Jackson Kelly PLLC

Coal Update

Jackson Kelly Attorneys to Present at EMLF 36th Annual Institute

April 27, 2015

By: Michael M. Fisher, Kelley M. Goes, M. Shane Harvey, and Robert G. McLusky

Several Jackson Kelly PLLC attorneys will be present at the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation’s Thirty-Sixth Annual Institute on June 21-23, 2015 in Amelia Island, Florida. These include:  

  • M. Shane Harvey of the Firm’s Charleston, West Virginia, office and current Coal Chair for EMLF will speak as part of the Welcome and Introductions during the General Session.
  • Robert G. McLusky and Michael M. Fisher of the Firm’s Charleston, West Virginia, office will present “Conventional and Unconventional Warfare: The Increasing Criminalization of Both Clearly Wrong and Seemingly Ordinary Activities in the Mineral Industries”. The session will explore ways to avoid and respond to the “conventional” charges and discuss some of the “unconventional” weapons available to aggressive prosecutors. As the oil and gas industry has struggled to keep up with production demands and the coal industry has struggled to meet regulatory obligations in challenging markets, bad things have occasionally happened. In some instances an ambitious prosecutor or an unsympathetic regulator has been there to make an expensive civil or criminal case against an individual or an enterprise.  In the gas industry, there have been criminal prosecutions and extensive civil penalty actions for discharges of “fill” material in streams as a result of poorly designed well pads and access roads. In the coal industry, there have been numerous claims that discharge monitoring reports have been falsified or manipulated to not capture representative conditions.  These are conventional sorts of impacts and charges which seemingly resurface on a regular basis. But, there have also been instances of unconventional charges to address mine safety and environmental issues.
  • R. Henry (Hank) Moore of the Firm’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, office will take part in a “MSHA Issues Panel” along with four other attorneys from various firms to discuss current and future issues.
  • Mary Beth Naumann and Chacey Ford of the Firm’s Lexington, Kentucky, office will present “Rejection of Leases in Bankruptcy: What Does It Mean?” Coal leases are often rejected in the course of Chapter 11 and other bankruptcy proceedings. The discussion will cover the rights of the non-debtor party after a rejection and whether it matters if the non-debtor is the lessor or the lessee. They will also include tips for preventing future rejections in integrated transactions.
  • Kelley M. Goes of the Firm’s Charleston, West Virginia, office will present “Pipeline Siting Issues”, an in-depth discussion on the issues facing pipeline development in the Appalachian Basin. In order to build an interstate pipeline, a FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) certificate of need is required. FERC mandates a detailed process for interacting with landowners and communities along potential routes prior to considering whether to issue a certificate of need. Included in the process are a series of informational meetings in communities along the path. There are currently 3 major pipeline projects underway in West Virginia and many more in the region. Anti-development activists have urged landowners to deny requests to survey their property until they consult with a lawyer and are conducting their own meetings to inform landowners of their rights. Opponents of pipelines are also looking at the Clean Water Act as a means of blocking pipelines. Construction activities can require “stormwater construction” permits and “water quality certifications” for “fill” permits issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Pipeline opponents are reviewing these provisions of the Clean Water Act as potential vehicles for blocking the necessary permits. The issues listed are only a few of the current issues pipeline development is facing in the Appalachian Basin. 

Click here to register for the Thirty-Sixth Annual Institute or for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

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