Harry Weiss
Harry Weiss

Harry Weiss


Tel 215.864.8129
Fax 215.864.8999

Harry Weiss is a partner in Ballard Spahr’s Environment and Natural Resources practice. With the arrival of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Natural Gas Plays to Pennsylvania, Mr. Weiss has also extended his practice to issues arising out of oil and gas development in Pennsylvania, New York, and Maryland. For the last several years, he has written and spoken in Texas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania on natural gas exploration issues at industry and trade association conferences, to bankers, to landowners, to federal and state regulators, and to land conservation groups. He has represented large groups of landowners, and those who control large parcels of land, in leasing their oil and gas rights. He also has provided oil and gas exploration companies with regulatory advice, focusing on recent amendments to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act (Act 13). He also represents landholders and leaseholders in quiet title actions throughout the Marcellus and Utica Shale Fairways.

In 2011, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley appointed him to a 13-member advisory panel that will study natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland, issuing a final report in 2014.

Mr. Weiss also concentrates his practice on redevelopment of contaminated properties and other environmental issues that arise in the development context, such as storm water management control during construction and wetlands permitting issues. He serves as litigation counsel to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority in the litigation challenging the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project. He also litigates before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in energy and transportation infrastructure matters.

Mr. Weiss is the author of Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Law and Practice, published by George T. Bisel Company, Inc., 2012.

Before entering law school, Mr. Weiss was general manager of Lakewood Oil Company, Inc., in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

Representative Shale Oil, Gas, and Mineral Experience

  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of estate administered by a Fortune 500 bank quieting title to 700 net oil, gas, and mineral acres in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in a dispute between beneficiaries of the estate
  • Represents a mid-market exploration and production company headquartered in Texas in a title dispute of Marcellus and Utica Shale interests in Clarion County, Pennsylvania; providing the same client with Act 13 advice as it seeks to increase its footprint in the Marcellus and Utica
  • Counseled the Attorney General of North Carolina with respect to that state’s efforts to update its oil and gas regulatory program
  • Advised a major East Coast university on the institution’s exploration of whether to accept interest in a gold mine in Nevada from a wealthy alumnus
  • Advocated for an oil and gas company at both the state and federal levels during regulatory and policy debates on impact of shale gas exploration on ground water supplies in Texas and Pennsylvania
  • Represents a number of financial institutions concerning the impact of shale gas plays on bank business, such as lending to local and regional businesses supporting the energy boom, and mortgaging commercial and residential properties that may see natural gas development
  • Represents national retailers in the leasing of their oil and gas rights underlying stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas
  • Represents two national church organizations in the leasing of their oil and gas rights in Texas and Pennsylvania
  • Represents a national waste management company seeking to lease shale gas interests underlying landfill in Pennsylvania
  • Represents a client exploring development of a project to create markets for compressed natural gas obtained from wells "shut in" because of the lack of pipeline infrastructure in some areas of Pennsylvania
  • Served as environmental counsel to 600 landowners in connection with the lease of approximately 80,000 net oil and gas acres

Representative Litigation Experience

  • Secured judgment from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on behalf of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority in litigation brought by New Jersey, Delaware, and several environmental advocacy groups attempting to sidetrack the Authority’s and the United States' $360 million plan to deepen the Main Shipping Channel in the Delaware River
  • Represents a hydroelectric generating company seeking to abandon its Certificate of Public Convenience over the objections of Amtrak in proceedings before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
  • Defended a global packaging company against natural resource damage claims at multiple New Jersey locations brought by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Represented the Borough of Stone Harbor, New Jersey, in litigation against the United States under the Endangered Species Act
    Defended a retail development client in New Jersey against a citizen suit alleging multiple violations of construction storm water control requirements and related state and federal law
  • Served as co-counsel in a multijurisdictional (Connecticut Federal Court and New York and Florida State Courts) fraud and breach of contract lawsuit arising out of the transfer of all of the assets of an aircraft parts fabricator
  • Defended the P.H. Glatfelter Co. in Wisconsin in a citizen suit alleging that the recycling project on alleged public-trust property constituted impermissible public-trust use

Representative Development Projects

  • Served as Environmental Counsel to an operator of gas pipeline in Northwest Pennsylvania during its acquisition of additional pipeline assets in the Commonwealth
  • Served as Environmental Counsel to the Philadelphia Phillies during the ball club's development of its state-of-the-art ballpark on former industrial property
  • Serves as Environmental Counsel to a national retailer developing stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; advised the client on environmental due diligence during the property acquisition phase, and on brownfield site development issues
  • Served as Environmental Counsel to the developer of build-to-suit big-box warehouse complexes (in excess of one million square feet) on brownfield and other contaminated sites
  • Serves as Environmental Counsel to two Hope VI developers engaged in building residential developments in urban infill areas

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, environmental law, 2008-2013

The Best Lawyers in America, environmental law, 2013-2014

Speaking Engagements

Frequent speaker and writer on brownfield redevelopment. Recent engagements include:

"Project Financing and Development for Nonprofits," Ballard Spahr seminar, September 18, 2012

"Is Fracking in Maryland's Future?" Climate Change Initiative of Howard County and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, January 31, 2012

"The Fracking and the Fury," 15th Annual PBI Real Estate Institute, December 8, 2011

Moderator, "Regulatory Issues Affecting Marcellus Infrastructure Development," Infocast Marcellus Infrastructure Summit 2011 Panel, October 4, 2011

"Environmental Issues in Pennsylvania Arising from Shale Gas Development," presentation to Meeting of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, September 8, 2011

Marcellus Shale Coalition remarks and introduction of Governor Edward G. Rendell, September 7, 2011

"Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission Report Release," Pennsylvania Environmental Council, September 1, 2011

"The Marcellus Shale: What it Means for Maryland," Maryland Attorney General's office, May 12, 2011

"History and Scope of Marcellus Shale Formation" and "Economic Impact and Legal Considerations of Shale Gas Exploration," Federal Home Loan Bank Seminars in Pittsburgh, May 2011; Phillipsburg, Pa., April 2011; and, Scranton, March 2011 

"The Impact of Shale Gas Development on Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania Bankers Association regional meetings, Lancaster, Scranton, Indiana, Johnstown, Eagles Mere, and Malvern, Pa., 2010

"Drilling in the Marcellus Shale: Leasing, Land Use & Environmental Issues," 14th Annual PBI Real Estate Institute, December 2010

"The Marcellus Shale: What It Means For Pennsylvania," Ballard Spahr seminar, November 2010

"Regulators, Environmental Advocates, and Filmmakers," Argus Marcellus Shale Gas Summit, Houston, October 2010

"Preparing for the Turnaround: Preserving Land-Use Entitlements in a Challenging Market," Ballard Spahr seminar, June 16, 2010

"Impact of Shale Gas Development on Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania Bankers Association regional meetings, 2010

Professional Activities

American Bar Association
Public-Interest Vice Chair, Section of Energy and Environmental Resources, Permanent Committee on Environmental Transactions and Brownfields
Past National Co-Chair, Section's one-million trees initiative

Natural Lands Trust, Advisory Committee

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Advisory Committee


Author, Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Law and Practice, published by George T. Bisel Company, Inc., 2012

Co-author, "The Future of Oil, Gas Drilling in the Delaware River Basin," BNA's Daily Report for Executives, January 23, 2012

"The Marcellus Shale and Mortgage Banking: Spotting the Issues," PFI Insider: The Quarterly Newsletter for FHLBank Pittsburgh, 2nd Quarter 2011

Author, chapter on brownfield redevelopment in Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's Environmental Handbook

Board Memberships

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (www.schuylkillcenter.org), past Chair, Board of Trustees; Center is Philadelphia-based and considered the nation's leading urban environmental education center

Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law (J.D. 1990, with honors)

Pennsylvania State University (B.A. 1984, with honors)

New Jersey