Steve Saunders has been practicing law for over 20 years. His Oil and Gas and Mineral Rights practice is devoted exclusively to the representation of land and mineral rights owners and not the oil and gas industry. He counsels landowners with property and/or mineral interests in most of the 39 Pennsylvania counties where natural gas is produced. His clients reside not only in Pennsylvania, but throughout the United States. He has advised clients on matters involving disputed mineral rights claims and has been retained to pursue litigation in gas lease and mineral rights actions.

Prior to the recent boom in natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale region, Steve represented a major interstate natural gas transmission company on a compressor station and pipeline upgrade project in Pennsylvania. This experience has proven to be invaluable and allows him to recognize the issues and develop solutions to problems that routinely arise with or impact upon land and mineral rights owners in regard to natural gas pipeline agreements and infrastructure projects. He has been interviewed by and been a source for major media publications such as The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters News Service, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Philadelphia InquirerOil and Gas Journal, Gas Business Briefing and Wall Street venture capital and investment firms to provide insight into the natural gas exploration and production and transportation and marketing issues.

Steve is a frequent conference planner and speaker in the natural gas arena to both lawyers and the general public. He has been asked to both plan and present continuing legal education seminars on behalf of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the legal education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, including the PBI’s annual Oil and Gas Law Colloquium.  He is also a member of the Planning Committee for the annual Marcellus Shale Summit co-hosted by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and Penn State University. Steve is part of the educational outreach team for the Penn State Extension Service which holds public forums for landowners and municipal officials throughout Pennsylvania on a variety of topical subjects relating to natural gas development.

His environmental law practice, which spans over 20 years, encompasses both transactional (real estate and business transfers, permitting and facility compliance and auditing issues) and litigation matters involving air, water, waste, storage, transportation and disposal issues. He has represented clients in federal and state trial and appellate courts and has litigated appeals and challenges before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board. From the transactional perspective, Steve has been involved in the Pennsylvania Land Recycling Program since its inception having been appointed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to serve on a work group that supplied input to the legislature in preparing what would become Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Program. His clients’ Brownfields projects have received special recognition from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and he served as the Chairperson of the Luzerne-Lackawanna Counties Brownfields Task Force. In the course of his environmental transactional practice, Steve has identified and assisted his clients in securing numerous specialized federal and state grants to finance large-scale development projects and has developed environmental risk policies and conducted implementation training for a number of financial institutions.

Steve advises county and local governments and municipal authorities on environmental and planning issues, having served as General Counsel for Environment and Planning to Lackawanna County and as Special Environmental Counsel to Luzerne County. He has been a speaker and presenter on environmental law topics to private client groups and members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and has written for and been an editor of Environmental Compliance in Pennsylvania, a publication of Business and Legal Reports. For over 15 years Steve has been a member of the State Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, a statewide environmental advocacy and consensus building non-profit organization. He currently serves as the Board Chair of PEC’s Northeast Pennsylvania regional office.

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  • Pennsylvania Bar Association Section on Environmental and Energy Law; Subcommittee on Oil and Gas Law; Section of Litigation
  • American Bar Association Sections on Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment and Business Law; Subcommittees on Toxic Torts, Environmental Transactions and Brownfields, Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Pennsylvania Environmental Council, State Board of Directors, Board Chair Northeast Office
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
  • Energy Bar Association
  • County of Lackawanna Transit System, Board Member(former)
  • Lackawanna County Environmental Law Practice Committee, Founder
  • Countryside Conservancy, Founding Board Member and Officer (Former)
  • Abington Township Planning Commission Member (Former)
  • Abington Township Historic Architectural Review Board, Chair (Former)
  • Sept 20-21, 2011 3rd Annual Oil and Gas Law Colloquium, Pittsburgh, Course Planner, Speaker, Pennsylvania Bar Institute
  • November 17-18, 2011 Marcellus Summit 2011, State College Course Planner, Speaker, “Impact Fees and Municipal Regulation of Natural Gas Development in PennsylvaniaPenn State University/Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission
  • January 24, 2012 Best of Oil and Gas Law Colloquium Harrisburg, Speaker “Lease Termination Issues” Pennsylvania Bar Institute
  • March 9, 2012 Fundamentals of Oil & Gas Law Harrisburg, Course Planner, Speaker “Overview of Mineral Rights” Pennsylvania Bar Institute
  • March 15, 2012 Fundamentals of Oil & Gas Law Pittsburgh, Course Planner, Speaker “Overview of Mineral Rights” Pennsylvania Bar Institute
  • March 22, 2012 Fundamentals of Oil & Gas Philadelphia, Course Planner, Speaker “Overview of Mineral Rights” Pennsylvania Bar Institute
  • March 29, 2012 Fundamentals of Oil & Gas Law Williamsport, Course Planner, Speaker “Overview of Mineral Rights” Pennsylvania Bar Institute
  • March/April 2012 The Pennsylvania Lawyer, Author “Weighing Risks and Rewards-The Effect of Leases and Natural Gas Development on the Transfer of Real Property in Pennsylvania” Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • August 9, 2012 – WEBINAR – “Act 13 and Local Zoning After The Commonwealth Court RulingPenn State Cooperative Extension (Weblink and details)
  • Sept 11-12, 2012 – 4th Annual Oil and Gas Law Colloquium, State College,Course Planner, Speaker, “Severed Estates in Land and Surface Uses” and “Practical Leasing Concerns” Pennsylvania Bar Institute Conference Brochure
  • October 10-12, 2012 – Marcellus Summit 2012, State College, Conference Planner, Penn State Cooperative Extension – Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission