The Frack Panel: Drilling Down on Representation and Timing Issues
By Jennifer Smolken
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011
 
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has long had a Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) to advise it. In January 2011, following through on President Obama’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future” (a comprehensive plan to reduce America’s oil dependence, save consumers money, and make our country the leader in clean energy), DOE Secretary Steven Chu created a three-member panel, the “Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Natural Gas Subcommittee,” aka the frack panel. In creating the frack panel, Chu extended membership beyond existing SEAB members to purportedly include the natural gas industry, states, and environmental experts. The frack panel is supported by DOE, the Department of Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In May 2011, Chu expanded the frack panel to seven members. Full Article
 
Re-Energizing Pennsylvania’s Solar Energy Industry
By Neil A. Cooper and Daniel J. Bauer
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011
 
According to media reports, the Pennsylvania solar energy industry is faltering. This situation is surprising given that solar power development grew quickly in the commonwealth in the last several years, largely due to an aggressive system of incentives to encourage solar energy development. What happened? What can be done to revitalize Pennsylvania’s solar industry? Full Article

  
Regulating Green Energy on the Local Level

  By Robert T. McClintock and Mark Thompson

The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011

As more individuals and businesses look to green energy technologies such as solar arrays and wind turbines to deliver clean energy, local governments across the commonwealth will endeavor to look to support these technologies, while also regulating where and how these systems are used through traditional land use regulations. Full Article

 

State-Federal Battle Over Electric Capacity Prices
By Robert A. Weishaar Jr.
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011
 
Electricity customers throughout the mid-Atlantic region pay billions of dollars each year for electric capacity. These payments are in addition to payments for electric energy, transmission service, distribution services and various electricity-related social programs. Full Article

 
Injury and Occupational Exposure in Pennsylvania From the Marcellus Shale Gas Exploration
By G. Jay Habas and Jon Casey Watson
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011

The Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania has spurred a boom in natural gas exploration and led to an explosion in job opportunities, lucrative land leases and concerns over environmental hazards. The process of extracting natural gas from the shale through hydraulic fracturing (fracking) involves use of various chemical additives which return to the surface along with the natural gas. Those working in the field drilling the wells, extracting the natural gas and performing related activities are exposed to these chemicals, along with all of the injury hazards inherent in this work. Full Article

 
Electric Competition: What’s in the Contract?
By Daniel Clearfield and Carl Shultz
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011

Competition in electric service has come to Pennsylvania in earnest. Customers can choose between the “default” electric utility in their area and its competitors for the portion of their bill that deals with the generation of electricity. Customers can seek the lowest price or find special services. Full Article
 

Natural Gas Regulation in the Municipal Government Context
By Jordan B. Yeager and Vincent J. Magyar Jr.
The Legal Intelligencer
July 26, 2011
 
Pennsylvania regulates the oil and gas industry primarily through its Oil and Gas Act, which, together with its related regulations, sets forth requirements and procedures for, among other things, obtaining a drilling permit, permit objections, well registration, establishing a lease arrangement with surface landowners, bonding requirements and protecting fresh ground water. Full Article