John Hanger supports Eckert Seamans’ practices in the areas of energy, utility and environment, concentrating in alternative energy, clean transportation infrastructure, energy efficiency, competitive energy markets and smartgrid. Prior to entering private practice, he served as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for over two years under former Governor Edward G. Rendell. John is also a former Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, making him one of the few leaders with major policy making authority in both utility and energy as well as environmental agencies.
John is a nationally recognized expert on environment, energy, gas drilling and green economy issues who has unique experience in government and in the private sector. He is one of a two Pennsylvanians who have served both as a Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and as a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
John has written leading utility and environmental regulatory decisions, enacted major environmental and utility rules, and played a pivotal role in writing and passing major legislation such as Pennsylvania's 1996 Electricity Generation Competition and Customer Choice Act, the 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, the 2005 Growing Greener 2 legislation, the 2007 Net Metering statute, the 2008 Act 129 initiating major electricity conservation programs, the 2008 Act 70 requiring DEP to write a climate change action plan, the 2008 Alternative Fuels Act, the 2010 Recycling Fee extension, and others.
John has testified to the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives and many state legislatures. He has been interviewed thousands of times by media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC Evening News, CBS Evening News, BBC, and many more.
John served from 2008 to 2011 as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Chair of the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, the Chair of the Environmental Quality Board, Vice Chairman of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority, and a Commissioner of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. He also chaired the Pennsylvania Mine Safety Board. In 2010, for the first time in Pennsylvania’s history, no miners died on the job.
As Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, John was in charge of permitting and regulation of gas drilling in Pennsylvania. He led a complete review of regulations governing gas drilling and enacted major new rules governing drilling of wells as well as the withdrawal of water for drilling and the disposal of drilling wastewater.
John also led Pennsylvania's alternative energy development with the equivalent of the Pennsylvania Energy office reporting to him. He played a crucial role in assisting thousands of clean energy projects become a reality and attracting $2.5 billion of private investment in just 2010 to Pennsylvania for clean energy investment. John also led Pennsylvania's implementation of the energy and water infrastructure portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation in ARRA energy implementation, completing 20,000 energy projects. Pennsylvania received directly $136 million of ARRA energy funds that were then leveraged with more than $670 million of private matching investment.
John was also instrumental in directing the Department of Environmental Protection's work on the Chesapeake Bay clean up, climate change, including overseeing the writing of Pennsylvania's Climate Change Action Plan, recycling and waste, mining and mine reclamation, air regulation, radiation protection, and many more matters.
John was the founding President of Citizens of Pennsylvania's Future or PennFuture from 1998 to 2008, the leading public interest organization working to improve the environment and economy.
John also served as a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission from 1993 to 1998 where he became the architect of Pennsylvania's successful law that ended electric generation monopolies and allowed consumers to choose their electric generation suppliers or build their own power supply. He was also a proponent of competition in the natural gas and telecommunications industries. John also championed programs that assisted low-income customers to avoid utility shut-offs and energy efficiency.
John began his legal career in the Energy Project at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia where he became the appointed Public Advocate representing 500,000 customers of the Philadelphia Gas Works and the Philadelphia Water Department in rate cases and other proceedings.
Thanks substantially to the leadership of John, Pennsylvania built 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy since 2003, including 20 wind farms, more than 4,000 solar projects, 43 landfill gas projects, and many more clean energy projects. As a result of Act 129, Pennsylvania now is a top five state in energy efficiency projects.
Pennsylvania's booming green economy now includes approximately 200,000 jobs with 52,000 people employed in recycling companies, at least 86,000 jobs in energy efficiency, and 41,000 jobs in renewable energy. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate has been consistently about 1% below the national average for the last eight years.
Alternative Energy Services
Natural Gas Vehicle Group
J.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Law, 1984
B.A., Duke University, 1979
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Pittsburgh Business Times, Energy Leadership Award recipient, May 2012.
Honored with the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) - Pennsylvania Chapter, James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence, May 2011.
- “5 Reasons Why Obama's Reelection Is Great News For Natural Gas,” Business Insider, November 2012.
- “Green eggs, electricity & more!” Eckert Seamans’ Legal Update, Spring 2012.
- The downstream upside: The coming chemical boom,” presented at Energy, Inc., a conference sponsored by the Pittsburgh Business Times, August 14, 2012.
“Ask the Expert,” an interview with America’s Natural Gas Alliance, July 24, 2012.
- “What Every Insurance Lawyer Should Know About Marcellus Shale,” presented at the PBI 16th Annual Insurance Institute, May 2012.
- “Sustainable Energy Sources,” presented at the Pennsylvania Energy Alliance’s Energy Speaker Series, April 5, 2012.
- Appeared on WPXI-TV's Our Regions' Business, August 14, 2011.
- “The Truth and Nothing but the Truth About Gas Drilling and America’s Energy Choices,” presented at Eckert Seamans’ Continuing Legal Education Seminar, August 2011.
- Appeared on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, June 26, 2011.
- Appeared on the Fox Business Network program Stossel with John Stossel, May 12, 2011.
- “The State of Alternative Energy in Pennsylvania,” presented at Eckert Seamans’ Alternative Energy Program, May 2011.
- “Balancing the Need for Energy and the Desire for Environmental Protection,” panelist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Energy Forum, April 11, 2011.
- “Electrical grid holds up during extreme cold snap,” Pittsburgh Business Times, January 17, 2014.
- “Krancer Letter Suggests DEP, EPA Relations Still Contentious,” The Legal Intelligencer, January 17, 2012.
- “Shale drilling sets up potential regulatory war,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 25, 2011.