Harry Weiss
Harry Weiss

Harry Weiss


Tel 215.864.8129
Fax 215.864.8999

Harry Weiss leads Ballard Spahr’s Environment and Natural Resources Group. With the arrival of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Natural Gas Plays to Pennsylvania, he has also extended his practice to issues arising out of oil and gas development in Pennsylvania 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. Mr. Weiss also has provided oil and gas exploration companies with regulatory advice. In addition, he represents parties in quiet title actions.

From 2011-2014, Mr. Weiss served on former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, a 13-member panel that studied natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland. The panel issued its final report in January 2015.

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 served 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. (first edition, 2012; second edition, 2014).

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

Representative Shale Oil, Gas, and Mineral Experience

  • Represent Colorado-based investor in efforts to purchase 25,000 net mineral acres of Marcellus, Utica and other deep oil and gas rights in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania
  • 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 an estate
  • Represent a mid-market exploration and production company headquartered in Texas in connection with a title dispute of Marcellus and Utica Shale interests in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. Provide 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
  • 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
  • Represent 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
  • Environmental Counsel to mid-stream and downstream entities seeking development permits for development of gathering lines in Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Represent 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
  • Environmental Counsel to developer of centralized oil and gas waste water treatment centers in Pennsylvania
  • Served as Environmental Counsel to operator of gas pipeline in Northwest Pennsylvania during its acquisition of additional pipeline assets in the Commonwealth
  • Served as Environmental Counsel to a Colorado-based investor in acquisition of coal bed methane project in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania

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
  • Representing 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 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 against a citizen suit alleging that the recycling project on alleged public-trust property constituted impermissible public-trust use

Representative Development Projects

  • Represent a major oil and gas exploration, production and refining company in connection with the redevelopment of a former refining site in New York
  • Served as Environmental Counsel to 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
  • Serve as Environmental Counsel to a national retailer developing stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; advised client on environmental due diligence during property acquisition phase, and on brownfield site development issues (including with respect to store developments on former refinery and automobile manufacturing sites)
  • Served as Environmental Counsel to developer of build-to-suit big-box warehouse complexes (in excess of one million square feet) on brownfield and other contaminated sites
  • Serve as Environmental Counsel to a number of low- and middle-income housing developers engaged in building residential developments in urban infill areas

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, environmental law, 2008-2016

The Best Lawyers in America, environmental law, 2013-2017

Professional Activities

American Bar Association
Public-Interest Vice Chair, Section of Energy and Environmental Resources, Permanent Committee on Environmental Transactions and Brownfields


Co-author, "Pennsylvania Methane Control Strategy May Go Beyond Federal Requirements," Ballard Spahr alert, January 20, 2016 

Co-author, "The Paris Agreement on Climate Change Charts a Long-Term Plan for International Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions," Ballard Spahr alert, December 21, 2015

Co-author, "EPA Proposal Limits Methane, Other Emissions in Oil, Natural Gas Sector," Ballard Spahr alert, August 18, 2015

Co-author, "UPenn Fracking Study Can't Give Plaintiffs Causation," Law360, July 30, 2015

Co-author, "Penn Study Unlikely to Result in Flood of Fracking Lawsuits," Ballard Spahr alert, July 16, 2015

Author, Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Law and Practice, published by George T. Bisel Company, Inc., 2012 and 2014 editions

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

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