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Texas Tech wins WVU Law Energy Moot Court competition

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Law students from Texas Tech had the winning argument March 16 at the third annual National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition at West Virginia University College of Law.

Florida State was the runner-up in the three-day competition that included 24 teams from 15 universities.

The first of its kind in the nation, WVU's energy moot court competition was established in 2011 by the WVU College of Law's Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. It is hosted by the WVU College of Law Moot Court Board.

The arguments in the 2013 energy moot court competition involved the fictitious Franklin Gas Co., an owner/operator of hydraulically fractured natural gas wells, and the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States of America. Under the fictional problem created for purposes of the competition, Franklin was charged with being a major source of air pollution under the Clean Air Act and with violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for the unintentional death of birds in an impoundment pond.

In the final round, Texas Tech law students Tanner Hartnett and John McIntyre won the day for Franklin Gas. Andrew Missel and Angela Wuerth of Florida State College of Law argued for the EPA and the United States.

As hosts, WVU fielded two exhibition teams but was not eligible to compete. Last year's finalists, Duquesne University and Louisiana State University, were eliminated in the semifinals. Other universities participating in the 2013 competition were American, Campbell, Pace, Colorado, Dayton, Houston, Maryland, North Dakota, Richmond, Utah, and Wyoming.

The judges for the final round were the Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Gina M. Groh, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia; Judge Thomas E. Johnston, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of West Virginia; Larry V. Starcher, Senior Status Justice, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia; and Larry D. Rosenberg, Esq., a partner at Jones Day in Washington, DC.

The case problem was written by James Van Nostrand, associate professor of law and director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. He was assisted by WVU law students Matthew Chase and Andrew Kirkner.

Law students participating in the energy moot court competition sharpen their legal skills and network with industry professionals and government regulators. The students also gain an awareness of important business and environmental issues facing the energy sector.

For more information on the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition, visit energy.law.wvu.edu.