WVU law school competition to focus on fracking

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 28, 2013


MORGANTOWN – Law students from across the country will get the opportunity to tackle a hydraulic fracturing case at the annual National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition.

The competition is hosted by the West Virginia University College of Law and will be from March 14 to March 16.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is the collection of natural gas by injecting large volumes of liquid into shale rock formations.

The competition, which was established in 2011 by the WVU College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, is the first of its kind in the nation.

It is sponsored by Chesapeake Energy and hosted by the WVU College of Law Moot Court Board.

Law students participating in the competition sharpen their legal skills and network with industry professionals and government regulators.

William J. Maier Jr. Dean and Thomas R. Goodwin Professor of Law Joyce E. McConnell said the students also fain an awareness of important business and environmental issues facing the energy sector.

“West Virginia is at the center of energy production,” McConnell said. “As a result, the College of Law is able to play a significant role in the national dialogue on energy, the environment and sustainability. The moot court competition is one way that we do that.”

The energy moot court case this year is between a fictitious natural gas company and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The gas company is involved in fracking throughout several Mid-Atlantic States and is accused of violating the Clean Air Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The case problem was written by James Van Nostrand, an associate professor of law and director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development.

Van Nostrand was assisted by WVU law students Matthew Chase and Andrew Kirkner.

Two exhibition teams from the WVU College of Law will compete against teams from 13 universities: American, Campbell, Florida State, Pace, Texas Tech, Colorado, Dayton, Houston, Maryland, North Dakota, Richmond, Utah and Wyoming.

Preliminary rounds of the competition will be held at WVU’s Erickson Alumni Center on March 14 and March 15.

The semifinal and final rounds will be held on March 16 in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at the WVU College of Law.

The semifinals start at 9 a.m. and the final round begins at 2:30 p.m.

The semifinal and final rounds are free and open to the public.

For more information on the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition, visit energy.law.wvu.edu.

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