The 2020 Babst Calland Report Highlights Legal and Regulatory Challenges for the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry
June 23, 2020
Oversupply and pandemic bring on need to adapt to a changing market

PITTSBURGH – Babst Calland today published its 10th annual energy industry report: The 2020 Babst Calland Report – The U.S. Oil & Gas Industry: Federal, State, Local Challenges & Opportunities; Legal and Regulatory Perspective for Producers and Midstream Operators. 

In this Report more than 50 energy attorneys provide perspective on the current state of the U.S. natural gas and oil production industry and its growth to historic highs due to more than a decade of advances in on-shore horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. It asserts that despite current challenges, a maturing shale industry is poised for future growth as natural gas and oil producers have driven down the costs of production. Transportation options for moving these natural resources from growing areas of production to customers continue to be built, even with new hurdles from regulators and other stakeholders.

Joseph K. Reinhart, shareholder and co-chair of Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources Group, said, “The U.S. natural gas and oil industry has experienced tremendous growth and change since we first published this Report in 2011. Fast forward to an unprecedented 2020 with a pandemic, a corresponding economic slow-down and oversupply of natural gas and crude oil. With increased public and government pressure, sustained low prices, and less-reliable financing options, resiliency will continue to be the driving force of a dynamic energy market that continues to evolve.

Report highlights

The Babst Calland Report is an annual review of the issues and trends at the federal, state and local level in the oil and gas industry over the past year. The 102-page Report covers a range of topics from the industry’s business outlook, regulatory enforcement and rulemaking to developments in pipeline safety and litigation trends. The Firm’s collective legal experience and perspectives on these and related business developments are highlighted in this Report, including those summarized below:

  • Long-term, U.S. energy production appears poised to continue to outstrip domestic consumption due in some measure to increased consumption efficiency, along with the obvious ramifications from the natural gas revolution.
  • The regulatory environment is focused on climate change, reducing emissions, water quality developments, and enforcement. Increased volumes of written agency guidance, enforcement, and penalties continue to challenge the industry.
  • Citizens groups continue to actively challenge federal and state initiatives designed to expand natural gas and oil development, creating delays and uncertainties.
  • Land use and zoning challenges continue at the local level. Increasing industry headwinds have resulted in a slowdown of new permitting activity amid ongoing challenges and ordinance restrictions.
  • Public interest in pipeline safety has grown amid opposition and new rules from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in response to increased public and congressional pressure to initiate and finalize new or revised pipeline safety regulations. Operators seek to install new or replace existing pipelines throughout the U.S. while advocacy groups aggressively oppose many pipeline projects.
  • Title legislation and court decisions vary by state and basin. In Pennsylvania, for example, Act 85 took effect in January 2020 and defines the conditions in which oil and gas producers may drill a lateral wellbore that crosses between two or more pooled units.
  • Although 2019 saw renewed claims of adverse health effects allegedly related to oil and gas development, support for such claims continues to be limited, as now noted by numerous publications.
  • Unmanned aircraft systems take hold in the energy sector. Despite the pandemic and its impacts, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have emerged as essential tools for the energy industry for conducting complex inspection and monitoring of difficult to access infrastructure and locations.
  • From a workforce standpoint, COVID-19 conditions and other wage and hour regulations, amendments to the Family Medical Leave Act, and expanded unemployment benefits under the CARES Act have had an impact on companies across the country.

The natural gas and oil industry continues to expand its reach and impact on U.S. energy supply and independence. Each company has its own set of opportunities and challenges to navigate based on its financing, debt, shareholder goals, and operations and infrastructure footprint. Nonetheless, the United States’ plentiful supply of natural gas and oil is expected to continue to fuel the country’s economic future and support national security.

Request a copy of the Report

Babst Calland’s Energy and Natural Resources attorneys support clients operating in multiple locations throughout the nation’s shale plays. To request a copy of the Report, contact

Babst Calland Lands 2024 Space Mission Legal Work for Astrobotic
May 11, 2020
Firm to Develop Legal/Commercial Framework for Payload Service for NASA’s Artemis Human Landing System

PITTSBURGH, PA – Babst Calland today announced that under a recently announced NASA award, Astrobotic Technologies, Inc. (Astrobotic) has selected the firm to develop what could become the first-of-its-kind blueprint for commercial payload delivery to space for the Artemis human missions as well as future human-crewed space missions.

Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic will be developing the commercial payload service for Dynetics (a Leidos subsidiary), one of three prime contractors (alongside SpaceX and Blue Origin) selected by NASA to design and build a commercial Human Landing System (HLS) and compete to build a privately-developed system to take the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 as part of the NASA Artemis program.

“As the leading lunar payload delivery provider, we are thrilled to begin setting up this new business  model onboard the Dynetics human lander,” said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton. “With payload expertise from our Peregrine and Griffin lunar lander programs, we are well-positioned to extend our payload services to include the new lunar lander. We’re helping to develop and set the standard for the commercial payload market, and that is very exciting,” added Thornton.

Dynetics is leading a broad coalition of industry partners, including Astrobotic, to not only send humans back to the lunar surface, but to also help companies, governments, universities, and nonprofits across the globe send non-human payloads onboard the Artemis Human Lander System. Such payloads can include critical instruments, project and infrastructure products and materials that can support human activities on the lunar surface.

“Helping to launch this new mission to the Moon and to develop the commercial, policy and regulatory framework for its payload delivery business is an exciting opportunity for Astrobotic, all of its partners, and for our team of attorneys at Babst Calland, “ said Justine M. Kasznica, Outside General Counsel for Astrobotic, and Chair of the Firm’s Emerging Technologies practice.

“It’s exciting to be a part of such a groundbreaking opportunity as a legal partner to Astrobotic,” said Donald C. Bluedorn II, Managing Shareholder at Babst Calland.  “We are thrilled to be involved in this important role for our national space program.”

Babst Calland Names Felezzola a Shareholder
March 17, 2020
PITTSBURGH – Babst Calland recently named Marc J. Felezzola a shareholder in the Firm.

Marc Felezzola is a member of the Litigation and Construction groups. He has extensive experience in cases involving the Pennsylvania’s Mechanics’ Lien Law, Commonwealth Procurement Code and the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act. Mr. Felezzola serves as outside general counsel for construction companies and frequently represents clients in a variety of commercial and construction related disputes including products liability claims, asbestos related claims, construction bid protests, construction defect claims, differing site condition claims, delay and inefficiency claims, payment and performance bond claims, and payment and contract performance disputes. Mr. Felezzola has litigated before the Pennsylvania trial level and appellate courts, the United States Federal District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Northern District of West Virginia and the District of New Jersey, the American Arbitration Association, and other private dispute resolution forums.

Mr. Felezzola is a 2011 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Babst Calland Attorney Jean M. Mosites Appointed to the EHB Rules Committee
March 4, 2020
Jean M. Mosites was recently appointed by Rep. Mike Turzai, the Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board Rules Committee. Committee members serve two-year terms and may be reappointed for additional terms.

The Rules Committee reviews and makes recommendations regarding procedural rules for matters brought before the EHB. The Committee consists of nine attorneys who are in good standing before the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and who have practiced before the Board for a minimum of three years or who have comparable experience.

As a shareholder in Babst Calland’s Environmental and Energy and Natural Resources practice groups, Ms. Mosites has extensive experience representing clients in administrative appeals and environmental litigation in state and federal courts and before the Environmental Hearing Board in Pennsylvania, as well as counseling on environmental compliance and resolving liabilities under federal and state law.

Christian Farmakis Featured Speaker at Dealmakers Conference
February 12, 2020
Law firm Babst Calland will participate at the 2020 Smart Business Dealmakers Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. on March 5 at Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.

The conference will feature middle-market CEOs, top private equity and venture capital firms, major lenders and leading service providers participating in sessions that cover the breadth of the merger and acquisition landscape addressing such topics as buying a business, selling a business, financing a deal, liquidity events, merging operations, alternative investing and more.

Attorney Christian A. Farmakis will join a group of recognized entrepreneurs and business experts in discussing Transaction Audits: How to prepare your company for any type of deal.

For more information about the Dealmakers conference, or to register to attend, visit:

Elizabeth A. Dupuis named to Pennsylvania Business Central’s “Top 100 People”
February 5, 2020
Elizabeth A. Dupuis has been named to this year’s Pennsylvania Business Central’s “Top 100 People” list and profiled in its Signature Top 100 issue. Nominations were taken throughout the publication’s 24-county coverage area, and the final honorees were selected by a special selection committee for their professional and community contributions.

Betsy Dupuis has practiced law in Central Pennsylvania since 1997, most recently as Managing Shareholder at law firm Babst Calland’s State College office. Her practice focuses on real estate transactions, business planning and formation, commercial and contract litigation, estate planning and administration. She is also a licensed title agent in Pennsylvania and conducts commercial real estate closings through MidState Closing Company, a Babst Calland affiliate.

Among other honors, she is a graduate of Leadership Centre County and was recognized by LCC with the Community Leadership Association’s Distinguished Leader Award. She is the incoming chair for the National Association of Home Builders Legal Action Committee. She presently serves on the boards of the Centre County Chamber of Business and Industry (CBICC), the Central Pennsylvania Risk Management Association, and the Pennsylvania Builders Association. She is a past Chair of the Centre County United Way and the Palmer Museum of Art Gala.

She was recently re-appointed for a second four-year term as Solicitor for Centre County.

For more information, click here.

Babst Calland Names Hicks Shareholder
January 8, 2020
PITTSBURGH – Babst Calland recently named Jennifer J. Hicks shareholder in the Firm.

Jennifer Hicks is a member of the Litigation, Environmental, Employment and Labor, and Energy and Natural Resources groups. Ms. Hicks has represented clients in a wide variety of litigation matters in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia. These include breach of contract, employment, environmental, nuisance, trespass, property damage, premises liability, product liability, consumer protection, partition, unknown heirs, criminal, and landlord-tenant, among others. Ms. Hicks has both trial and appellate court experience, including jury trials, and has also litigated before administrative agencies.

Ms. Hicks is a 2010 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law.

Babst Calland Expands Environmental Practice
January 8, 2020
Attorney Richard S. Wiedman Joins Firm

PITTSBURGH, PA – Babst Calland announced today the addition of veteran environmental attorney, Richard S. Wiedman, who joined as a shareholder at the Firm’s Pittsburgh headquarters.

Mr. Wiedman is joining Babst Calland’s team of highly-focused environmental attorneys in providing senior-level legal and regulatory counsel, particularly in the areas of environmental, permitting, environmental business counseling, and environmental litigation.

“We are very pleased to welcome Rick to our Firm and to our established team in Pittsburgh. I have known Rick for over 30 years and he is a natural fit for us as he shares our values, experience, and philosophy in serving clients, some with whom we already have existing relationships,” said Donald C. Bluedorn II, Managing Shareholder of Babst Calland. “Rick is a great addition as we continue to expand Babst Calland’s team and capabilities to serve the needs of existing and new clients across the country.”

Since 1980, Mr. Wiedman has represented clients before federal and state environmental agencies, and counseled clients on regulatory compliance issues and environmental considerations in a variety of business transactions. He also devotes significant time to the negotiation and prosecution of environmental permit and regulatory challenges, the defense of federal and state enforcement actions, and the representation of clients in remedial action/corrective action and cost recovery matters under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and their state counterparts.

His experience reflects the interrelationship of the major regulatory programs as they pertain to industrial activities. Many of the projects with which he is involved require the coordination of multidisciplinary efforts where creative engineering and technical approaches are often critical to the development and success of legal and regulatory strategy. In this regard, he works closely with experts and outside consultants in diverse fields including engineering design, analytical and applied chemistry, hydro-geology, marine biology, meteorology, and computer dispersion modeling.

Commenting about his lateral move to the Firm, Mr. Wiedman said, “I am pleased to be joining Babst Calland’s well-established environmental team representing industry. It is an exciting time for me to become part of a nationally-recognized firm grounded in environmental law.”

Mr. Wiedman earned his B.A. from Tufts University and his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Babst Calland Expands Washington, D.C. Environmental Practice
December 19, 2019
Attorney Ben Clapp Joins Firm

Law firm Babst Calland announced today the lateral move of Ben Clapp, who joined as associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office in the Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources, and Emerging Technologies practice groups.

For the past decade, Ben Clapp has advised clients on environmental and transactional matters across a wide range of industries including the upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas sectors, renewable energy, real estate, utilities, chemicals, manufacturing, mining, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, and food and beverage.

“Ben’s move to Babst Calland further represents the firm’s commitment to continue to meet the environmental and regulatory needs of our clients,” said James Curry, Managing Shareholder of the D.C. office.  “Ben Clapp is well-known in industry and among key regulators. We’re very pleased that he has joined our team.”

Mr. Clapp has significant experience advising clients on the environmental components of complex transactions, including identifying and analyzing significant environmental liability and compliance issues arising in connection with mergers and acquisitions, asset sales, securities offerings, project financings, and corporate restructurings.  He works to manage, allocate or mitigate these environmental risks in the client’s best interest.

Mr. Clapp also advises project developers and investors as they encounter state and federal environmental review, facility siting, and permitting requirements, with a particular focus on providing advice on National Environmental Policy Act requirements to clients seeking government agency approvals for large-scale energy and infrastructure projects.

Mr. Clapp earned his J.D., cum laude, from American University Washington College of Law in 2008 and B.A. from the University of Richmond in 1996.

Babst Calland Ranked in 2020 “Best Law Firms”
November 1, 2019
Babst Calland has been ranked in the 2020 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law FirmsTM list nationally in seven practice areas and regionally in 31 practice areas by BL Rankings.
Firms included in the 2020 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.
Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, professionalism and integrity.


Babst Calland received the following rankings in the 2020 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”:


  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Construction
  • Litigation – Environmental
  • Mining Law
  • Natural Resources Law



  • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • Bet-the-Company-Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Employment Law – Management
  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Information Technology Law
  • Labor Law – Management
  • Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Litigation – Construction
  • Litigation – Environmental
  • Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Litigation – Land Use & Zoning
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Municipal Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Water Law


  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Energy Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Litigation – Environmental
  • Litigation – ERISA
  • Mining Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Oil & Gas Law
  • Real Estate Law


  • Construction Law
Babst Calland A Founding Partner of the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity & Inclusion Coalition
November 1, 2019
Babst Calland has joined with area law firms, in-house legal departments, and law schools to form the Pittsburgh Legal Diversity and Inclusion Coalition (PLD&IC). The Coalition’s mission is to attract and retain people of all races and backgrounds to Pittsburgh, and assist employers in the legal industry for the purpose of increasing the hiring, retention and inclusion of diverse legal professionals. Managing Shareholder Donald C. Bluedorn serves as an officer on the Coalition’s Board. The firm will work collaboratively with PLD&IC and other member organizations to foster diversity and inclusion in the legal community.

In addition to Babst Calland, other current Coalition members include: Alcoa, Allegheny County Bar Association, Chevron, Duquesne Light Company, FedEx Ground, FHL Bank Pittsburgh, Highmark Health, Mine Safety Appliances, PPG, and U.S. Steel, and 18 other prominent law firms in Pittsburgh.

Click here to view a video with Babst Calland Attorney Bilal Harris, along with other attorneys from member companies and law firms, discussing the legal profession in Pittsburgh and the importance of the Coalition’s work in the city.

Babst Calland Sponsors The Education Partnership Adopt-a-School Program
November 1, 2019
Babst Calland is glad to sponsor the Adopt-a-School program with The Education Partnership to provide essential school supplies to the teachers and kids at the Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy. Each student receives their very own Power Tools Homework Kit. For more information about the Adopt-a-School program, click here.

Babst Calland Member of the ACBA Law Firm Leadership Circle
October 15, 2019

Babst Calland supports the Allegheny County Bar Association and 2018-2021 Law Firm Leadership Circle campaign to continue to provide much-needed support to our community and profession. For more information about ACBA and its Pro Bono Center Gratitude Report, click here.

Anna Skipper Joins Babst Calland
October 10, 2019

Anna Z. Skipper recently joined Babst Calland as an associate in the Public Sector and Energy and Natural Resources groups of Babst Calland.

Ms. Skipper’s practice focuses primarily on municipal and land use law with a concentration in general municipal, zoning, subdivision and land development, and code enforcement. She is a 2019 graduate of Boston College Law School.

West Virginia Attorney Moore Capito Joins Babst Calland
October 8, 2019
Capito Joins Leading Energy Law Firm as Shareholder Based in Charleston, WV Office

PITTSBURGH, PA and CHARLESTON, WV, October 8, 2019 – Babst Calland today announced that West Virginia native Moore Capito has joined the firm’s Charleston office as a shareholder and member of its Corporate and Commercial, Emerging Technologies, and Energy and Natural Resources Groups, effective September 30, 2019.  

For the past decade, Moore Capito has worked for Charleston-based Greylock Energy, formerly known as Energy Corporation of America, where he most recently served as Corporate Counsel and Director of Land.

“I am excited to be joining a well-respected legal team in West Virginia representing such a wide range of clients in West Virginia and throughout the country,” said Capito.

“Moore Capito is well-known in industry and among local, state and federal regulatory agencies and the legislature in West Virginia. We’re very pleased to have him become part of our team,” said Don Bluedorn, Babst Calland’s Managing Shareholder. “His proven leadership and passion for natural gas development and West Virginia are great fits for our entire team, and most importantly for our clients.”

Moore Capito spent the first part of his career in public service, including as a staff member for the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon after he served as a member of The White House advance team traveling in support of the president. His first assignment in Washington, D.C. was working for the House Majority Leader in the United States House of Representatives. Following his assignment at the Pentagon, Mr. Capito attended law school and received his Juris Doctorate from Washington and Lee University in 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University.

Mr. Capito, son of U.S. Senator for West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito and grandson of the late former West Virginia Governor Arch Moore, was elected in 2016 to the West Virginia House of Delegates for the 35th District. In this capacity, Attorney Capito also served on the West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Committee on Natural Gas Development and has served as Chairman of the Committee on Enrolled Bills, Vice Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary, as a member of the Banking and Insurance Committee, Political Subdivisions Committee, and Technology and Infrastructure Committee.

“We are thrilled to have Moore join our team in Charleston,” said Steve Green, Managing Shareholder of Babst Calland’s Charleston office. “His experience at the federal and state levels, and his commitment to the oil and gas industry, is a welcome addition to our practice and clients.”

Moore is an active member of the Charleston community, including participating with organizations such as the Rotary Club of Charleston. He and his wife, Katie, reside in Charleston with their two children Eliza and Arch.

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