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Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida, Inc
2029 North Third Street
Jacksonville Beach
Florida 32250
(904) 247-1972 x420

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What is the Public Trust?

Public Trust Public Trust Law

The "Public Trust Doctrine" is an ancient legal doctrine dating back to the Roman Code of Justinian in 539 A.D. and holds that public lands and waters are held in trust for the use of all people. The doctrine has withstood the test of time and even became codified in the Florida Constitution in 1970.

The primary focus of the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida is to uphold this doctrine through the zealous protection of the City of Jacksonville's Preservation Project and other federal and state protected lands and waters.


Commonly known as the "Public Trust," we pursue legal means, including litigation if necessary, to protect and preserve the public lands and waters. Additionally, we support the education of political leaders, government officials and citizens by participating in speaking engagements and writing articles and letters. The Public Trust also promotes the use and enjoyment of land and waters within the public trust.

Legal News

Click on any title to read more about each news story!

  • Public Trust Sues Jaxport

    WHEN: Wednesday, May 7th, 10:30 am
    WHERE: Front steps of the Duval County Courthouse
    501 W Adams Street
    Jacksonville, FL 32202

    The lawsuit involves Jaxport's refusal to disclose information given to Martin Associates that is being used as the basis for the expenditure of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to dynamite and deepen the St. Johns River harbor.

    Representatives of the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida and the St. Johns Riverkeeper will be present at the press conference to provide copies of the legal papers and to answer questions about the lawsuit.

    For more information email Andrew D. Miller,  or call 904.247.1972, extension 420.

  • Legal Update: We Won!

    Judge Clark of the 1st District Court of Appeals issued a ruling on April 25, 2014 declaring that the Secretary of the Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission (FLWAC) reversibly erred when he unilaterally declined the Putnam County Environmental Council's (PCEC) Request for a Review of the St. Johns River Water Management District's (SJRWMD) 4th Addendum to the 2005 Water Supply Plan.

    The case was brought by the PCEC with John Thomas as counsel, and the Public Trust was hired by St. Johns Riverkeeper, Florida Audubon Society, and Florida Defenders of the Environment to file an amicus brief.

  • Keystone XL Pipeline

    The Keystone XL Pipeline, perhaps the most controversial environmental issue facing the nation today, continues to smolder.

    To be clear, the Keystone Pipeline already exists, it currently transports crude oil in an underground pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska. What is now being challenged is the proposed addition, the Keystone XL, which would connect the Nebraska pipeline to Canada's tar sands region and run all the way down into Texas along the Gulf Coast. The project has been in limbo for some time and awaits a decision from the President about whether to approve or deny the necessary permits.  On March 22nd, the Senate voted on a nonbinding budget resolution 494 which merely encouraged the construction of the pipeline. The vote was 62 to 37 in favor of the pipeline. Florida senator, Bill Nelson was among a short list of Democrats who voted for the amendment. Republican Marco Rubio also voted in favor of the pipeline. The strong support for the legislation has been interpreted to put increasing pressure on President Obama to approve the necessary permits and move forward with construction.