Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Regulations for Hydrofracking October 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — brendansmcgrath @ 11:43 pm

After a discussion in Land Use Planning over Hydrofracking, I found the proposed regulations for Hydrofracking. Enjoy


Electric Cars October 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — brendansmcgrath @ 5:11 pm

A couple years ago I saw the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. While I am sure some of its claims are exaggerated and definitely slanted, it illustrates how effectively the oil and auto companies can stall and even destroy viable alternatives to the internal combustion engine. It tells the story of the EV-1, an entirely electric vehicle released by GM in response to a proposed piece of legislation in California mandating that by 2003, 10% of all new vehicles sold had to be zero emissions vehicles.The vehicle came out in 1996 with a second model coming out in 1999. The second model with the newest battery technology at the time had a range of 160 miles between charges and an electronically set top speed of 80mph. Additionally, the EV-1 required almost no maintenance since it didn’t have a traditional engine.

Eventually GM decided to scrap its fleet of EV-1’s citing the lack of a viable market for the vehicle at the time. When they scrapped the program, GM also sold off their controlling share in the battery technology that was developing rapidly. The patent for the battery was eventually sold to Texaco, who was bought up by Chevron. Needless to say they weren’t exactly chomping at the bit to further develop and liscence the technology at the time. Essentially they bought the patent to shelve it till they could make a massive profit off of it. I recently saw a trailer for a new documentary coming out soon called The Revenge of the Electric Car dealing with the new generation of Electric Vehicles coming onto the market. It seems that there has been a resurgence of desire for fossil fuel free vehicles and hopefully a viable market. In fact many major american auto companies are staking their revival on the hope that an electric vehicle market will explode (The Chevy Volt is a great example of this).


Coming soon to New York: Hydrofracking October 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — brendansmcgrath @ 8:31 pm

I have been hearing a lot lately about Hydrofracking and how we in New York are on the verge of allowing this to occur. Some towns in central and western New York will soon be the home of there very own hydrofracking facility.

Some towns in New York are seeking ways to prevent the drilling from occurring in their towns. One such town, Dryden, is the site of a major lawsuit by Anschutz Exploration Corporation seeking to invalidate an amendment to the local zoning law expressly banning all gas drilling within the town. Anschutz claims that the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) prohibits local governments from regulating drilling. The town counters that they are not seeking to regulate the drilling but rather to ban it. Many Towns throughout upstate New York have passed similar zoning laws. This case will inform how the conflict between home rule authority to pass zoning laws and the ECL’s interest in consistent regulation will be resolved.
Hydrofracking is currently in its public comment period and will be till December. The State expects to start issuing permits early next year.
Posted below is a series of newspaper articles discussing this issue: