Ransoming the Maine Environment

G. Graham Waite, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law


The call for natural resource conservation is widely heard today. Purity of air and water are goals that most persons seem to endorse, at least in the abstract. The dollar costs of governmental programs for achieving relatively clean air and water doubtless are high, making questions of who bears them important. Some recent decisions of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court suggest that in Maine the major costs will be paid by taxpayers at large rather than by individual resource users. Beginning in 1967, the court has struck down attempted exercises of the police power to regulate the use of water and land.