the fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, the wandering animals, rivers, streams, shorelines, aquifers, underground rivers, etc. Everybody has the right to use the commons, but nobody can use them in a way that diminishes their use and enjoyment by others.
This is ancient law that goes back to Roman times when every citizen—rich or poor, humble or noble, African or European—had a right to cross the beach, throw in a net, and take out a share of the fish. And the emperor himself couldn’t stop them.
The first thing that happens in a tyranny is the privatization of the public trust by powerful entities...
See: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Feb. 19, 2004. The Nation. "The Junk Science of George W. Bush".
Barlow, Maude. 2009. Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water. The New Press, June 1.