2013 Energy Law & Policy Institute
Pitt Law is set to host its inaugural Energy Law and Policy Institute on August 1 and 2. Read more about why Pitt Law is hosting and the event details here.
Upcoming Energy Law & Policy Institute Highlights the Changing Energy and Legal Landscape of Western Pennsylvania
After visitors land at Pittsburgh International Airport, they are greeted in the air side terminal by a fifty foot-long banner for the oil and gas exploration company, Range Resources. On the banner a green landscape and blue sky stretch ahead above the slogan “Economy, prepare for takeoff.” The banner is evidence of the company’s $1 billion natural gas exploration footprint in Western Pennsylvania.
But the picture-perfect hills on the banner may not tell the whole story of a company’s business and environmental impacts. According to the energy watchdog website FrackTrack.org, local oil and gas companies have paid out millions in fines for hundreds of permit and environmental violations. Wastewater disposal and proper land use are just one of the many topics up for discussion at the Energy Law & Policy Institute being hosted Aug. 1 and 2 by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Pitt Law Professor Emily Collins, who specializes in environmental regulation, and George Jugovic from the environmental advocacy group PennFuture are among the Institute’s panel speakers. Those wishing to attend this inaugural Energy Law & Policy Institute can RSVP at the Pitt Law website. The program is eligible for up to 10 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit.
A number of distinguished panel speakers will discuss a wide range of topics, such as tax incentive financing for energy projects, legal issues in pipeline construction, international energy exploration and the advent of smart electricity grids.
The new energy industry footprint in the region is part of the reason why a June 2013 National Law Journal Regional Report survey showed the city of Pittsburgh among the top five U.S. cities for law firm growth. Much of that growth has been fueled by major Pittsburgh law firms like K&L Gates and Reed Smith growing their oil and gas teams in response to Marcellus Shale gas exploration. Both of these major Pittsburgh-based law firms will have speakers present at the Institute to discuss how the energy industry has changed their business.
Range Resources along with other corporate energy players like Chesapeake Energy have rushed to Western Pennsylvania over the last five years to tap into the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation that could have, according to USGS estimates, as much as 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas available because of the advent of fracking and horizontal drilling. With the natural gas fracking gold rush comes the need for legal advisement, policymaking, environmental regulation and, in some cases, mediation and litigation between municipalities, landowners and corporate entities. Pittsburgh sits at the epicenter of a cutting-edge energy law and policy debate. This upcoming Institute brings together nationally renowned attorneys, industry representatives, government officials, academics, and non-profit groups to discuss emerging trends and build on the regional and national knowledge base regarding these critical issues.
Details on the Energy Law & Policy Institute schedule and information on attending can be reviewed on the Pitt Law website here.