Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Possible Endangered Species November 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — minderlern25 @ 4:13 pm

The New York Times reports that there is growing concern about the widespread consumption of the Chambered Nautilus.  I won’t go into details about the animal, but it lives in a very intricate shell.  People want to buy its shell (and kill the living creature inside) because it is pretty to look at and makes attractive jewelry.   Apparently, they have been disappearing on a steady basis because people show them “too much love.”

I had never heard of this animal before I found the article, but a quick search on eBay showed that it really is in high demand – and the shells are not very cheap.

Marine Biologists have been studying this species decline in order to determine if they should try to have it listed as an endangered species to stop the consumer trade of the shell.  Although it is not found in any waters near the U.S., the FWS has sent in scientists to analyze its habitat.  They have found that the creature is not nearly as prevalent as it used to be.  As of right now, there are no measures in palce that put quotas on fishing for the creature – so fisherman can catch and sell as many as they want.

The article was interesting to me because I did not think the FWS had that much power outside of the U.S.  Can the Commerce Clause be expanded that much?  Maybe they could argue the shells are being sold in the U.S. market.  Or perhaps they are just finding specific numbers for others to use to decide if the creature should be endangered?


Fossil Fuels and Green Tech November 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — minderlern25 @ 12:19 am

We haven’t really touched upon fossil fuels in class, but the topic interests me.  Let me preface this by saying that I am in no way an expert on fossil fuels and green technology.  But I find myself intrigued on how both areas have effected car development.

It seems to me that the cars as we know it are being gradually phased out for hybrid and electric vehicles.  But surprisingly, I just found an article explaining how fossil fuels are actually “out-innovating green tech.”  New techniques have been developed to utilize these fuels in areas it was not previously thought possible.  Hopefully this means that gas prices will not continually be on the rise.

It is also interesting to note that even in the shadow of major oil disasters, those companies are finding new ways to find this resource.  They are keeping the costs low and making it more difficult for green companies to get their start.

As much as gasoline pollutes the environment, I am glad that these new innovations will keep around the internal combustion engine a little while longer.  I enjoy getting in my car and driving places – I don’t just use it as a method to get from point A to B.  I am not saying that is a bad thing.  In fact, hybrid and electric cars are much more efficient in that regard, they just lack the thrill of getting behind the wheel.  But even with these new technologies, hybrid cars are still overpriced for the average purchaser and electric technology has not developed enough to make them a viable way of transport.  Until a car like the Chevy Volt can drive more than 35 miles on just electricity, it will not compete.

Overall, I am in favor of continuing to develop clean diesel technologies and perhaps looking into hydrogen power and other ways to power our vehicles.  I just hope it doesn’t take away the enjoyment of getting in a car and going on a drive.

If anyone watches Top Gear, this is a great little segment about Clarkson’s fear of the end of high performance cars.  I highly recommend watching it, even just for the pretty pictures that we all enjoy from class!