Michael Mills

Michael Mills

Stoel Rives LLP

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Deadline Extension For California’s Industrial Storm Water Permit

The new California Industrial General Storm Water Permit (IGP) is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2015. That date was also the deadline for facilities already operating under the previous 1997 IGP to submit any updates to...more

7/2/2015 - Compliance Industrial Storm Water Permit No Exposure Certification (NEC) Storm Water Stormwater Multi-Application Reporting & Tracking System (SMARTS)

Ninth Circuit expands bases to avoid direct industry payment of Clean Air Act “Nonattainment Fees” — adds San Joaquin Valley...

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals capped a saga of over seven years on June 18 by extending its March 11, 2015 ruling in support of alternatives to imposing hefty fees on individual companies which have complied with the...more

6/26/2015 - Air Quality Standards Appeals Clean Air Act EPA Fees SCAQMD

State Water Board Receives Groundwater Monitoring Recommendations from Experts

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) has recently released recommendations from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (“LLNL”) on Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring. Pursuant to Senate Bill 4...more

6/24/2015 - Drinking Water Fracking Groundwater Lawrece Livermore National Laboratory Water Resources Control Board

Governor Selects David Bunn to Lead Department of Conservation

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown appointed David Bunn, a former fish and game official and U.C. Davis academic, to lead the California Department of Conservation. The appointment comes after the departure of Director Mark...more

6/22/2015 - Administrative Appointments Department of Conservation

Yet Another Lawsuit Seeking to Limit California Oil Development

The clamor over hydraulic fracturing continued Wednesday as environmental activists filed another lawsuit to limit oil and gas development in California. The lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for...more

6/15/2015 - Bureau of Land Management Center for Biological Diversity EarthJustice Energy Sector Environmental Impact Report Fracking Oil & Gas Public Land

Status of Oil and Gas-related Bills Proposed in California’s 2015-2016 Legislative Session

June 5, 2015 marked the deadline for lawmakers to pass bills out of their house to the opposite house. Bills that did not pass in their house of origin by that date have effectively died (unless such bill has been identified...more

6/10/2015 - California Air Resources Board Energy Sector Global Warming Mining Oil & Gas Pending Legislation Proposed Legislation Underground Injection Wells Water Resources Control Board

EPA Finds No Systemic Threat to Drinking Water from Fracking

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released a long awaited, and congressionally mandated, study detailing the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water. The EPA found no signs of...more

6/8/2015 - Drinking Water EPA Fracking

States Show Their True Colors on Fracking – One Enacts a Ban, While Two Others Prohibit All Local Bans

Three states have recently taken a stand for or against controversial bans on hydraulic fracturing. Oklahoma, Texas, and Maryland have all passed laws within the past month relating to hydraulic fracturing bans....more

6/3/2015 - Fracking Fracking Bans New Legislation Oil & Gas

Industry and Environmental Groups Make Pitch to Water Board Regarding Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) held a Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring (“Model Criteria”). In this meeting, the Water...more

5/21/2015 - DOGGR Groundwater Management Plan Public Meetings Water Resources Control Board

Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Practices

On Thursday, May 7, 2015, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California. The suit, filed by the Sierra Club and the Center for...more

5/11/2015 - DOGGR Drilling Waste Disposal Oil & Gas Sierra Club Underground Injection Wells

New Federal Oil-By-Rail Regulations Published

Today, May 8, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule for rail transport of crude oil in the Federal Register. These rules come after several high-profile oil train derailments,...more

5/8/2015 - Crude by Rail Federal Railroad Administration New Regulations Oil & Gas PHMSA Railroads Train Accidents

California Water Board Signs Off on Emergency Urban Water Use Restrictions

On May 5, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) adopted Emergency Regulations implementing a statewide 25% reduction of potable urban water use, which includes commercial, industrial, and institutional...more

5/7/2015 - Drought Emergency Response Water Conservation Water Resources Control Board Water Supplies

New Rules on MLPs & Qualifying Income: What Oil Services and Exploration Companies Need to Know

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released proposed regulations defining qualifying income for Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”). MLPs are publicly traded partnerships that are taxed as a...more

5/7/2015 - Energy Exploration IRS Master Limited Partnerships Mineral Exploration Mining Partnerships Publicly-Traded Companies Qualifying Income

Water Board Issues Proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On April 29, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring...more

5/1/2015 - Groundwater Management Plan Oil & Gas Public Comment Water Resources Control Board

The Silver Lining of America’s Economy

Minerals Make Life – an initiative created by the National Mining Association – has recently developed an informative infographic on the important role silver plays in our society. Out of all metals, silver is unique in that...more

4/28/2015 - Mining Rare Earth Metals

Department of Energy Report Calls for U.S. to Modernize Energy Infrastructure, Invest in Natural Gas Pipelines

On Tuesday, April 21 the Obama Administration released the first Quadrennial Energy Review (“QER”) as a component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The extensive report analyzes energy infrastructure in the United...more

4/23/2015 - Barack Obama Climate Action Plan Energy Sector Information Reports Infrastructure Natural Gas Oil & Gas Pipelines Power Infrastructure

Letter Urges Oil & Gas Wastewater Well Shut-Ins due to Risk of Groundwater Contamination; Regulators Stick to Rulemaking

On March 20, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) wrote a letter to Governor Jerry Brown requesting that his administration immediately shut down approximately 2,500 underground injection wells. The letter was signed by...more

4/15/2015 - Contamination EPA Groundwater Jerry Brown Legislative Agendas Oil & Gas Safe Drinking Water Act Underground Injection Wells

USEPA Releases Proposed Rule on Fracking Wastewater Treatment; Says There Will be No Costs to Industry

On Tuesday, April 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register for regulation of wastewater from unconventional oil and gas operations (“UOG”), which includes...more

4/14/2015 - Drilling Waste Disposal EPA Fracking Oil & Gas Proposed Regulation Wastewater

Citadel Drops Lawsuit Against San Benito Fracking Ban

On Friday, April 3, Citadel Exploration filed a request for dismissal in its suit against San Benito County’s Measure J.  Measure J was passed in the November 2014 election and is a ban on high-intensity petroleum operations,...more

4/13/2015 - Citadel Exploration Citizen Initiative Campaigns Fracking Fracking Bans Oil & Gas

California Proposes Emergency Rules for Oil & Gas Waste Water Injection Wells as Precautionary Measure

On Thursday, April 2, the California Department of Conservation (“DOC”) published a notice of proposed emergency rulemaking for the state’s Class II Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) program. The purpose of the...more

4/7/2015 - Department of Conservation Oil & Gas Rulemaking Process Safe Drinking Water Act Underground Injection Wells

North Dakota Requests to Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging Federal Fracking Regulations

On Wednesday, April 1, the state of North Dakota filed a motion to intervene in Wyoming’s lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) federal hydraulic fracturing regulations. (Wyoming v. U.S. Dept. of...more

4/6/2015 - Bureau of Land Management Final Rules Fracking Government Land Motion To Intervene Oil & Gas Popular Tribal Lands

BLM Publishes Final Public Lands Fracking Rule, Industry Responds with Lawsuit

The federal Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), within the Department of the Interior (“DOI”), published their final rule on hydraulic fracturing last Thursday, March 26.  (Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands, 80...more

4/3/2015 - Bureau of Land Management Final Rules Fracking Government Land Tribal Lands

Legislature Approves $1 Billion Drought Spending Bills; Governor’s Approval Pending

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, the California Senate and Assembly approved Assembly Bill 91 (“AB 91”) and Assembly Bill 92 (“AB 92”), both which are part of the Budget Act of 2015. The legislation allocates $1 billion...more

3/30/2015 - Appropriations Bill Drought Emergency Response New Legislation State Budgets

Obama Administration Releases Federal Fracking Regulations

Today, Friday, March 20, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), an agency within the Department of the Interior, published regulations for hydraulic fracturing on Federal and Indian lands.  The Final Rule becomes effective in...more

3/23/2015 - Bureau of Land Management Final Rules Fracking Oil & Gas Popular

Monterey County Rejects Fracking Moratorium

On Tuesday, March 17, Monterey County’s Board of Supervisors voted against a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing.  In the 3-2 vote, the majority of Supervisors stated that there is “no evidence of an immediate threat to...more

3/23/2015 - Fracking Fracking Bans Local Ordinance Oil & Gas

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