Symposium on Fracking to be Held in Durham

The North Carolina Central Environmental Law Society will hold its Inaugural Symposium entitled “Preparing for Fracking: Lessons in Regulation and Litigation”on Friday, February 7, 2014. Fracking may begin in North Carolina soon and attorneys are already getting calls from concerned citizens.  This symposium is designed to provide an update on the legislative process and issues presently being addressed by the Mining and Energy Commission.  The symposium will also offer practical skills and lessons from attorneys who have represented landowners in fracking-related litigation in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

water impacted by fracking
water impacted by fracking

The North Carolina General Assembly legalized fracking in North Carolina in 2012.  There is currently no comprehensive regulatory program in the state for the oil and gas industry, due in part to the fact that NC has no active oil and gas production.  The law therefore charged NC’s Mining and Energy Commission, formed from the previous Mining Commission, with creating the rules that will govern gas extraction in North Carolina.

The event is open to the general public as well as attorneys. “We believe that the information will be valuable for advocates and citizens as well, to know what to expect, and what types of litigation or issues may arise once fracking begins in North Carolina,” said Hayes Jernigan, President of Environmental Law Society at NCCU.

The timing of the event will allow participants to receive a full update on the rules proposed by the Mining and Energy Commission since their meetings will conclude the week before the Symposium. The Commission has already recommended to not require disclosure the chemicals used in the fracking  process, and any further positions taken will be presented during the Symposium by a current member of the Mining and Energy Commission.


event logo
event logo

Scheduled Speakers include:

Robin Smith, former assistant secretary at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Amy Pickle, current member of the Mining and Energy Commission

Ted Feitshans, NCSU professor and mineral rights expert

Todd O’Malley, civil litigation attorney in Pennsylvania who is actively litigating fracking cases

Melissa Theis, paralegal in Pennsylvania and EPA certified in watershed resource management

David Nash, Ohio attorney who practices environmental litigation and has negotiated oil and gas leases

Omega Wilson, president of the West End Revitalization Project in Mebane, NC and helped file the first federal fracking complaint

Elaine Chiosso, Haw River Waterkeeper who also filed the first federal fracking complaint


Agenda items include:

Introduction to fracking in North Carolina including the pros and cons and current regulations under consideration by the MEC; An overview of mineral rights in North Carolina and the issue of forced pooling; Fracking litigation in Pennsylvania: landowner’s causes of action as well as oil and gas leases; Negotiating oil and gas leases for landowners in Ohio and the landowner’s advantage; Environmental justice aspects of fracking and the impact on minority populations


Location and Registration information:

The Symposium will be held in the Albert Turner Building, Room 202, at the North Carolina Central University School of Law located at 640 Nelson Street in Durham.

Note: CLE credits will not be offered for this event.  

The program will also be webcast for those who cannot attend.  Space will be limited so early registration is recommended. Online registration is available through February 6th. REGISTER HERE 

Standard registration is $75. Ticket price includes lunch and an optional reception with hors d’oeuvres. If you would like to attend but do not feel that you can afford the registration, scholarships are available. Please email nccuenvironmentallawsociety AT with question or to request more information.

Webinar registration is $50. Registrants for the webinar will be sent an email with a link to view the event online. The event will be able to be viewed live or on demand. Each segment will be followed by a Q&A and webcast viewers will be able to submit questions in real time to NCCUEnvironmentalLawSociety AT

Student registration is free. Students are not guaranteed a seat in the main presentation room. If maximum capacity is reached, students will watch a live recording in an adjacent room.

Those in attendance will have opportunity for questions during the event and a networking event is being offered following the Symposium.