Harry Weiss, a Ballard Spahr partner who has advised landowners, financial institutions, energy companies, and retailers on issues related to the Marcellus Shale, has written the first-ever legal handbook on oil and gas law in Pennsylvania.

The book, Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Law and Practice, was released this week by George T. Bisel Company, Inc. Oil and gas laws differ state by state. With the enormous increase in natural gas supply arising from the Marcellus Shale, it will be critical for drilling and production companies, pipeline developers, land owners, and government officials to understand the specific rules that apply in the Keystone State.

“If you’re a Texas company that wants to get involved in Marcellus, you need to know the Commonwealth’s laws governing issues such as safety, land use, exploration, and the environment,” said Mr. Weiss, a Philadelphia-based partner who focuses on environmental litigation as well as project finance, development, and land use. “Marcellus Shale is transforming the industry but it’s a vertical learning curve for outsiders who want a piece of the action.”

The book provides a detailed overview of Pennsylvania oil and gas law, including those laws related to leasing; the environmental impact of development, land use, taxation, forced pooling, hydraulic fracturing, and drilling; and the rights of government and private landowners. James W. Adams, Jr., and J.C. Wilkinson III co-wrote the book with Mr. Weiss.

Mr. Weiss is particularly well suited to write on the subject of oil and gas law. He represents a wide range of market participants and, before entering law school, he was general manager of Lakewood Oil Company in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Mr. Weiss is also considered a national thought leader on the issue. Last year, 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. The panel will issue its final report next year.

Said Bisel’s Editor-in-Chief, Tony DiGioia: “The law relating to the production of oil and gas in Pennsylvania dates back to the discovery of the first oil well by Colonel Drake in Titusville in 1856. As interest in the Marcellus Shale has gained momentum in Pennsylvania, landowners, lawyers, judges, and producers struggled to find a legal resource that organized and summarized the large body of law that dated back to Drake’s well. We are proud to publish the first comprehensive Pennsylvania-specific oil and gas legal resource.”