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WVU Law energy conference to focus on water use in energy production

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —The 2015 National Energy Conference at the West Virginia University College of Law will examine issues affecting the use of water in energy production, including quality and supply, federal regulations, and climate change.

The fourth annual conference takes place on Friday, April 10, in the College of Law’s Event Hall. It features experts from government, the private sector, and policy, academic, and environmental organizations. The conference is organized by the College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and it is sponsored by Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.

Among the issues that panelists will explore are the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of the “Waters of the United States” and its October 2014 cooling water intake rule. Both are part of the Clean Water Act.

Panelists will also examine how developers and environmental regulators are addressing issues in managing water use in shale gas development, and how climate change is expected to affect water supply and its impact on energy industries.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn and Diana Bauer. Dunn is the executive director and general counsel of the Environmental Council of the States. Bauer is the director of the Energy Systems Analysis and Integration at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of WVU’s West Virginia Water Research Institute, is among the panelists. He will discuss water use in shale gas development. WVU law professors Alison Peck, Joshua Fershee, and James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, are also participating in the conference.

Energy production is dependent upon water by using huge quantities of it to extract and process fuel sources, like coal and natural gas, and to generate electricity at hydro power plants.

According to the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, thermoelectric power generation accounts for almost 50 percent of water withdrawals in the United States, or over 200 billion gallons per day. Coal mining and natural gas processing use over 500 million gallons per day.

The public is invited to attend the 2015 National Energy Conference and admission is free, however registration is required for the lunch. The conference is also offering Continuing Legal Educationcredit for attorneys for a standard fee.

For more information or to register for the conference, go to or call (304) 293-0064.

About the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development

Founded in 2011, the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the WVU College of Law was created to conduct objective, unbiased research and policy analyses; provide a forum for issues to be explored by stakeholders; and to promote policies that strike a balance between the development of energy resources and protection of the valuable air and water supplies upon which future generations will depend.



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