Eckert Seamans is a proud member of the
The Marcellus Shale is a subset of Eckert Seamans’ Energy Group. This group provides clients with a broad array of legal skills and government/business experience to help them successfully achieve their business goals from inception to operation, and all steps in between, for matters associated with shale gas exploration, production and delivery.
We counsel our clients on local, state and federal regulatory matters, as well as commercial and transactional, antitrust, intellectual property, labor and employment, environmental and complex litigation matters. We practice before federal and state public utility commissions and environmental agencies, as well as other federal and state agencies.
Representative services of the Marcellus Shale Group include:
Eckert Seamans attorneys provide counsel regarding: negotiation of oil and natural gas and other mineral leases; farmout of natural gas leases for deep well development; well drilling syndication; federal and state oil and gas permitting, permit appeals, compliance and enforcement issues; the acquisition, disposition and financing of oil and gas facilities, properties and equipment; corporate and partnership structuring; transportation, storage and distribution contracts; and private placements for syndicated ventures.
We have served as general outside counsel to one of the largest private oil and natural gas production companies east of the Mississippi River. Our attorneys have also advised clients in the area of royalty compensation and computation, including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent interpretation of Pennsylvania’s minimum royalty act with respect to oil and gas leases.
Our energy attorneys are attuned to the rapidly changing regulations associated with Marcellus Shale development.
Utilities Eckert Seamans attorneys provide advice to producers concerning negotiated rates and terms and conditions of natural gas gathering service agreements with Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PaPUC) regulated natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) and preparation of such agreements.
We initiated litigation that resulted in these previously non-tariffed services being included in NGDC tariffs so that the producers obtained the protections afforded from PUC-regulated rates, and the development of programs and initiatives to enhance production of local (PA) natural gas.
In addition, we have helped producers investigate and raise issues about the levels of "Lost and Unaccounted For" gas and "shrinkage" (or retainage) and the related provisions of NGDC tariffs.
We have provided advice to producers concerning natural gas metering and telemetry measurement issues and agreements with NGDCs and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulated pipelines. We have also litigated the scope of PaPUC jurisdiction over independent producers’ wholesale natural gas agreements with NGDCs and the interpretation of specific terms of such agreements.
For example, we defeated an attempt by an NGDC to have the PaPUC investigate an independent producer’s costs of operation to determine a “just and reasonable” wholesale price for the sale of the gas to the utility.
Eckert attorneys have also advised the industry concerning the scope of PaPUC jurisdiction over natural gas midstream (gathering) pipelines, including safety, eminent domain, siting, interconnection and rate issues, and gathering agreements.
Environmental The firm's environmental lawyers assist clients with compliance, enforcement, permitting, and permit appeals, government rulemaking, responding to information requests, strategic planning and other matters that are subject to Pennsylvania statutes such as the Clean Stream Law, Clean Air Act, Hazardous Waste Management Act, Solid Waste Management Act, Storage Tank Act and Act 2 as well as the federal counterpart programs including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and other environmental regulatory programs in numerous jurisdictions across the country.
For example, we counseled a client in connection with water withdrawal permitting and enforcement matter before the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and submitted comments to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in connection with the previously proposed and now final Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) limits specific to produced water from the hydraulic fracturing process. We provide advice to clients that service the oil and natural gas industry, including those in the development of wastewater evaporation techniques.
Our environmental attorneys advise clients on a variety of issues associated with site development. This includes Oil and Gas regulations, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting, Erosion and Sedimentation (E&S) plans, Best Management Practices (BMPs), wetlands permitting, including associated wetlands air issues, mitigation and credits. We also have significant experience in oil and gas remediation through Pennsylvania’s Underground Storage Tank Program and Act 2 site remediation.
Our attorneys have a wealth of experience successfully defending clients in connection with environmental enforcement actions and toxic tort related litigation in local, state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate level.
One of the ways that we control costs in mass tort or multi-party, multi-jurisdiction litigation is our use of a unique Litigation Management OnlineSM Center (“LMOSM”). The mission of LMOSM is to support in-house and outside counsel in the coordination and defense of tort claims and other large volume environmental matters. The LMOSM staff is organized into functional groups that include complaint processing, discovery, resource management and claims processing including insurance recovery. Through the use of advanced technology, including proprietary Lotus Notes-based electronic case management systems, the LMOSM provides an efficient and cost-effective operation to support all aspects of the litigation process.
Government Relations The Firm's knowledge of the structure of legislative bodies and administrative agencies, how they function, and the personnel that fill critical roles within those structures enables it to provide complete services in all aspects of government representation, including the development and implementation of solutions to address a client's administrative and legislative concerns. Our offices in the state capitals of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, we are well positioned to assist clients with state lobbying on Marcellus Shale issues.
The Firm's attorneys and other professionals analyze and summarize legislative and administrative proposals and assess their impact on a client's business operations; coordinate actions between executive and legislative branches of government; assist in the development and presentation of testimony; draft legislation or regulations; advise on parliamentary, regulatory, or other procedural issues; and analyze political and policy considerations.
In addition, the increasing complexity of the legislative process has fostered the firm's development of a group of professionals who concentrate on managing all facets of a legislative initiative, including grass roots and public relations coordination. Eckert Seamans is fortunate to have Leroy S. Zimmerman, Esquire, the first elected Pennsylvania Attorney General in our Harrisburg, PA office to assist in these matters.
Land Use Our attorneys have represented property owners and municipalities in a broad range of land use matters. We routinely represent clients at local agency hearings such as zoning hearing board or municipal commission hearings, on appeal to the courts of common pleas and on further appeal to the intermediate appellate courts. Recently, we successfully defeated, on behalf of a property owner, a proposed municipal ordinance that would have limited the ability to drill in the Marcellus Shale.
Our attorneys are well trained and experienced in representing oil and natural gas companies before such boards and commissions and have successfully handled various energy-related issues in these forums, including issues associated with oil and natural gas development and preemption issues.
Labor and Employment Eckert Seamans’ experienced labor and employment attorneys provide services in employment litigation, union/management relations and litigation-preventive counseling. Our attorneys are accessible and available at all times for immediate advice on the multitude of time-sensitive issues which confront management on a daily basis.
Our labor and employment attorneys will aggressively defend management’s decisions and prerogatives in the courtroom. Eckert Seamans has assembled a team of employment litigators which has substantial jury trial experience and a track record of successful outcomes in courtrooms throughout the United States. We have, for example, defended individual and class action lawsuits involving claims under federal and state race, sex, age and disability discrimination laws; the Family and Medical Leave Act; ERISA; and the Fair Labor Standards Act. We have litigated employment contract, trade secrets and covenant not to compete cases.
Tax Our tax attorneys provide legal services in all areas of federal, state and local taxation. The firm’s tax attorneys are attuned to the dynamic body of tax law leading to the development of innovative solutions to tax-sensitive transactions. Experience and careful attention to the economics of a given situation enhance the ability of the firm to deliver value-added services to clients.
Intellectual Property Eckert Seamans intellectual property attorneys provide valuable counsel to our clients as they develop technologies specifically related to Marcellus Shale exploration and production. We have advised clients on numerous intellectual property licensing matters in the course of our representation.
Construction Our construction attorneys have considerable experience in underground construction projects, including natural gas pipeline work. Specifically, we have considerable experience in gathering and transmission plants and stations, and processing; including fractionation, dehydration and compression plants. This experience runs the gamut from developing project delivery systems and negotiating contracts to mediating, litigating and arbitrating claims which arise from the development of those projects.
About Eckert Seamans Eckert Seamans has over 325 attorneys located in ten offices throughout the United States including: Pittsburgh (Headquarters), Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Southpointe, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; Charleston, West Virginia; and White Plains, New York.
The firm provides a broad range of legal services in the areas of: litigation, including mass tort and products liability; corporate and business law; intellectual property law; labor and employment relations; aviation law; bankruptcy and creditors’ rights; employee benefits; energy; environmental law; construction law; municipal finance; real estate; and tax and estate law.
Clients include: Fortune 500 companies; financial institutions; oil and natural gas companies, including upstream, midstream and downstream; newspapers and other media; hotels; health care organizations; and airlines and railroads. The firm also represents a number of federal, state, and local governmental and educational entities.