WVU College of Law to present two-day exploration of Marcellus Shale issues

By The West Virginia Record | Oct 13, 2011

MORGANTOWN -- West Virginia University's College of Law leaders have rounded up an array of experts from the public and private sector for an information-based two-day exploration of economic and regulatory issues surrounding one of the most significant energy developments in the history of Appalachia – Marcellus Shale natural gas recovery.

Marcellus Shale drilling – its economic potential and the regulatory conundrums faced by state lawmakers in protecting the economy and the environment – is the subject of "Drilling Down on Regulatory Challenges: Balancing Preservation and Profitability in the Development of Shale Gas Resources" set for Oct. 27 and 28 on the WVU campus.

There will be a reception and banquet featuring keynote speaker Sen. Joe Manchin at 6 p.m.Thursday, Oct, 27 at the WVU Erickson Alumni Center. Speakers and panel discussions will be held at the Marilyn E. Lugar Courtroom (room 165) from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28

Registration is $150 for the entire event. For more information or to register see http://energy.law.wvu.edu/events or contact Samantha Stefanov at 304-293-5301 or samantha.stefanov@mail.wvu.edu.

The event will focus on key topics facing public and private policy makers and feature more than a dozen experts who will share their input and expertise on topics associated with the development of shale gas resources.

"The energy industry is a cornerstone of the West Virginia economy," WVU College of Law Dean Joyce McConnell said. "WVU is helping to shape the energy and environmental policies that go with that economic potential. That is why we created the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the WVU College of Law and that is why we are proud of this effort to bring an unbiased discussion of natural gas recovery issues to the people who can best use that information."

The lunchtime keynote speaker on Friday is Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association, and a former seven-term U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma.

James M. Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, said that the event, which is supported by a grant from WVU's Advanced Energy Initiative, will present points of view from across the spectrum through talks by industry experts, regulators, policy makers, representatives of environmental groups, and concerned citizens in a thoughtful and inclusive discussion.

Topics to be covered include:

* perspective of state regulators in the Marcellus Region, highlighting remarks by representatives from environmental protection agencies in New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio

* experience from other shale regions

* a model regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing developed by representatives from industry and environmental organizations

* perspectives of industry and other stakeholders, featuring input from representatives of industry, environmental organizations, community and public interest groups

* local regulation of shale gas production addressing the question: Do local governments have a role in regulating the development of shale gas resources?

* economic Benefits of shale gas production, examining economic benefits of developing shale gas resources

Experts who will present at the event include:

* Mark K. Boling, executive vice president and general counsel, Southwestern Energy Company

* Elizabeth Burleson, associate professor of law, Pace Law School, Pace University

* Hanna Chang, attorney, Earthjustice

* Heather Corken, partner, Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P.

* Joshua P. Fershee, associate dean for academic affairs and research and associate professor of law, University of North Dakota School of Law

* Stuart F. Gruskin, partner, Gruskin Gordon

* Thomas Kinnaman, department chair and professor of economics, Bucknell University

* Christopher S. Kulander, professor of law, Texas Tech University School of Law

* David McMahon, attorney at law

* Ben Price, projects director, The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

* Jerry Richey, executive vice president, corporate affairs and chief legal officer at Consol Energy and CNX Gas Company

* Matt Watson, senior energy policy specialist with the Environmental Defense Fund

* Tom S. Witt, director, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, WVU College of business and Economics

* James A. Walls, member in charge of the Morgantown office, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development was created at WVU to: conduct objective, unbiased research and policy analyses; provide a forum for issues to be explored by stakeholders; and to promote policies that strike a balance between the development of energy resources and protection of the valuable air and water supplies upon which future generations will depend.

Seminar support is provided through a grant from WVU's Advanced Energy Initiative which coordinates University-wide energy research, including work in basic science, technology, engineering and public policy.

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