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News WVU national moot court competition focusing on natural gas pipeline issues

UPDATE Congratulations to Texas Tech University School of Law, winner of the 2015 National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition, and the University of North Dakota School of Law, runner-up.

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA—Law students from across the country are coming to Morgantown March 12-14 to compete in the fifth annual National Energy & Sustainability Moot Court Competition, hosted by the West Virginia University College of Law.

The legal issues in the competition are based on recent court and regulatory cases, and illustrate environmental and sustainability challenges faced by today’s energy companies.

This year, the students in the competition are tackling legal problems faced by a fictitious energy company trying to build a natural gas gathering pipeline system.

One issue involves an environmental organization’s appeal of a lower court ruling that defines the energy firm’s natural gas gathering pipeline system as a public utility. For the other issue, the energy firm is appealing a lower court ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over wetlands that the company wants to fill in order to build its natural gas pipeline.

The national energy moot court competition is designed help law students sharpen their legal skills while networking with industry professionals and government regulators. Students also learn about important business and environmental issues facing the energy sector.

Law schools sending 25 teams to the competition this year are: American University, Appalachian School of Law, Campbell University, Catholic University, Duquesne University, Florida A&M University, Louisiana State University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, University of North Dakota, University of Pittsburgh, University of Wyoming, and University of Utah. As host school, WVU Law is competing with an exhibition team.

Preliminary rounds of the energy moot court competition will be held at WVU’s Erickson Alumni Center on Thursday, March 12, Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14. The final round will be held on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at the WVU College of Law. Admission to the final round is free and open to the public.

Pittsburgh-based attorney Bruce Stanley is delivering the competition’s keynote address at a banquet on March 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the Erickson Alumni Center. A 1989 WVU Law graduate, Stanley has been involved in a number of high profile cases including Caperton v. Massey, which resulted in a landmark opinion issued by the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of campaign spending and judicial recusal. The case was the focus of the book “The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption” by New York Times best-selling author Laurence Leamer.

The first of its kind in the nation, WVU’s National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition was established in 2011 by the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. It is hosted by the Moot Court Board, a WVU Law student organization.

The case problem this year was written by Laura Griffin, WVU energy and environmental law and policy fellow, third-year WVU law student Marissa Grace, and members of the Moot Court Board.



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