Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Mining near the Grand Canyon November 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ktaylor3 @ 7:14 pm

Here is an interesting development in solar energy.  Scientists believe that it is possible to put solar panels into orbit, with the idea that they would collect sunlight 24 hours a day, and then transmit the energy back to Earth through mircowave transmitters, or lasers, or some other scientific manner that I don’t really understand.  The idea is really innovative, and theoretically could solve some of our energy problems.  One of the biggest knocks on solar power, is that the sun is not always out.  But, if the solar panel is following the sun; problem solved.  The idea is a good one on paper, but I’m not sure how feasible it is really is.  To begin with scientists project that economic viability is 30 years down the road.  Can we really wait that long to develop an alternative source of energy.  By the time 30 years rolls around, I would hope that we are not using the same energy sources we are today.  Also, putting solar panels into orbit would be incredibly expensive.  Solar panels here on Earth are already expensive enough.  While this idea doesn’t seem feasible, it’s still encouraging to see new, innovative ideas.


My apologies Matt, I did not see that you had already blogged about this.

Update in the realm of mining: there are those who believe that land near the Grand Canyon should be opened up to mining.  By some accounts, this land is home to the nation’s second largest source of uranium, so people want to open it up to mining; claiming that it could create thousands of jobs.  This story was a complete surprise to me.  I never would have thought that this would be a discussion.  The Grand Canyon seems like something so sacred that no one would dare propose mining near it.  I find my own reaction interesting, because I have never been there, but yet I am astounded and angered that it is even considered.  The good news is that President Obama proposed a plan that would withdraw 1 million acres of public land from mining for twenty years.  But, is twenty years enough?


National Security vs. Environmental Law November 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ktaylor3 @ 2:32 am

In an effort to further secure the northern border, Congress is considering a proposal that could give deference to the border patrol agency over environmental laws. Evidently the bill could allow the agency to build new roads, establish bases, and use motorized equipment on lands designated wilderness, in an effort to secure the border between the United States and Canada. The biggest fight is taking place in Montana, where most of the state’s border with Canada is federal land. Supporters of this bill are arguing that environmental laws should not stand in the way of national security. On the other hand, opponents of the bill are arguing that there is insufficient evidence to establish that illegal border crossings are a problem. Opponents argue that illegal border crossings from Canada are in fact incredibly rare in comparison to the number of illegal crossings that occur at the Mexican border.

Crazier things have been done in the name of national security, so this will be interesting situation to keep tabs on.