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2015 Villanova Environmental Law Journal Blank Rome LLP Symposium

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Pennsylvania Environmental and Energy Update

Friday, February 20, 2015

The 2015 Villanova Environmental Law Journal Blank Rome LLP Symposium explores how the arrival of the Wolf Administration in Harrisburg will affect energy and environmental policies in the Keystone State. Leading energy and environmental experts will discuss how this change in gubernatorial administrations is likely to affect important state issues such as a severance tax and the next Act 70 climate change action plan.

The Symposium takes place on Friday, February 20, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the Laurence E. Hirsch ’71 Classroom (Room 101) of Villanova University School of Law (299 North Spring Mill Road, Villanova). This program is approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for 3 substantive CLE credits.

To register, visit

Click here to view the event through West LegalEdcenter.  

The Villanova Environmental Law Journal’s annual symposium is named for Blank Rome LLP in recognition of its generous support of Villanova University School of Law.

Panels and Speakers

9 to 9:45 a.m. - Keynote Address

Robert Fox, Partner, Manko Gold Katcher Fox LLP

9:45 to 10:55 a.m. - Panel I

  • Terry Bossert, Vice President for Legislative & Regulatory Affairs, Range Resources – Appalachia, LLC
  • Dan Clearfield, Member, Co-Chair of the Utilities and Telecommunications Group, Energy Practice Group Executive Committee, Eckert Seamans
  • Kathy Pape, President, Pennsylvania American Water

11:05 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. - Panel II

  • Susan Phillips, Reporter, NPR StateImpact Pennsylvania
  • Hon. Greg Vitali CLAS ’78 VLS ‘81, Representative for the 166th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • John Walliser, Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Environmental Council

12:15 to 12:30 p.m. - Closing Remarks

Michael Krancer, Chair, Energy Industry Team, Blank Rome LLP

Terry Bossert is Vice President Legislative & Regulatory Affairs with Range Resources –Appalachia, LLC, a major participant in the development of natural gas and natural gas liquids throughout the Appalachian region.  He currently directs its government affairs efforts in Pennsylvania and provides legal counsel to Range on regulatory matters.  He previously held a similar position with Chief Oil & Gas LLC.  Prior to becoming involved with shale gas development, Bossert had over thirty years of experience in the practice of environmental law in both private practice and in government service.  He is a former Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and also served as a Deputy Attorney General and helped to establish the Environmental Crimes Unit in the Office of Attorney General. 

Daniel Clearfield is the Co-Chair of the Utilities and Telecommunications Group and member of the Energy Practice Group Executive Committee for Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. Clearfield concentrates his practice in the areas of utility, energy and communications regulatory litigation, alternative energy development, Marcellus shale drilling and mid-stream issues, administrative litigation and government relations. Prior to entering private practice, he served as Executive Deputy Attorney General in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and Senior Assistant Consumer Advocate in the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate. He also serves as Secretary to the Center for Sustainable Shale Gas Development.

Robert Fox served as the Co-Chair of the DEP Transition Team for the Wolf Administration. He is the immediate past managing partner of the Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP, a thirty-lawyer environmental law and litigation boutique located in the Philadelphia area. Fox has a diverse practice involving compliance counseling, litigation and transactional work for clients in the waste, chemical manufacturing and development industries and on behalf of cities and municipalities. He is known nationally for his work under the federal Superfund law. Fox’s litigation experience extends to class action and toxic tort defense and appeals before federal and state environmental hearing boards. He also represents local, regional and national clients in the environmental aspects of business transactions, ranging from redeveloping brownfields to managing liabilities in the environmental acquisition and divestiture of multinational companies. 

Michael Krancer is a Partner at Blank Rome LLP and Chair of the Energy Industry Team, where he advises U.S. and global energy companies regarding legal, public policy, government relations, state and federal regulatory, financial, corporate, and labor matters.  Krancer served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Tom Corbett.  During his tenure, Krancer oversaw the environmentally responsible development of shale natural gas in Pennsylvania and was a key member of the Governor’s team that attracted new and environmentally sensitive economic development to the Commonwealth. Krancer was a litigation partner with Blank Rome from 1992 to 1999.   He also served as Judge and Chief Judge and Chairman of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board and was Assistant General Counsel to Exelon Corporation. At Exelon he was responsible for environmental health and safety matters, as well as energy policy development and government relations for the company.

Kathy Pape is President of Pennsylvania American Water, the largest regulated water utility in the Commonwealth. In this role, she drives operational and financial results, leads customer, regulatory and local government relationships, and is the principal external contact for American Water in Pennsylvania. Additionally, she serves as senior vice president of the Mid-Atlantic division, leading the presidents of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. In April 2008, Governor Rendell appointed Pape to the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Task Force. Prior to rejoining American Water, Pape served as senior vice president, treasurer and rate counsel for Aqua America Inc. , a vice president and corporate counsel for General Waterworks Management and Service Company, as an assistant counsel to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and as an assistant consumer advocate for the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate.

Susan Phillips covers energy for the public radio project StateImpact Pennsylvania and WHYY. In 2013 she won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Award for her work covering natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. She has also won several Edward R. Murrow awards for her work with StateImpact. In 2010 she produced an award-winning series on Pennsylvania's natural gas rush called “The Shale Game.”  She recently returned from a year at MIT as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow, where she studied earth science and energy policy at MIT, and environmental law at Harvard.

Greg Vitali is a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he serves the 166th Legislative District.  First elected to the House of Representatives in 1992, Vitali was recently re-elected to his twelfth term.  He is Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. His focus in the legislature has been on climate and energy issues. Vitali currently serves on the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, a twenty-member body that evaluates and adopts all Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulations and reviews changes to the state's air quality standards plan. He also serves on the state Government Committee.

John Walliser is Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.  He oversees all of the Council’s policy work and helps manage legal and governance issues. He has been with PEC since 1997.  Walliser currently serves on the Board of Directors for the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Citizens Advisory Council, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, and the Department of Environmental Protection Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee.

1) 5 Simple Things that Governor Wolf Can Do for Pennsylvania’s Environment, Clean Water Action (last visited Feb. 7, 2015)

Based on past actions and promises, environmental groups urge Governor Wolf’s Administration to concentrate on saving state parks and forests, planning for the future, letting the Department of Environmental Protection protect the environment, keeping water safe, and regulating methane to clean up Pennsylvania’s air.

2) Bipartisan Poll: Pennsylvanians Embrace Clean Energy & Climate Action, Natural Resources Defense Council (Feb. 5, 2015)

One study has determined that 82% of Pennsylvanians support a state-initiated plan to promote clean energy, which is supported by Governor Wolf.

3) Christian Alexandersen, Drilling Ban in State Parks Gets Gov. Tom Wolf Praise from Environmental Groups, PennLive (Jan 29, 2015, 1:56 PM)

Environmental groups have responded positively to Governor Wolf’s views on fracking in Pennsylvania. 

4) Corbett and Wolf on Encouraging Renewable Energy, The Alleghany Front (Oct. 31, 2014)

Governor Wolf favors expanding alternative energy and supports a legislative bill that would triple how much solar energy utilities are required to buy.

5) David Conti, Pennsylvania Gov-Elect Wolf’s View on EPA Proposal Uncertain, Trib. Total Media, Inc. (Dec. 2, 2014, 10:57 PM)

While environmental groups and other citizens promote EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, Governor Wolf has advocated for a plan that would be flexible.

6) Groups Offer Reaction To Wolf’s DEP, DCNR, Agriculture Appointments, PA Environmental Digest

Various sources react to Governor Wolf’s environmental appointments.

7) Jamison Cocklin, With Wolf’s Inauguration, Questions Loom for Pennsylvania NatGas Industry, Natural Gas Intelligence (Jan. 16, 2015)

Governor Wolf may face opposition to the proposed severance tax.

8) Katie Colaneri & Marie Cusick, Meet the Candidates: Tom Wolf, StateImpact Pennsylvania, (May 8, 2014)

This article discusses how Governor Wolf would allocate money raised from a severance tax and his long-term goals for energy policy in Pennsylvania.

9) Marie Cusick, While Pushing Gas Tax, Wolf Vague on How Much Money Would Stay Local, StateImpact Pennsylvania, (Oct. 24, 2014)

Governor Wolf is quoted as stating that he wants to enact a tax on production of natural gas. This tax could be in the form of a five percent severance tax.

10) Marie Cusick, Wolf Picks Former Rendell Appointees for Environmental Posts, StateImpact (Jan. 14, 2015, 5:09 PM)

Governor Wolf comments on his excitement for John Quigley and Cindy Dunn to join the Administration’s environmental efforts.

11) Melinda Tuhus, Expectations for Gov-Elect Wolf to Protect Air and Water Quality, Public News Service (Dec. 1, 2014)

Cindy Dunn of Governor Wolf’s new administration supports implementation of the Clean Power Plan, a federal rule that is to be adopted by individual states.

12) Nick Field, PA-Gov: Wolf Reiterates Support for Fracking After NY Ban, PoliticsPA (Dec. 17, 2014)

Unlike New York Governor Cuomo, Governor Wolf opposes a hydraulic fracking ban in New York, although he emphasizes that fracking must be safe and supports new standards.

13) Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Bans New Oil and Gas Leases on State Land, The Huffington Post (Jan. 29, 2015, 11:59 AM)

Although in support of Pennsylvania becoming an “energy powerhouse,” Governor Wolf signed an executive order that reinstated a ban on new leases for natural gas in Pennsylvania state parks and forests. 

14) Steve Esack, Wolf to Become 47th Governor Amid Budget Crisis, The Morning Call (Jan. 20, 2015, 5:10 AM)

This article hypothesizes that Governor Wolf proposes a severance tax on drillers due to the state budget deficit.

15) Susan Phillips, What Wolf’s Win Means for Energy and the Environment, StateImpact (Nov. 4, 2014, 9:32 PM)

Governor Wolf plans to replace the natural gas current impact fee with a five percent tax, ban drilling in state parks and forests, continue the ban on drilling in the Delaware River Basin, and reform the Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources.

16) Steve Forbes, Tom Wolf isn’t Serious About Energy: Steve Forbes, PennLive Op-Ed (Oct. 30, 2014, 12:30 PM)

Forbes criticized then candidate Tom Wolf for not being committed to Pennsylvania’s natural energy growth and argued that a five percent severance tax on the natural gas industry will be detrimental to Pennsylvania’s growth.

17) Tom Wolf on Environment, On The Issues, (Dec. 1, 2014)

Governor Wolf intends to change energy policy in Pennsylvania during his time in office. Some of these energy initiatives include responsible drilling techniques that allow companies to access natural gas without harming the environment and increasing Department of Environmental Protection funding to oversee the drilling process.