Mike Mills

Mike Mills

Mike Mills is a partner and chair of the firm’s Oil & Gas, Pipelines and Mining Industry Team.  Oil & gas, as well as mining companies, look to Mike to skillfully advise them on natural resources development issues, counsel them on federal and state hazardous waste cleanup matters, and help them successfully navigate property tax valuation disputes. When necessary to protect his clients’ interests, Mike relies on his understanding of complex regulatory matters and his clients’ businesses to defend them in environmental litigation, defeat citizen suit claims, and reduce or eliminate fines and penalties. He has been listed in Northern California Super Lawyer® since 2013 in Environmental Law and Energy & Natural Resources.

 

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EPA Delays Potential Fracking Chemical Disclosure Mandates

On Friday, July 11, 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) extended the public comment period for its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (“ANPR”) for hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure rules.  The USEPA initially requested public comment on May 9, 2014 by issuing the ANPR.  This set a 90-day public comment period, slated to end on … Continue Reading

Baker Hughes’ Policy to Disclose Chemical Components in Well Stimulation Fluids Designed to “Increase the Public Trust”

One of the largest oil-field services companies in the world, Baker Hughes, has revised its long-standing policies on disclosing the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluids on FracFocus.org – a non-profit database designed to provide the public with information related to oil and gas development. The policy states that the company believes it is “possible to … Continue Reading

A Resurgence in U.S. Manufacturing Requires a Sensible Mining Permitting Process

A new short video found at the website for Minerals Make Life – a National Mining Association initiative – illuminates the close ties between the widespread resurgence of manufacturing in the United States and the need for stable access to mineral resources.  As manufacturing experiences a resurgence in the United States, an expected 2 to … Continue Reading

New Information on Demand for Rare Earths Demonstrates Need to Increase Efficiency in U.S. Mining Permitting Processes

Minerals Make Life – a national, non-profit mining association – has recently developed an illuminating infographic indicating the increased demand for rare earth minerals. Presence of these minerals in the earth’s crust is common, but much less common in terms of minable concentrations. While demand for rare earths is rising, the current state of U.S. … Continue Reading

BREAKING: California’s New General Industrial Storm Water Permit Will Impact Oil, Gas, and Mining Industries

Today, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) released for public comment its Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit and supporting documents.  This is the fourth (and likely final) version of the Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit, which is designed to replace the existing Industrial Storm Water Permit in place since 1997. The Draft Industrial … Continue Reading

Senator Landrieu Ready to Take Chair’s Gavel on Powerful Senate Energy Committee: A Positive Outcome for the Oil and Gas Industry

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has confirmed today that she will take the position as Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as soon as next week. (See previous post dated December 31, 3013.) The previous chairman – Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) – is expected to be approved as Chair of the Finance Committee, and with … Continue Reading

The Heat’s Still On! – Offshore Operators Must Disclose Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced that starting on March 1, 2014, oil and gas operators performing offshore hydraulic fracturing operations must maintain an inventory of chemicals used to formulate frac fluid, and if there is any discharge of that fluid, to include the chemical formulation to the EPA within a quarterly discharge monitoring report. These new … Continue Reading

Department of Conservation Deputy Director Jason Marshall Will Speak at Seminar on What To Expect from SB 4

On December 11, 2013, Stoel Rives and BSK Associates will host a complimentary breakfast seminar in Bakersfield, CA to share observations and strategies for complying with SB 4. Breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 8:00 a.m. The office of Jason Marshall, Deputy Director of the Department of Conservation, has confirmed … Continue Reading

The Real Cost of Doing Business – Fracking Industry May Feel a Big Hit from OSHA’s Proposed Silica Exposure Rule

In early September, OSHA issued a proposed rule that will limit permissible exposure to 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air. (See September 9, 2013 post.) This is approximately half of the current limit observed by industry. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, silica sand is used in approximately 60% of … Continue Reading

New Study Shows Methane Emissions at Natural Gas Production Sites Are Less Than Previously Estimated

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently published a study of direct measurements of methane emissions from sources at 190 onshore natural gas production sites using operational practices. The estimate of total emissions from this study is similar to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent National Emissions Inventory of methane emissions from natural … Continue Reading

Train Explosion Drives Federal Railroad Administration to Issue New Regulations Impacting the Transportation of Petroleum Products

On August 2, 2013 the Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) released Emergency Order No. 28, Notice No. 1 and Safety Advisory 2013-06 in response to the July 2013 tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, Canada where a cargo train derailed, exploding portions of the 72 cars of petroleum crude oil it carried. The explosion killed 47 people and … Continue Reading

BLM California State Office Cancels Statutorily-Required Oil & Gas Lease Auctions for 2013

The third Bureau of Land Management auction of oil and gas sales scheduled for the 2013 fiscal year should have been held today for federal lands in California. However, last month the BLM California office issued a short notice stating that it would cancel remaining 2013 oil and gas lease sales planned for May, June, … Continue Reading

Uncertain Future? California Carbon Sequestration Bill

Senate Bill 34 (Carbon Capture and Storage Act of 2013), which would close certain key legal gaps that hinder carbon capture and storage in California, lost its sponsor late last week when Senator Rubio (D – East Bakersfield) suddenly resigned.  Earlier this week the Senate Environmental Quality Committee decided to postpone its hearing on SB-34.  … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Opens Office in Washington, D.C.

We are pleased to announce that we have opened a satellite office in Washington, D.C. Our new address, effective immediately: Stoel Rives LLP 1020 19th Street NW, Suite 375 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 398-1795 / Fax: (202) 621-6394 The new office is headed by firm partner Greg Jenner, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of … Continue Reading

DOE-Commissioned Study Endorses LNG Exports, Says U.S. Economy Will Benefit

Via my colleague Erin Anderson: Liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) exports will benefit the U.S. economy according to a NERA Economic Consulting study commissioned by the U.S. Energy Department (“DOE”). Posted on Wednesday, December 5, the two-part study concluded that the economic benefits of LNG export will outweigh the impact of potentially higher natural gas prices. … Continue Reading

Featuring Hydraulic Fracturing: Highlights from our California Environmental Law Blog

Interested in news involving hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in California? Our sister blog, California Environmental Law Blog, actively keeps readers informed on the latest legal, business and regulatory developments on fracking. Highlights from the past year include: Environmental Groups Sue Over Fracking Permits Fracking Study Finds No Harm to Environment San Benito County Moves Toward … Continue Reading

Update on Environmental and Regulatory Issues for Booming Midwest Frac Sand Mining Industry

Via my colleague Sarah Johnson Phillips: Mineral Law blog readers will be interested in a summary of key discussion points that emerged at a recent frac sand mining CLE I attended with my colleagues Kevin Johnson and Thomas Braun. Organized by the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Environment, Natural Resources, & Energy Section, the CLE featured … Continue Reading

Update: One Step Closer to a Better Permitting Process

Following a recent post (link), I wanted to provide you with an update regarding H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012. On May 16, 2012, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed the bill, offered by Rep. Amodei (R-Nev.), where it received strong support in the committee. The bill now … Continue Reading

Oil & Gas Industry Law Alert: U.S. EPA Continues Refinery Enforcement, Focuses on Flares

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced the latest proposed settlement in EPA’s Clean Air Act enforcement initiative against petroleum refiners. Hess Corporation will pay an $850,000 civil penalty and spend more than $45 million on new pollution controls at its Port Reading, New Jersey refinery to resolve alleged … Continue Reading

FEDERAL AGENCIES TAKE ACTION ON FRACKING GUIDELINES

At the end of last week, EPA and BLM each released draft requirements relating to fracking.  EPA released draft Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II well permitting guidance for fracking activities that use diesel fuels.  BLM released draft rules requiring public disclosure of fracking chemicals used on public and Indian lands. The EPA guidance applies … Continue Reading

New PricewaterhouseCoopers Study Shows Importance of Minerals Mining to Economic Growth in Numerous Key Industries

One of the few sectors that consistently added jobs in 2011 was U.S. minerals mining. Today, this industry supports 1.1 million American jobs nationwide and has enabled modern products such as aircrafts, medical equipment and state-of-the-art electronics to come to fruition. Some of the fastest growing industries in America—including high tech, automotive manufacturing and renewable … Continue Reading

Administration’s Proposed Mining Tax Threatens Health of U.S. Minerals Mining

As the stalled economy pushes Washington closer to a decision on how to manage America’s wealth of mineral resources, two paths have emerged. One offers the possibility of increased domestic minerals production and the potential for long-term growth. Through legislation that would assess America’s mineral needs, we can maximize opportunities in mining, one of the … Continue Reading
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