University of Pittsburgh
March 29, 2011

Legal and Environmental Experts Tackle the Marcellus Shale in April 5 Forum Hosted by Pitt Law School

Daylong event hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Law Review and Pitt Law’s Innovation Practice Institute features legal and extraction-industry scholars and experts discussing issues from subsurface property rights to scientific and legal measures to address environmental concerns of natural gas extraction
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—With the intensified tapping of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves comes the need to examine the laws that apply—or should apply—to this burgeoning sector, from property rights to environmental standards. 

Legal and extraction-industry scholars and experts will bring the spirited parley regarding Marcellus Shale laws and regulations to the University of Pittsburgh with a daylong forum hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Law Review and the Pitt School of Law Innovation Practice Institute, which trains lawyers to represent entrepreneurs and start-up companies. The symposium, “Developing the Law of the Marcellus Shale: Innovation for a Prosperous Community, a Safe Environment, and a Common Law,” begins at 8 a.m. in Ballroom B, University Club, 123 University Place, Oakland. 

This event is free to the public except for a $10 fee for the lunch session payable by check. More information about the event and scheduled speakers, as well as event registration, is available on the Pitt law school Web site.

The morning session begins at 8:45 a.m. with a presentation by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, who will discuss Governor Tom Corbett’s plans to balance Marcellus Shale profitability with environmental and public well-being. 

Following Cawley, Ross Pifer, a Pennsylvania State University law professor, will present an overview of how to best address the legal, environmental, and community issues that have arisen during the past five years of Marcellus Shale activity. Afterward, David E. Pierce, a professor of law at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., will discuss the standardization of laws regarding the controversial gas-extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing, or “hydrofracking.” Finally, Kevin Abbott and Nicolle Snyder Bagnell, partners at the Pittsburgh office of Reed Smith, will survey recent court decisions affecting Marcellus Shale development in Pennsylvania. 

Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the Marcellus Shale Coalition industry consortium, will give the keynote address at the 12:30 p.m. lunch session. 

At 1:30 p.m., the afternoon session begins with a presentation on subsurface property rights by Owen Anderson, a University of Oklahoma law professor specializing in oil, gas, and natural resources, and R. Lee Gresham, a postdoctoral research fellow at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied property rights related to carbon dioxide sequestration. 

Then, an expert panel will discuss the scientific and regulatory measures being taken to address the environmental concerns of Marcellus Shale drilling. The panel includes Pitt law professor Jules Lobel; Emily Collins, a law professor and supervising attorney for Pitt’s Environmental Law Clinic; Blaine Lucas, an attorney and shareholder in the Pittsburgh office of corporate law firm of Babst, Calland, Clements, and Zomnir; and Radisav Vidic, Pitt professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering, who also is working on a $1.06 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to clean and reuse water used for hydrofracking. 

Holly Christie, editor-in-chief of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review, will present the symposium’s closing remarks. 

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3/29/11/tmw/lks

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