December 20, 2011
On December 7, 2011, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana. This case involves a dispute over title to portions of various riverbeds in the State of Montana, riverbeds now occupied by hydropower projects owned by a utility company. The dispute turns on the extent to which the rivers involved are deemed “navigable,” because States generally take title to lands beneath navigable waters. The question before the Court is whether the test for navigability looks only to the navigability of a river at the time the State joined the Union, or also includes subsequent and present-day use.
To discuss the case we have Donald Kochan, who is a Professor at the Chapman University School of Law.