On September 8, CLC attorney Jeff Hyman will be defending the Public Trust with clients Save the Dunes and Alliance for the Great Lakes. The argument is open to the Public and begins 1:00 PM in the Supreme Court Courtroom (room 317) at the State Courthouse in Indianapolis. All are welcome to attend.
For a good portion of the year, CLC has been representing Friends of the White River in a Tree Clearing Settlement Agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to ensure that the proposed tree clearing on the Indianapolis banks of the White River represents the community as well as the safety concerns it addresses.
Director Bill Weeks spoke at Friends of the White River annual meeting this February. CLC has been assisting FOTWR in negotiations with the DNR about tree removal on the White River levee.
At the event, President Dan Valleskey presented the organization's annual award to CLC. The hand-made carved paddle represents FOTWR's gratitude for CLC's legal council.
The Conservation Law Center is representing Friends of the White River in contesting a plan to strip vegetation in the White River corridor from Broad Ripple to Kessler in Indianapolis. This much loved urban oasis is home to mature bottomland hardwood forest of considerable ecological value. Apparently relying on outdated advice from the Corps of Engineers, the City of Indianapolis has claimed that the riverside levee must be clear of vegetation in order to obtain a safety certification. CLC will argue that Congress has changed the law as to vegetation clearing, and that the city's application for a permit to clear the trees should be denied.
The Center has been representing the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Save the Dunes in a lawsuit in which certain owners of lakeside property claim ownership of the beach of Lake Michigan right down to the water's edge. The trial court decided that it wasn't a proper forum to settle the ownership question, but affirmed our argument that regardless of ownership, any activity on the land in question must be consistent with the "public trust,"" a legal doctrine that is meant to protect the public's interest in the values of certain critical natural resources.