Michael Mills

Michael Mills

Stoel Rives LLP

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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

Regulators Confirm: No Drinking Water Contamination from Oil & Gas Disposal Wells

On Tuesday, March 10, California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matthew Rodriquez and California Natural Resources Agency (“CNRA”) Secretary John Laird testified before a joint State Senate committee hearing. At...more

3/23/2015 - Contamination DOGGR Drinking Water Oil & Gas Underground Injection Wells Water

High-Speed Rail Authority Issues Progress Report

The High-Speed Rail Authority (“HSRA”) issued a progress report for the High-Speed Rail Project (the “Project”) last week, describing the HSRA’s challenges and successes to date....more

3/10/2015 - High-Speed Rail High-Speed Rail Authority Infrastructure Progress Report Public Projects

Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Wells Closed Down as a Precautionary Measure to Ensure Drinking Water Protection

On Tuesday, March 3, twelve underground injection control (“UIC”) wells in California’s Central Valley, specifically in Kern County, were shut down in order to protect subsurface drinking water from potential contamination. ...more

3/6/2015 - DOGGR Drinking Water EPA Groundwater Oil & Gas Proposed Legislation Safe Drinking Water Act Subsurface Conditions Underground Injection Wells

Fracking Prohibition Challenge: Citadel Sues San Benito County over Local Fracking Ban

On Friday, February 27, 2015, Citadel Exploration, Inc. (“Citadel”) filed suit against San Benito County in the County’s Superior Court, arguing that state law preempts Measure J, a county ordinance that prohibits hydraulic...more

3/5/2015 - Citadel Exploration Fracking Fracking Bans Local Ordinance Oil & Gas Preemption

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

February 27, 2015 was the deadline for lawmakers to introduce legislation to the 2015-2016 California Legislative Session and several bills related to oil and gas activities were introduced.  Below is a summary of those...more

3/4/2015 - Carbon Emissions Energy Sector Global Warming Groundwater Legislative Agendas Mining Oil & Gas Oil Spills Proposed Legislation Underground Injection Wells

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

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