Energy & Environmental Law

Please Note: This concentration is only an option for students enrolled prior to the Fall 2016 semester.

Pittsburgh has a long and storied environmental history. The city has shed its reputation as a dirty industrial city - a reputation justly earned in the days when the steel mills operated around the clock, and the air was so dirty that businessmen needed to bring a second clean shirt to work so that they could change mid-day when their first shirt became too dirty from the soot in the air. The social and legal emphasis on protecting the environment led the city to clean up its air, and spawned a thriving environmental law practice.

The evolution of technologies necessary to develop shale gas, and the vast reserves of natural gas entrained in the Marcellus Shale, have turned Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania into a regional epicenter of energy law. This energy boom has lured many of the largest Texas and Colorado energy companies to open regional offices in and around Pittsburgh, and has created substantial opportunities for young lawyers. The shale gas phenomenon is not free of controversy, however, and the primary point of contention is its potential effects on the environment. In particular, hydraulic fracturing has been quite controversial as the stakeholders seek to find a balance between economic opportunities and the need to protect the environment.

The Energy and Environmental Law Concentration sits at the convergence of these issues. It is designed to give students a broad grounding in these areas and to demonstrate a sustained and deep interest in these practice areas.

Strongly Recommended Courses

Administrative Law [3 credits]
Energy Law [2]
Environmental Law [3]

Other Courses

Doctrinal Courses

Environmental and Toxic Torts [2]
Environmental Considerations in Business and Real Estate Transactions [2]
Food Law & Policy [2, paper - with approval]
Independent Research [1 to 3, paper - with approval]
International Environmental Law [2]
Land Use Planning [2]
Local Government Law [2]
Oil and Gas Law [2]
Pennsylvania State Constitutional Law [2]
State Constitutional Law [2]
Sustainability for Lawyers [1]

Skills Courses

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Externship [3]
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Externship [3]
Environmental Enforcement, Litigation, and Negotiation [2]
Mineral and Gas Law: Leases & Conveyances [2, paper - with approval] 
Mining Law: History & Practice [2]
Oil and Gas Litigation [3]

Learn More

View additional concentrations offered at the School of Law.