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Pennsylvania sits at the heart of one of the largest natural gas plays in North America. The Marcellus Shale formation stretches under 65 million acres of land from West Virginia to New York, with an estimated resource value of 500 trillion cubic feet equivalents of natural gas. The largest portion of the Marcellus Shale fairway lies in an area along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains running from southwestern Pennsylvania (Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland Counties) to northeastern Pennsylvania (Bradford, Susquehanna and Lycoming Counties).

In contrast to certain other areas of the country where natural gas production may be occurring, Pennsylvania has a complex and extensive environmental regulatory program administered and enforced by a variety of governmental entities with overlapping jurisdiction, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Susquehanna River and Delaware River Basin Commissions, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and local County Conservation Districts. Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox has longstanding relationships and credibility with these governmental entities.    And with an office in Williamsport, Pennsylvania—a hub of the Marcellus play—the firm is uniquely positioned to help clients navigate the wide range of agencies and issues associated with the exploration, production and transmission of natural gas in and through the Marcellus Shale region..

Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox has broad experience in understanding and addressing the unique environmental issues associated with tapping the vast potential of the Marcellus Shale formation including:

Our team of lawyers (a number of whom have backgrounds in engineering and other technical disciplines) are assisted by two in-house technical consultants, who understand the technical underpinnings of environmental regulations and, together with the firm’s lawyers, help craft solutions to the environmental issues that arise from the technical and legal aspects of Marcellus Shale activities.

In matters in which our clients have ongoing relationships with law firms that are either inexperienced in environmental law or unfamiliar with the intricacies of Pennsylvania’s environmental programs or the regulators who administer them, the lawyers at Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox work seamlessly with existing legal teams to achieve the objectives of our clients.

Photo © JamesReillyWilson | istockphoto.com

Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox has deep experience in handling the types of issues that are associated with the Marcellus Shale natural gas play, including the following:

  • We represented a client involved in one of the first state enforcement actions in Pennsylvania relating to Marcellus Shale drilling activities that not only deals with compliance with Pennsylvania's environmental requirements, but also with the control of client sensitive business information.
  • We assisted a natural gas gathering company in negotiating consent agreements with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regarding alleged violations of the Clean Streams Law and the Air Pollution Control Act.
  • We advised clients regarding developing regulations, policies and compliance issues stemming from recent amendments to Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act (otherwise known as Act 13).
  • We drafted an industry group submission to EPA concerning the applicability of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act to natural gas operations.
  • We counseled a natural gas gathering company with respect to permitting and compliance associated with erosion and sedimentation controls, stream crossings, air emissions (including cutting edge single source aggregation issues), pipeline safety (PHMSA) and worker safety (OSHA) issues.
  • We represented a natural gas transmission pipeline company in an enforcement action initiated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for alleged violations of the Clean Streams Law and the Solid Waste Management Act related to the handling of pipeline liquids at the company's compressor stations throughout the Commonwealth.
  • We advised clients on the environmental permitting associated with the construction and operation of drilling mud plants and frac water treatment and recycling systems.
  • We counseled clients with respect to developing air regulatory programs for natural gas operations, including New Source Performance Standards (Subpart OOOO) and state emission reporting and permitting requirements.

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