Harry Weiss


Tel 215.864.8129
Fax 215.864.8999

Harry Weiss is Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Environment and Natural Resources Group, and administers the group’s practice across the country.

He provides an array of clients with compliance advice arising out of new federal and state regulations; assists clients with commenting on new regulatory initiatives; and, most recently, has initiated an appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on behalf of a recycling client challenging EPA rules concerning the content of fuel for use in residential wood-burning heaters.

Harry 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, wetlands permitting, and the presence of endangered or threatened species. He served as litigation counsel to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority in the challenge to the Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project. He also litigates before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on energy and transportation infrastructure matters.

With the arrival of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Natural Gas Plays to the Mid-Atlantic Region, Harry has 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 nationally on natural gas exploration issues at industry and trade association conferences, and to bankers, landowners, federal and state regulators, and land conservation groups. Harry also has provided oil and gas exploration companies with regulatory advice. In addition, he represents parties in quiet title actions.

Harry is the author of Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Law and Practice, published by George T. Bisel Company, Inc. (first edition, 2012; second edition, 2014). From 2011-2014, he 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.

Before entering law school, Harry was general manager of Lakewood Oil Company, Inc., in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and began his professional career as a staff writer for the North Jersey Herald-News in Passaic, New Jersey.

Representative Litigation Experience

  • Have long-standing relationships with PADEP and EPA hazardous waste regulators, including permitting staff, compliance and enforcement staff, and their supervisors and counsel
  • For Pennsylvania-based clients, assisted clients resolve, through negotiation with the EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), civil penalty enforcement actions
  • Provided a national glass and plastic container manufacturer with a RCRA-compliance strategy to avoid RCRA violations in connection with the reuse of materials previously characterized as a hazardous waste in a closed-loop recycling system
  • For multiple clients in Pennsylvania and in other jurisdictions such as California and New Jersey, provided legal support in a number of multi-million dollar RCRA-mandated corrective action cleanups during closure of manufacturing enterprises and their corrective action units
  • Successfully defended that same client against two separate United States-led criminal and civil enforcement actions alleging multiple violations of RCRA hazardous waste storage and disposal laws and regulations, and United States Department of Transportation hazardous waste shipping, labeling and packaging regulations. Negotiated terms of guilty plea and civil consent order that brought the client’s hazardous waste management practices back into compliance with RCRA
  • Obtained summary judgment from the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) for the nation's largest independently-owned power producer against a claim that a 1.4 megawatt gas-fired generation station would violate state and federal air pollution control standards. Continue to litigate separate challenges to the project before the EHB under federal and state water pollution laws.
  • 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
  • Represented 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 multi-jurisdictional (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

  • Represented buyers, sellers and redevelopers of contaminated property in more than 100 transactions
  • Provide compliance counseling to another University seeking a determination that its plan for neutralization of hazardous waste prior to shipment would not require an individual RCRA hazardous waste treatment permit
  • Serve as Environmental Counsel in support of a Pennsylvania university’s modification of its program under RCRA to collect, store and arrange for disposal of its hazardous waste
  • As permitting counsel for Action Manufacturing Co., Inc., assisted the client in obtaining the first hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facility permit issued in Pennsylvania under Subpart X of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitting provisions (pertaining to heat treatment of hazardous wastes). In 2019, obtained a permit modification under RCRA allowing the client’s TSD facility to accept for treatment in the facility hazardous waste generated at the client’s other facilities
  • 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
  • Served 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

Representative Shale Oil, Gas, and Mineral Experience

  • Represented the United States Bankruptcy Trustee in administering the upkeep and operation of the nation's largest rare earth mineral mine, the former Molycorp Minerals, LLC property in Mountain Pass, CA
  • Represented a 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.
  • 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 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

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA, environmental law (Pennsylvania), 2008-2019

The Best Lawyers in America, environmental law, 2013-2020

Professional Activities

American Bar Association


Co-author, "Colorado Supreme Court Issues Win for Oil and Gas Industry," Ballard Spahr alert, January 16, 2019

Author, "Draft Regulations Issued That Could Ban High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in the Delaware River Basin," Ballard Spahr alert, December 1, 2017 

Co-author, "Pennsylvania Supreme Court Extends Its Landmark Robinson Township Decision in Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Commonwealth," Ballard Spahr alert, July 11, 2017 

Co-author, "EPA Doubles Down on Methane Regulation for Oil and Gas Industry," Ballard Spahr alert, May 13, 2016 

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, "Waters of the U.S. Rule on Nationwide Hold," Ballard Spahr alert, October 9, 2015

Co-author, "Prompted by Independent Study, EPA Issues Notice of Violation to Volkswagen for Circumventing Federal Emissions Standards," Ballard Spahr alert, September 22, 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

Speaking Engagements

"Philadelphia's Green City, Clean Waters Program: Five-Year Progress Report," Ballard Spahr's Green Infrastructure Conference, Philadelphia, October 13, 2016

"Confronting Confounding Environmental Hysteria," Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers Conference, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 15, 2016

"Avoiding or Minimizing the Impacts of Federal and State Stormwater Enforcement under the Clean Water Act," Ballard Spahr's Green Infrastructure Conference, Philadelphia, October 29, 2015

"Re-Awakening of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment – New Developments in Land Use Litigation," Delaware Valley Chapter of The Counselors of Real Estate: Real Estate Symposium, Villanova, Pennsylvania, May 5, 2015

"Stormwater, Wet Weather, and Flooding," Environmental Law Forum, Harrisburg, April 9, 2015

"Fracking – How Safe Is It and How It Differs from Traditional Oil and Gas," Association of University Real Estate Officials: 2014 Annual AUREO Conference, Dallas, September 23, 2014

"The Supreme Court's Decision in Robinson Township and the Future of Zoning in the Commonwealth: What Every Municipal and Land Use Lawyer Needs To Know," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pittsburgh, September 15, 2014

"Energy Development on State Lands," ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Spring Conference, Salt Lake City, March 20, 2014

"Update on Recent Regulatory Developments Related to Hydraulic Fracturing in Pennsylvania," Infocast, Pittsburgh, May 22, 2012

"Natural Gas Drilling in Maryland," Climate Change Initiative of Howard County, Columbia, Maryland, January 31, 2012

"The Marcellus Shale Industry: Banking Considerations and Opportunities," The Risk Management Association and FHL Bank Pittsburgh, Scranton, Pennsylvania, March 10, 2011

Board Memberships

Advisory Committee of the 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