What is Natural Resources Law?

What is Natural Resources Law?Natural Resources law regulates the use of those areas of the environment that have certain economic or social advantages. In general, these advantages include wind or air, water, plants and soil, animals that live on the land, and the minerals and oil found underground.

Dependable attorneys at SBEMP (Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy, & Pinkney) law firm provides professional legal advice and services to clients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and surrounding communities across the landscape.


Need for Natural Resources Law

A primary and significant role of natural resources law is to determine the ownership rights to the resources located on the land.

In general, the landowner possesses these rights, especially pertaining to plants, soil, wind, light, and animals that are on the land during the time of capture. But this may not always be the case and will differ between states and towns.

For instance, while a landowner may be the technical “owner” of the trees on their land, they may be legally prohibited from cutting the trees due to environmental reasons. The natural resources law also regulates how people may derive advantages from environmental resources.

By itself, wind may not be very useful. However, it is vital to maintaining air quality. While landowners technically have rights on the wind and air surrounding their property, they will likely be disallowed to erect a windmill on their land as it will become an inconvenience to the neighbors.


Resource Preservation

Natural resource laws are crucial to protect resources that are scarce in a specific region, such as water and oil. States that have wet climates usually allow private landowners to possess the rights to water that touches their land.

Conversely, in states that are arid, the law may stipulate that no water can be owned privately and that all water bodies should be owned by the general public. If a public body has the rights to the water, natural resources regulations enable policymakers to determine who may use the water.

This law also defines regulations on the sale and purchase of natural resources. If someone has the rights to a resource, that person may likely be able to sell such rights in a manner that they determine appropriate. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.


Terms to Understand

  • Easement: Limitations on rights to use land that a person does not own.
  • Negative Easement: A commitment to not perform certain activities on land that does not belong to an individual. For instance, a person may have a negative easement on their property which disallows them from building a high wall which could potentially block neighbors from receiving sunlight.
  • Riparian Rights: The right of a landowner to water that touches their property.

Practice Areas

Natural resources attorneys are usually hired by organizations such as energy firms who gather natural resources and convert them into energy as a business function. In addition, natural resource lawyers are also engaged by governments to defend the right of the public to access natural resources.

Dedicated lawyers at the SBEMP law firm serves clients from Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Inland Empire, Orange County, San Diego, New Jersey, New York, and nearby locations for a range of legal practice areas.

For more information or to request a consultation please contact the law offices of 
SBEMP (Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy & Pinkney) by clicking here. 

SBEMP LLP is a full service law firm with attorney offices in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, Inland Empire, Rancho Mirage), CA; Costa Mesa (Orange County), CA; San Diego, CA; Princeston, NJ; and New York, NY.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by reading it. This blog post may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING in some states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained within this blog post. Before acting or relying upon any information within this newsletter, seek the advice of an attorney

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