Natural Resources Law Program
The ASL Natural Resources Law Program’s mission is to train attorneys to navigate the increasingly complex world of natural resources law in terms of energy production, conservation, and improving sustainability. At the center of this mission is ASL’s commitment to offer a place for rational discussion, intelligent debate, and collaboration to foster cutting-edge programs and innovative scholarship with the ultimate goal to make students more effective and scientifically grounded policymakers and advocates.
ASL offers several Natural Resources upper-level classes for students interested in Natural Resources and Environmental law. The seminar in Natural Resources examines the specialized property rules governing estates in natural resources, the correlative rights of surface and mineral owners, and the rights to explore, mine and extract, develop, and transport natural resources, with primary emphasis on "hard" minerals. A seminar in Environmental Law allows students to examine selected topics in the law governing the protection of air, water, and land from pollution. A practicum in Sustainable Energy focuses on the legal implications of policies and technologies that seek to minimize carbon emissions in the development and delivery of energy. Additionally, ASL recently approved the development of a class in Coal and Mineral Law.
Partnership with Virginia Tech
Interested students may earn a joint Certificate of Graduate Study in Natural Resources from ASL and the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources. Students at both schools can take a combination of courses at both institutions both traditionally and via distance learning. Students must take 12 credit hours of approved coursework to earn the certificate.
Distinguished Professorship in Real Estate Law
Virginia Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth McClanahan became ASL's first Street Memorial Distinguished Visitor in Real Estate Law. McClanahan, an expert in natural gas, coal and oil issues, grew up in Buchanan County. She practiced law with the Law Offices of PennStuart in Abingdon and was a recognized expert in real estate law, regularly lecturing, writing, and publishing on various related topics. She was the 1994 El Paso fellow at the University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center. She served as Virginia's chief deputy attorney general prior to the Virginia General Assembly appointing her to the bench and served eight years on the Virginia Court of Appeals. The General Assembly elevated her to the Virginia Supreme Court this year, making her only the fourth female justice to serve on the Court.
Appalachian Natural Resources Law Journal
ASL's Natural Resources Law Journal is a student-formed, student-run, faculty-advised organization dedicated to educating students, practitioners, and the surrounding community concerning legal issues related to natural resources. ANRLJ published its first issue in 2007.
ASL is proud to boast successful alumni who are working in Natural Resources law. Among them is Troy Nichols '04, who recently joined Alpha Coal Sales Co. LLC, a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., as corporate counsel. Alpha is a Fortune 500 company and ranks as the world's fifth-largest supplier of coal and third-largest supplier of metallurgical coal. Before joining Alpha, Troy practiced at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in Lexington, Kentucky, where he served as a senior associate and was a member of the firm's Natural Resources & Environmental Service Team. Blair N. Wood '10 practices with the Creekmore Law Firm in Blacksburg, Va. The firm's business litigation practice helps in the defense of oil, gas, and coalbed methane litigation across Virginia and West Virginia. Wood was president of the Energy and Mineral Law Society while at ASL and graduated first in her class.
Current and Former ASL Employers
|Alpha Coal Sales
|Alpha Natural Resources
||Penn Stuart & Eskridge
|CNX Land Resources
|Creekmore Law Firm
|Environmental Protection Agency
||Steptoe & Johnson
||Teco Coal Corporation
|EQT Production Company
||VA Dept of Environmental Quality
|Frontier Energy Group
||Western Land Services
||Wyatt, Tarrant and Combs
|Jones & Associates
||York Professional Land Services
|Street Law Firm