Insights & News

Government Affairs News, Summer 2015

August 19, 2015
Client Alert
One-on-One with David Sweet, Senior Advisor to Governor Tom Wolf
SPOTLIGHT: Stradley Ronon's Energy & Regulatory Practice
People News

One-on-One with David Sweet, Senior Advisor to
Governor Tom Wolf

David SweetGovernment Affairs News talks with David Sweet, deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and senior advisor to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for energy and advanced manufacturing.

Government Affairs News: Do you believe the Philadelphia region is poised for economic growth related to the development of Pennsylvania's natural gas energy resources?

David Sweet: Pennsylvania is already one of the top states leading the nation in natural gas production and the Greater Philadelphia region is poised to bolster the energy industry even further. With a premier strategic geographic location and abundance of resources, Greater Philadelphia can give rise to a first-class energy hub offering competitive market advantages within the energy industry unmatched by any other region in the northeast.

Production growth of LPG’s (liquefied petroleum gas) positions the region to be an attractive hub with the potential to surpass national competitors. Future development efforts should provide for competitively priced commodities, resulting from lower transportation costs, abundant storage, and convenient access to pipelines and trade routes, all undoubtedly placing refineries in a competitive position.

GAN: What do you consider to be the most significant environmental challenges associated with natural gas development and transportation?

DS: Pennsylvanians support environmentally sustainable policies and programs which protect the health and well-being of tax payers and promote job growth within the energy sector.

Protecting Pennsylvania’s environmental amenities continues to be a key priority in the responsible development of Pennsylvania’s energy, manufacturing and infrastructure opportunities. The administration is committed to upholding environmental stewardship and implementing stringent regulations that protect against harmful public health, environmental and socioeconomic impacts.

GAN: Do you believe Pennsylvania can become a national leader not only in natural gas development but also renewable energy development?

DS: Pennsylvania is already one of the top states leading the nation in natural gas production.

Bolstering the deployment of energy-efficiency processes by utilizing alternative and renewable resources are priorities of the Wolf administration. In his FY15/16 budget proposal, Governor Wolf proposed $325 million worth of energy sector investments inclusive of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. Investing in renewable energy is a responsible strategy to combat potential unintended consequences imposed by new federal regulations. Diversifying Pennsylvania’s energy resources may grow the existing 57,000 clean energy jobs which will be critical to those local economies reliant on the coal-plant-based industry during the shift to a clean energy economy.

GAN: What impediments do you believe may be slowing down the growth of the energy industry in Pennsylvania, and what incentives do you believe can be deployed to stimulate development?

DS: Industry experts have expressed that the capacity for the energy sector to deliver affordable, reliable service to customers may be hindered by lower energy prices in today’s market and result in stunted growth of the industry.

Adequate infrastructure to connect the supply of resources to market demand is a pinnacle topic of discussion in furthering the growth of Pennsylvania’s energy industry.

Informed policy decisions will be based upon expert studies and detailed analyses on the constraints to the growth of the energy industry. Careful consideration will also be given to stakeholder positions and the respective cost/benefit ratio of each. Significant long-term public sector capital investment requires careful analysis to ensure public interests are protected and objectives are achieved in the most effective way while mitigating the risk exposure to tax payer dollars. Adequate protections and fair allocations of risk are essential elements in the design of a successful public-private partnership.

GAN: Do you believe that Pennsylvania has the workforce available to construct natural gas pipelines and downstream facilities, such as refineries?

DS: As it stands today, the Greater Philadelphia region benefits from advancement of its manufacturing, professional services, higher education and technology sectors. Additionally, across the past decade, Pennsylvania’s economy has been transformed by the natural gas industry giving rise to sustainable economic growth.

SPOTLIGHT: Stradley Ronon's Energy & Regulatory Practice

Stradley Ronon’s energy & regulatory team is involved in all aspects of energy matters – from regulatory advocacy and compliance matters to distributed generation, landfill and bio gas-to-energy/fuel systems, and from gas fracking and pipeline strategies in the Marcellus/Utica region to rail transshipment of oil from the Bakken region.

Our team has decades’ worth of experience helping clients navigate the complex regulatory landscape of structured and restructured energy markets, and has guided our clients’ projects through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Justice and more than 30 state energy regulatory bodies, as well as through the environmental permitting and land-use processes that are critical to project timelines. In addition to the energy team’s experience, when needed, we call on other professionals in the firm with experience in environmental matters, government affairs, mergers and acquisitions, financing and capital markets, corporate law, tax law and litigation.

Our energy lawyers have vast experience in the following areas:

  • electric & natural gas regulation
  • regulatory compliance & enforcement
  • pipeline & generation project development
  • ratemaking & advocacy
  • energy transactions & structured deals
  • energy efficiency/global energy storage alliance
  • outreach strategies
Stradley Solutions

We pride ourselves on carefully listening to our clients’ needs and closely understanding their commercial goals, allowing us to develop effective solutions for our clients. Using our roster of clients and industry contacts, we link entrepreneurs with funders, create joint ventures for large-scale facility development, and enhance our clients’ opportunities by integrating them into the energy economy and with our other industry contacts.

Our professionals have experience across an array of industries, including:

  • electricity and natural gas
  • health care
  • solid waste
  • utility
  • manufacturing 

The Stradley Ronon energy & regulatory team includes:

Joseph Donovan 

Joe Donovan uses his nearly 20 years of experience in complex regulatory advocacy, litigation and transactional support to counsel commercial and governmental clients in matters relating to regulatory litigation, enforcement, mergers and acquisitions, legislative and regulatory outreach strategies, and general corporate law. Joe has appeared before more than 30 federal and state regulatory bodies, numerous civil courts and the American Arbitration Association regarding matters ranging from market manipulation and capacity bidding strategies to demand response procedures.

Before joining Stradley Ronon, Joe was assistant general counsel at Exelon Corporation, one of the largest integrated energy companies in the United States, where he directed FERC and state regulatory advocacy in the New England, New York and Southeast regions. He also created and implemented litigation and outreach strategies related to FERC Office of Enforcement investigations and was responsible for overseeing a team of internal and external counsel, compliance managers and commercial personnel responsible for implementing risk-mitigation strategies. Joe served as chair of the corporate-wide retail compliance committee and was lead regulatory and compliance counsel for several acquisitions involving generation facilities, demand response business and retail commodity suppliers.

Prior to moving in-house, Joe was named three consecutive years as the “up-and-coming individual” in Illinois Telecommunications and Regulatory Law categories in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He began his legal career as the adviser to the longest tenured member of the Illinois Commerce Commission. Prior to law school, he worked as a television reporter covering political events.

Andrew S. Levine

Andrew S. LevineAs co-chair of the firm’s environmental practice group, Andy Levine is focused on cultivating and expanding the energy economy in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond.

Having started his career litigating multimedia enforcement cases against refineries, pipelines and solid waste companies, he was soon recruited by Waste Management to implement the very types of programs at issue in many of these cases. While at Waste Management, Andy oversaw landfill and transfer station expansions, permitting and compliance throughout the Eastern seaboard, and also developed the strategic landfill gas-to-energy program that formed the basis for his current energy practice in natural gas.

As an experienced “deal architect,” he regularly seeks out and uncovers issues and needs among parties to a negotiation in order to maximize his clients’ opportunities to construct and operate energy and environmental infrastructure projects, obtain the best possible financing and tax treatment, and organize the most advantageous deal structure. He also finds the most advantageous means for environmental compliance and permitting, with a keen focus on the clients’ business development plans, and most of all, the bottom line.

Catherine M. Ward

Catherine M. WardCathy Ward’s experience with contaminated real estate and remediation of chemicals in the environment makes her well-suited to work with the energy sector where the redevelopment of land to and from energy-production uses involves numerous regulatory and land use issues. Likewise, she is advising energy companies on issues relating to the acquisition and sale of real estate assets. With experience as a chemist and environmental consultant, Cathy brings a unique perspective to assist clients, and understands the business ramifications of legal decisions. Her goal in every transaction is not only to solve the problem presented, but to identify and facilitate the most cost-effective and beneficial means of doing so. Currently, she is assisting with the acquisition of an operating cogeneration plant in Philadelphia. She has also worked with municipalities and other government entities in New Jersey on renewable energy projects.

Cathy is a frequent speaker and moderator in CLE contexts and for general audiences on environmental issues. She has been named by Chambers USA as a Leading Lawyer for Business in environmental law in New Jersey, and has also been recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer, a “Top Attorney” in Brownfields Law by SJ Magazine and as a Best Attorney in Business by South Jersey Biz. She is a founder and was the first chairperson of Sustainable Moorestown, and is a member of the Moorestown Environmental Advisory Committee. For her extensive involvement in community activities, Cathy received an official proclamation from Moorestown Mayor Victoria Napolitano, who declared Feb. 9, 2015 a day to honor Cathy’s contributions to the town.

People News

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Stradley Ronon Government & Public Affairs Chair John Saler and Counsel Josh Shapiro hosted a lunch reception honoring U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in the firm’s Philadelphia office.


Sasso Commencement Speech

Josh Shapiro was the commencement speaker for the graduating class of Manor College in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Chairman Bill Sasso delivered the undergraduate commencement address to the graduating class of Philadelphia University at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Click here to view. 

Bill Sasso was appointed to the board of directors of the regional United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, an organization that works to ensure that resources are collectively used in the most powerful and efficient way to solve the region’s most pressing issues and essentially improve the lives of people in the region.

Bill Sasso and Environmental Practice Group Co-chair Andrew Levine co-authored "The Philadelphia energy hub: A broad vision for all forms of energy," for WHYY's NewsWorks.

Partner and Environmental Practice Group Co-chair Cathy Ward served as moderator for the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey’s panel, “Public Policy Update Series: The Future of Atlantic City,” which discussed key factors in the future development of Atlantic City. The panelists included Atlantic City Mayor Donald A. Guardian; Jim Whelan, New Jersey Senate, Second Legislative District; Kevin Ortzman, President of the Casino Association of New Jersey and President of Caesars Atlantic City; John F. Palmieri, Executive Director, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority; Dr. Herman J. Saatkamp Jr.; Jeffrey E. DuBois, President of South Jersey Gas; David P. Tilton, CEO of AtlantiCare; and Wasseem Boraie, Vice President of Boraie Development LLC. Cathy was also featured in the South Jersey Biz magazine as part of the 2015 “Best Attorneys in Business” list. The chosen lawyers received high nominations from their peers in the publication’s annual search for the top legal minds in the South Jersey region.

Partner and Nonprofit & Religious Organizations Practice Group Chair Mark Chopko co-authored the recently released second edition of “Exposed: A Legal Field Guide For Nonprofit Executives.” The book, published by the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, explores common legal issues that confront executives and boards of nonprofit entities, and discusses important concepts and practical strategies for managing risk in the nonprofit industry. Topics include a wide array of issues a nonprofit could face, ranging from intellectual property and employment law to privacy, protecting vulnerable beneficiaries and technology risks.

Counsel Karl Myers recently argued two separate cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on two consecutive days, making him one of a handful of attorneys to have done so. In the first case, Karl advocated on behalf of two of the firm’s health care clients for their confidential information to be protected from disclosure under the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law. During the second case, Karl argued on behalf of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to protect a legislative enactment from a belated procedural challenge under the Pennsylvania Constitution. Karl was also recently appointed to the board of directors of American Red Cross Blood Services for the Penn-Jersey region, which serves all of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the entire state of New Jersey.

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