Experts in a variety of fields came together on Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus on Friday, September 27th for a symposium to examine natural gas extraction from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale through hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” and what it means for sustainable development.
Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach
, the co-director of Widener Law’s Environmental Law Center
and the conference’s organizer, framed the discussion for the day with an overview of just how important and far-reaching the developments in Pennsylvania are for energy, security, and the economy. He observed that the rest of the world can learn from Pennsylvania’s experiences with “fostering sustainability of shale gas production.”
Emphasizing the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates economic, societal, and environmental needs to frame the discussion in the context of sustainable development, Dernbach set the stage for the first panel, which featured an overview of shale gas law and technology from Professor and Environmental Law Center co-director James R. May
; a consideration of sustainability issues related to shale gas by Diana Stares, director of the Center for Energy Policy and Management at Washington & Jefferson College; and a consideration of Pennsylvania’s environmental regulatory experience with Shale gas by Scott Perry from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Additional panels focused on public health, environmental sustainability, community sustainability, and governance. Law student Timothy Bishop also made a special lunchtime presentation based on his article “North to the Future: Modeling Pennsylvania’s Development of Natural Gas After Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend,” the 2012-13 Widener Law Journal Best Student Article.
Widener Law commends all of the speakers for sharing their expertise on this important topic, and thanks all those who attended – whether in person or via the live webcast!