Save the Dunes opposes bill which would gut Lake Michigan shoreline access ruling
The Long Beach Community Alliance (LBCA) and Save the Dunes are warning that Indiana Senate Bill 581 poses a grave threat to Indiana public’s rights on the shoreline as well as to the management of upland dunes, affecting more than just Lake Michigan’s coastal communities.
Coming on the heels of the news from the U.S. Supreme Court--which affirmed the Indiana Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Gunderson v. State that the State of Indiana owns the Lake Michigan shore in trust for the public--on Feb. 21 the Indiana Senate adopted S.B. 581 which threatens to undo that decision and put the public’s right to use and enjoy the shore in jeopardy, LBCA and Save the Dunes said in a statement released on Wednesday.
“Having lost at every level of litigation from the trial court to the U.S. Supreme Court, the same wealthy lakefront homeowners, developers, and out-of-state public trust challengers, such as the Pacific Legal Foundation, who funded the Gunderson litigation, are now funding a lobbying effort behind S.B. 581 in the General Assembly to circumvent the Gunderson decision and, by a backdoor, are again trying to privatize the Lake Michigan public trust beach and to open it to reckless development,” the statement said.
S.B. 581 would specifically create a new and confusing unregulated “zone” on the Lake Michigan shore, which would extend above the ordinary high water mark onto municipally owned lots, park land, and dunes as well as below the ordinary high water mark onto the pubic beach.
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