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Document Type

Article

Abstract

This Article examines how existing state laws, including coastal property law and public trust doctrines, are likely to create challenges for the implementation of adaptation strategies proposed to address the effects of climate change—specifically, accelerated sea level rise, increased coastal flooding and storm-related erosion—on coastlines and connected natural resource areas, such as beaches, coastal wetlands, and tidelands. The Article uses Massachusetts, with its highly evolved body of coastal property law and public trust doctrine, as a case study. Mindful of U.S. Supreme Court takings doctrine, the Article analyzes the likely legal challenges to climate change adaptation strategies recently proposed for Massachusetts’s coastal zone, and concludes with some preliminary suggestions to balance private property rights with the emerging public policy imperative for climate change adaptation.

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