Pennsylvania is once again front and center on the world's energy stage. The Commonwealth's proximity to the Marcellus Shale natural gas "sweet spot" has brought every major oil and gas exploration company to Pennsylvania seeking a share of what is widely understood to be one of the more significant reserves of natural gas in the world. Large parcels of land have already been leased by these companies, generating millions of dollars for Pennsylvania residents. The Commonwealth itself has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue through leases of its own lands for gas exploration.

In many areas, the gas is already flowing, despite the lack of collection lines and pipeline infrastructure necessary to get much of the gas to market. Assurances that the exploration process is safe have been called into question with a number of recent accidents fueling the efforts of environmental advocates to slow development until more is understood about the potential impacts of shale fracking to spur release of the natural gas.

Local, state, and federal legislatures and regulators are scrambling to keep up with the "gas rush." On the regulatory and legislative agenda are numerous proposals to add layers of regulation to Marcellus exploration to tax profits from gas produced, and even to restore federal authority stripped out in the 2000 National Energy Policy Act to again regulate in the area. Local governmental authorities are focused on the stress to infrastructure and quality of life generated by thousands of truck trips and intense drilling and exploration techniques.

Ballard Spahr lawyers have been working on the forefront of such Marcellus Shale developments.

Our Marcellus Shale work includes:

  • Working with entrepreneurial clients who see the demand for local use of natural gas produced from wells "shut in" because of the lack of pipeline infrastructure
  • Working with clients to develop, finance, locate, and operate treatment centers for fracking wastewater 
  • Working with clients to assure that all points of view are heard at the highest levels of local and Commonwealth governmental authorities with respect to legislative initiatives, including proposed new taxing authorities
  • Advising local agencies and governments on financing mechanisms for local infrastructure projects that will be critical to support the demands of the growing industry
  • Fighting for clients in litigation to clear clouds on title to oil, gas, and mineral rights and for access to preexisting oil and gas claims
  • Representing clients in connection with the leasing of approximately 100,000 acres across the Commonwealth for oil and gas development


Harry Weiss
Tel 215.864.8129