Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Assignment #1 September 21, 2011

Natural Resources Law Assignment #1.

The Finger Lakes National Forest (New York’s only National Forest) encompasses 16,212 acres nestled between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. The Forest has over 30 miles of interconnecting trails that traverse gorges, ravines, pastures, and woodlands.

The U.S. Forest Service is worried about the impacts on the Finger Lakes National Forest from activities in the surrounding areas. They have proposed three new policies:

  1. No billboards may be placed within the view of the Finger Lakes National Forest because such billboards hamper scenic enjoyment of the forest.
  2. Motor vehicles may not idle for more than 30 seconds when there are within 20 miles of the Finger Lakes National Forest because the emissions from the vehicles has a harmful effect on the flora and fauna in the forest as well as detracting from the experience of recreational users in the forest.
  3. Anyone seeking to snowmobile in the Forest must obtain a permit to do so, and no more than 50 permits will be issued in any single month. Limiting snowmobile use will protect the flora and fauna while improving the experience of other forest visitors.

You are a junior associate at a law firm. A client of the firm has asked for an evaluation of whether they should challenge any of these policies. A senior partner has asked you to write a memo of (no more than 1000 words) for the client addressing two main points: (1) assess whether the Property Clause provides adequate justification for these policies and (2) outline what your client would need to show to demonstrate that it has standing to bring a challenge.

You may choose from one of the three following clients:

  1. The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce in Ithaca, NY.
  2. The Finger Lakes Snowmobile Club
  3. Sierra Club

This assignment is worth 20% of your grade in this course and is due electronically on Friday October 7, 2011 at 4pm. You should e-mail your assignment to Linda Kelly, lkelly@buffalo.edu. Please do not put your name on the assignment or otherwise indicate authorship. I will deduct 10 points for each day (or fraction thereof) that the assignment is late. If you need any accommodations, please contact Melinda Saran, saran@buffalo.edu. Any questions about the assignment can be asked in  the comments section below.

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5 Responses to “Assignment #1”

  1. Amy Tornambe Says:

    I was just wondring if we should be going into the standards of Judicial Review (arbitrary and capricious, etc.) for the paper? Thanks.

    • I see no need to do that, but if you think it will strengthen your memo, go for it.

      • neasasen Says:

        I am confused, do I need to find an enabling statute for the basis of the proposed policies? Or am I just deciding whether our client could potentially challenge the policies based on the Property Clause? I guess the confusion stems from the fact that all the cases are based on statutes, and these are proposed regulations.

  2. Lots of people have been stumbling into my office with questions about standing today. I hate to be annoying about this but many of the questions are more specific than I am willing to answer at this point. Think about what you would write if a senior partner gave you this assignment. It may be legit to say “we would need to know x to show that our client has standing” or “we need to know x about the process or underlying laws.”

    This is not an exercise about forestry law. (we start learning about forests next week) so I am not expecting you to delve into any of those laws. Address only whether the property clause forms an adequate basis for these policies.

    Hope that vague answer helped

  3. An exchange I had on e-mail;

    > On 10/6/2011 10:20 AM, Rick Ahrens wrote:
    >
    > Hi, Prof. Owley:
    > I have a quick question about the memo’s format. I know we have broad latitude in how we structure it, but I was curious about how we should present cases. Do we need to offer explicit analogies between the cases and the regulations at issue, or is it enough to state the current precedent and how the holdings alone apply to the case? The standard memo format we learned last year generally impressed the importance of really explicit analogies, but I’m not sure the word limit for the assignment can accommodate that kind of detail.
    > Thank you!
    > Rick

    > On Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 11:06 AM, Jessica Owley wrote:
    >
    > Hey Rick
    >
    > This is just a much more specific question than I am willing to answer. Just think about what would be helpful to you if you were the person reading the memo within the confines of your word limits. Most court filings have page limits and attorneys have to strike the balance between conciseness and providing enough detail all the time.
    >
    > Good luck

    On 10/6/2011 4:32 PM, Rick Ahrens wrote:
    > Thanks! One more administrative question: are memo headings and the “To, From, Date, Re:” lines exempted from the word total, or just our citations?
    >
    > Rick

    Those are not exempt from the word count but do not feel the need to have an overly formalistic heading (I don’t need date for example)


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