Widener Law event extracts lessons on sustainability from Marcellus Shale development
Public Relations - Published: September 25, 2013
Widener Law and its Environmental Law Center will present a first-of-its-kind program on what hydraulic fracturing, known commonly as “fracking,” means for an environmentally sustainable America.

The Sept. 27 daylong event will be held on the Widener Law campus in Harrisburg, Pa. – a state at the epicenter of rapidly evolving national efforts to develop deep shale gas reserves. The program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in room A180 of the school administration building at 3737 Vartan Way.

Six panels will examine topics such as public health, environmental sustainability, community sustainability and energy, climate change and ethics. Law student Timothy Bishop will make the lunchtime presentation, “North to the Future: Modeling Pennsylvania’s Development of Natural Gas After Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend.”

The conference has been designed to assess what has been learned from Pennsylvania’s experience about the role of law in fostering sustainability of shale gas production, how those lessons translate elsewhere and what more needs to be done so that the practice contributes to a sustainable future.

“In fewer than 10 years, technology, politics and market forces have made Marcellus Shale available for large-scale natural gas extraction,with game-changing consequences for the United States, Pennsylvania and many Pennsylvania communities,” Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach said. He co-directs the Environmental Law Center and is spearheading the event. “Advocates of shale gas development often emphasize its benefits and minimize its costs, and opponents often do just the opposite. In truth, the only way forward for shale gas is to produce overall economic, community, and environmental benefits – in other words, to be sustainable.”

“This conference will provide information, ideas and recommendations that can be used to make Marcellus Shale development more sustainable and identify issues that pose a challenge to the sustainability of shale gas,” Dernbach said.

Pennsylvania and Delaware attorneys who attend the event will be eligible for seven continuing legal education credits, including one ethics credit. The program, however, is open to everyone, from law and policy makers to industry professionals and ordinary citizens who want to learn more about practices and efforts to achieve sustainability.

The cost to attend in person for continuing education credits is $150. The fee is $125 for Widener Law alumni, government lawyers and members of the public not seeking credits. The cost includes continental breakfast, lunch, snacks and materials. The program is free for students who attend in person, without meals.

The media is invited and encouraged to attend at no cost. The event will also be webcast and available free for viewing by clicking here.

To register to attend in person, contact Sandra Graeff at 717.541.3965 or slgraeff@widener.edu.