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Experts at WVU discussion see bright WV natural gas future with the right policy implementation

West Virginia’s share of the Marcellus shale natural gas play could lead to a bright, job-filled, environmentally responsible future if appropriate policies are in place and investment in a multi-billion dollar “cracking” plant occurs, according to an impressive array of energy experts who added their input to a well-attended policy exploration event at West Virginia University.

The WVU College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, with support from the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, sponsored an energy conference called Natural Gas as the Bridge to Sustainability and Economic Growth.

The conference explored policies aimed at stimulating the use of shale gas resources and focused on transportation issues, use of cogeneration for industrial electricity customers, exporting of natural gas and the potential for revitalization of the region’s chemical industry.

“WVU was founded with a goal of providing access to information and applying that knowledge to make a better society,” President Jim Clements. “WVU is on the cutting edge of research on alternative fuels, fuel cells, nanotechnology, water resource management, biomass conversions and increased energy efficiency. WVU will position the region as a global leader in safe and environmentally safe energy production. That is our responsibility and our privilege.”

Judge Thacker to deliver annual Ihlenfeld Lecture

Morgantown, W.Va. – Judge Stephanie D. Thacker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will deliver the annual Charles L. Ihlenfeld Lecture on Public Policy and Ethics at the West Virginia University College of Law on Wednesday, April 17, at 12 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. 

Thacker, a 1990 graduate of the WVU College of Law, will discuss the codes of conduct across her career as a lawyer, prosecutor, and now judge. She will also address her path to the federal bench and the importance of public service.

Over the course of more than 20 years of practicing law, Thacker has worked in the civil and criminal litigation arenas, in private practice, and in public service. She began her career at a law firm in Pittsburgh and later served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

Following her tenure with the Department of Justice, Thacker was a member of Guthrie & Thomas,PLLC in Charleston, W.Va. In September 2011, she was nominated by President Obama to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 16, 2012.

Benedum grant promotes student innovation at WVU and in state

West Virginia University will be better able to help students turn ideas into industry, thanks to a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. The $80,000 grant will support a student intellectual property patent services pilot project.

A joint effort of WVU’s College of Law, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design, and Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, SIPPS will support provisional patent applications of students enrolled in West Virginia colleges and universities.

With a number of courses of study and competitions encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, the team behind the grant thought the time was right to bolster WVU’s patent resources.

Patricia Hureston Lee, visiting associate professor and director of WVU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic, noted that WVU faculty have long supported students in their pursuit of protecting their intellectual property. The Benedum grant, she explained, would formalize that support and foster critical mass that may lead to even more patent support services for students.

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