Sean M. McGovern

Area of Emphasis

Sean McGovern is a shareholder in the Environmental and the Energy and Natural Resources groups of Babst Calland. Mr. McGovern’s practice involves counseling clients on a variety of federal, state, and local regulatory and compliance issues related to mining, renewable, oil and natural gas well development, production, midstream, storage, plugging and restoration in the Appalachian Basin. He counsels these clients on a wide range of environmental regulatory and enforcement matters, including water withdrawal, erosion and sediment controls, various permitting requirements, seismic and acoustic assessments, the transportation and disposal of wastes generated by industry, in addition to other issues related to pooling, unitization, and spacing and setback requirements under Pennsylvania’s Conservation Law. Mr. McGovern regularly handles storage tank issues, stray gas investigations, as well as site reclamation and remediation matters. He also has experience with environmental transactions, including due diligence activities; environmental justice considerations and requirements; and river basin commissions.  In addition, Mr. McGovern as counseled clients pertaining to investigations by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice.


Mr. McGovern graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health in Environmental Science and Engineering with a focus in mathematical modeling and was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. For the two years prior to attending law school, he was an environmental scientist at a consulting firm located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, assisting with environmental risk assessments and exposure modeling, as well as drafting federal environmental regulations.

In 2006, Mr. McGovern graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill, earning his J.D. While in law school, Mr. McGovern was a member of the Holderness Moot Court’s Environmental Negotiation Team that won the Robert R. Merhige, Jr. National Environmental Negotiation Competition in 2006. In addition, he was an Articles Editor for the law school’s Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, as well as a Dean’s Fellow Counselor and the Chair of the Student Body Association Leadership Speaker Series.

Memberships and Affiliations

Mr. McGovern is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and the United States District Courts for the Western and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and American Bar associations. Mr. McGovern is also a member of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section. He is also a member of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA), Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, Pennsylvania Aggregates & Concrete Association, the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, and the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law (fka Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation).

Mr. McGovern is a 2022-23 Leadership Pittsburgh XXXIX alumnus. Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. is the local independent nonprofit that is best known for serving as the region’s premier community leadership, identification, connection and development organization. In 2012, he was selected by The Legal Intelligencer as one of only 35 “Lawyers on the Fast Track” in Pennsylvania. This recognition is given to attorneys under the age of 40 who have demonstrated excellence in four categories:  development of the law, advocacy and community contributions, service to the bar and peer/public recognition. Mr. McGovern was also selected to the 2012-2013 and 2015-2016 Pennsylvania Rising Stars lists (Thomson Reuters).