Natural Resources

Fall 2011 Natural Resources Law Class at UB

Is Hamburg, NY the Next Avon-by-the-Sea? November 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ptgooch @ 6:00 pm

Reading Avon-by-the-Sea instantly brought to mind my hometown.  I am from Hamburg, NY a suburb a few miles to the south of Buffalo.  The western portion of the town is on Lake Erie.  Hamburg’s Coastline is a mix of small beaches and cliffs.  One such Beach is the Town of Hamburg Beach.  Growing up, I always knew that you needed a “sticker” to go to the beach.  As I grew older, I learned that “sticker” meant, a permit from the Town.  To get a yearly permit you pay a small fee and show proof that you are a town resident – usually a drivers license or your utility bill.  The permit gets slapped on the bumper of your car and you are allowed to park at the beach.  From my understanding the Town Beach and its facilities, lifeguards, snack shop, and fitness center, were ONLY for Town residents.  I may be wrong about this, but its my understanding.

So, the holding from Avon-by-the-Sea indicates that  if Hamburg was in NJ, it couldn’t restrict other state residents from using the beach.  So, I present this to you: does NY have a different view on the Public Trust Doctrine or if something else allows Hamburg to be so “exclusive?”

The Town of Hamburg Beach link states that the land was donated to the town “for its citizens recreational use.”  So it appears a restrictive covenant allows or forces Hamburg to restrict who uses the beach.

Interesting, so this government entity can discriminate?



Conserving Natural Resources by Protecting Land and Keeping Urban Areas Denser September 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ptgooch @ 5:01 pm

This article is light on law but heavy with its implications for Natural Resources Law and Conservation Law.  The article identifies how a mix of urban growth boundaries and a targeted policy using conservation easements can regulate land better (effectiveness considering various factors) than one or the other by itself.  This reminds me of the cases we read last week, where the government was telling individuals what they could or couldn’t do on government land.  With this approach it could be a mix of private and/or government telling you/contracting with you.  Its interesting and important because lands that we do want to protect often contain valuable natural resources, sometimes extractable and sometimes aesthetic.  An interesting article for anyone interested in land use and/or its environmental consequences!


Natural Resources, Endangered Species, and Administrative Law September 22, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ptgooch @ 12:40 pm

In this article from the NY Times we have it all: natural resources, endangered species and administrative law.   The article is about a law suit over fresh water that flows from the Sacramento River into the eastern marshes of the San Francisco Bay.  The State and agricultural water interests sued the Interior Department over a regulation promulgated by the Department.  The regulation at issue was the “zone of ideal salinity” for the endangered delta smelt, which the Department of Interior stated is no farther than 46 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.  Subsequently the Department of Interior called for more fresh water than the State and the agricultural interests desired to be let out into San Francisco Bay.  Therefore they sued to get it altered.

During the suit two scientists, one from the Bureau of Reclamation and  the other from Fish and Wildlife Services, testified that  fresh water is needed to flow into the San Francisco Bay to help the endangered delta smelt.  This part of the case is less legal and more sensational.  However the entire article is worth the read.  It shows the interplay between natural resources law, endangered species law and why administrative law is a requisite for anyone interested in environmental law.