WVU College of Law expands energy curriculum, adds six new courses

By Chris Dickerson | Apr 11, 2012


MORGANTOWN -– West Virginia University's College of Law will expand its curriculum of energy courses during the 2012-2013 academic year, adding six new energy law classes.

The College of Law is also boosting its energy law faculty with the addition of Professor Joshua Fershee this fall. Fershee, a former practitioner in the energy industry, joins WVU from the University of North Dakota, where he is currently an associate professor at its School of Law.

"This is an exciting time for energy law at WVU," said Jamie Van Nostrand, associate professor and director of the WVU College of Law Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. "With the addition of these six new classes, we will be offering 10 energy law courses during the 2012-2013 year. We expect to expand the energy curriculum further in subsequent years, as the law school completes its building addition and the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development moves into its new space."

The six new classes to be offered during the 2012-2013 academic year include courses focused on the siting and permitting of energy facilities; the science and technology of energy; the law and strategy of the energy business; renewable and alternative energy; and nuclear law and policy. The law school's existing energy law courses include an introductory survey course, coal, oil and gas law, and a course focused on energy regulation.

In addition to the energy law curriculum, the College of Law offers several more courses on environmental and sustainability issues, including natural resource law; environmental protection law; land use and sustainable development; and agriculture and rural land use law.

"We are moving quickly to expand our course offerings in energy and sustainable development," said WVU College of Law Dean Joyce McConnell. "The energy industry is the cornerstone of the economy in West Virginia, and we want our program to build upon West Virginia's tradition as an energy-producing state, with a focus on how to keep the energy flowing in a way that is sustainable."

Van Nostrand said that the course offerings were developed after consulting with law firms and lawyers in the energy industry.

"We want to prepare our students to be knowledgeable and contributing members of the energy bar," Van Nostrand said. "These courses will give our graduates the skills necessary to advise clients on the energy and environmental policies that exist today, as well as likely developments in the coming years. Environmental regulation of the energy industry is constantly evolving, and these courses will give our students the tools to help clients navigate the regulatory challenges of the future."

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