Michael Mills

Michael Mills

Stoel Rives LLP

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Proposed Assembly Bill 356 Would Require Additional Groundwater Monitoring by Oil & Gas Operators

California Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) has introduced an oil and gas bill to ensure that the state comes into compliance with the Class II underground injection (“UIC”) requirements under the federal Safe...more

2/26/2015 - DOGGR Drinking Water EPA Groundwater Oil & Gas Safe Drinking Water Act Underground Injection Wells Water

Center for Biological Diversity Files Complaint Against Federal Agencies to Halt Offshore Fracking in California

On Thursday, Feb. 19, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed suit against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), and the Department of the...more

2/23/2015 - BOEM BSEE Center for Biological Diversity Department of the Interior Fracking Offshore Drilling Oil & Gas

Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Oil & Gas Regulations – How State Law Preemption Is Shielding the Oil and Gas Industry

In a closely watched, 4-3 decision issued yesterday, February 17, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the ‘Home Rule Amendment’ to the Ohio Constitution does not grant the city of Munroe Falls the power to enforce its own oil...more

2/19/2015 - Home Rule States Local Ordinance Oil & Gas Operational Permits Preemption

DOGGR Letter to USEPA Proposes Rulemaking to Eliminate Oil and Gas Well Injection into Non-exempt Aquifers

On Friday, February 6, California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) published a letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) addressing issues with California’s Class II Oil and Gas...more

2/11/2015 - DOGGR EPA Oil & Gas Rulemaking Process Safe Drinking Water Act Underground Injection Wells

High-Speed Rail Authority Under Fire for Disrupting San Joaquin Kit Fox Habitat

On January 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued a letter to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) that found that the Authority’s contractors are not in compliance with the Authority’s...more

2/6/2015 - Construction Project Contractors Endangered Species ESA Listings Fish and Wildlife Service High-Speed Rail High-Speed Rail Authority

Federal Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Spurned by Senate

On Wednesday, January 28, the Senate voted against Amendment 48 which would allow the federal Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to regulate hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on state and private lands. The measure was...more

2/2/2015 - Amendment 48 Carbon Emissions Climate Change Energy Sector EPA Fracking Fracking Bans Keystone XL Pipeline Legislative Agendas Oil & Gas

Federal Judge Rules that State and Federal Law Preempts New Mexico’s Fracking Ban

On January 20, 2015 a U.S. District Judge overturned New Mexico’s ban on hydrocarbon extraction, which included a prohibition on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the state. (SWEPI, LP v. Mora County et al., Case No....more

1/29/2015 - Fracking Fracking Bans Jurisdiction Local Ordinance Oil & Gas Preemption

Big Developments for Oil and Well Producers Utilizing Well Stimulation Treatments

Today saw two significant developments for oil and gas operators utilizing well stimulation treatments in California. Pursuant to SB 4, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources...more

1/15/2015 - Department of Conservation Environmental Impact Report Fracking Offshore Drilling Oil & Gas Scientific Research Underground Injection Wells

EPA Announces Plan for Rulemaking to Reduce Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The EPA’s goal is to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45% from 2012...more

1/15/2015 - Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Methane Natural Gas Oil & Gas Proposed Regulation Proposed Standards VOC

SB 4 Well Stimulation Treatment Permanent Regulations Finalized

On December 30, 2014, the California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) approved the Final Permanent Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations (“Permanent Regulations”). The regulations go into effect on July 1, 2015, and the...more

1/8/2015 - DOGGR Fracking New Regulations Oil & Gas Underground Injection Wells

Public Works Board Moving Forward with Condemnations as High Speed Rail Project Breaks Ground

As the High Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) prepares to begin construction this week of the first segment of the High Speed Rail Project (the “Project”), the State Public Works Board is concurrently scrambling to consider...more

1/7/2015 - Condemnation Construction Industry Construction Project High-Speed Rail Public Projects

Here Today & Fracked Tomorrow: A Review of SB 4 in 2014

On Wednesday, December 17, I gave a presentation to the Groundwater Resources Association (“GRA”). I reviewed the past year’s developments in California’s regulation of hydraulic fracturing and previewed my future...more

12/31/2014 - Energy Sector Fracking Groundwater Oil & Gas Waste Disposal Wastewater Water

New Water Reporting Requirements for Oil and Gas Operators

A new oil and gas reporting bill, Senate Bill 1281, sponsored by State Senator Fran Pavley, was signed by Governor Brown on September 25, 2014. The California Department of Conservation – Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal...more

12/22/2014 - DOGGR New Legislation Oil & Gas Reporting Requirements Water

High Speed Rail Moves Forward Without CEQA Review

The Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) issued a declaratory order in a 2-1 vote last Friday, finding that the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) is categorically preempted by federal law, as it relates to the...more

12/18/2014 - CEQA High-Speed Rail Public Projects

Two County Fracking Prohibitions Succeed While One Fails: What the Voting Results in Santa Barbara, San Benito, and Mendocino...

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, three counties in California presented voters with measures to ban hydraulic fracturing and other forms of intensive oil and gas operations. Voters in Santa Barbara County rejected the...more

11/7/2014 - Election Results Fracking Fracking Bans Oil & Gas

State Bar, Environmental Law Section Presents Update on Fracking Regulations

The California State Bar, Environmental Law Section hosts an annual conference which welcomes attorneys and students from across the state to learn and discuss cutting edge environmental law issues. This year’s Environmental...more

10/23/2014 - Bar Associations Energy Policy Fracking Professional Conferences Professional Development

Update on the California High Speed Rail System

James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”), spoke Tuesday, October 14, at the Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Luncheon. He stated that High-Speed...more

10/20/2014 - CEQA High-Speed Rail ICCTA Infrastructure

High-Speed Rail Authority May Use Bond Funds – Supreme Court Rules

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”) is gaining more steam in keeping the High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”) on track. Today, the California Supreme Court issued a decision declining to review an appellate...more

10/16/2014 - Bonds High-Speed Rail Infrastructure Public Transit Railways

Oil & Gas Law Alert: SB 4 Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations - Second Revised Text of Proposed Regulations

On Thursday, October 9, 2014, the California Department of Conservation ("Department") issued public notice of the Second Revised Proposed Regulations for SB 4 Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations ("Second Revised...more

10/13/2014 - Department of Conservation Oil & Gas Proposed Regulation Public Comment Underground Injection Wells Water Water Resources Control Board

Railroad Companies Allege Federal Law Governing Petroleum Transport Preempts SB 861

Railroad transportation of raw petroleum, often referred to as “crude-by-rail,” has received increasing media attention in recent months, due to health and environmental concerns. California took a stab at legislating rail...more

10/9/2014 - DOT Federal Railroad Administration Federal Railroad Safety Act ICCTA Oil & Gas PHMSA Railroads

Senators Critique Proposed Federal Rules for Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

On September 30, 2014, a block of twelve Democratic U.S. Senators presented a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), urging stricter fracking regulations. The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”),...more

10/3/2014 - Bureau of Land Management Fracking Oil & Gas OMB Public Land Regulatory Agenda Regulatory Standards Tribal Lands

California Governor Signs Bill Regulating Oil by Rail

On September 25, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that will provide California’s emergency responders with more information about trains carrying crude oil and require railroad companies to provide...more

9/29/2014 - Emergency Response Hazardous Substances New Legislation Oil & Gas Railroads Reporting Requirements Surface Transportation

Drilling Bill Fails in Assembly

SB 1096 (Jackson), which sought to foreclose the possibility of oil drilling in state waters from wells that could be drilled at Vandenberg Air Force Base, was defeated in the Assembly on Tuesday...more

8/28/2014 - Coastal Real Estate Legislative Process Oil & Gas Well Drilling

SB-1281 Amended to Remove Requirement for Oil, Gas Drillers to Use Recycled Water

SB-1281 faced strong industry opposition due to the bill’s requirement that oil and gas drilling companies use recycled water for new operations during drought emergencies. Industry representatives have stated that such...more

8/27/2014 - Drought Oil & Gas Pending Legislation Recycling Water Well Drilling

Zinc: It's Not Just for Lifeguards

Minerals Make Life - an initiative created by the National Mining Association - has recently developed an infographic explaining the importance of the mineral zinc....more

8/18/2014 - Minerals Natural Resources

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