The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the WVU College of Law is an energy and environmental public policy and research organization that focuses on promoting practices that will balance the continuing demand for energy resources—and the associated economic benefits—alongside the need to reduce the environmental impacts of developing the earth’s natural resources. 

The Center conducts objective, unbiased research and policy analyses and, through its annual energy conferences, provides a forum for issues to be explored by various stakeholders.

The Center’s first two annual conferences focused on issues associated with shale gas development. Its October 2011 conference, Drilling Down on Regulatory Challenges: Balancing Preservation and the Profitability in the Development of Shale Gas Resources, focused on regulatory policies followed by the various Marcellus Shale states as well as in other shale plays around the country. 

The Center’s April 2013 conference, Natural Gas as the Bridge to Sustainability and Economic Growth: Exploring Policies to Stimulate the Use of Shale Gas Resources, focused on the responsible utilization of shale gas resources, and the available policies to stimulate the demand for natural gas in order to stabilize domestic prices at economically viable levels.

The Center established the nation’s first moot court competition focused on energy and sustainability issues. Its third National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition in March 2013, which attracted 24 teams from 15 universities, featured a moot court problem that highlighted topical legal issues associated with shale gas development.

Two of the law school faculty associated with the Center, Professors Joshua Fershee and James Van Nostrand, have given dozens of presentations and written extensively on the regulatory and policy issues associated with shale gas development, both domestically and internationally.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, WVU plans to offer a master of laws degree in energy and sustainable development law.

The Center’s activities revolve around the following issues:

  • Training the next generation of energy and environmental attorneys
  • Sustainable practices in development of energy resources
  • Sustainable practices in land-use policies
  • Development of clean energy resources
  • The role of utilities in pursuing clean energy objectives