Mike Mills

Photo of 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.

 

Subscribe to all posts by Mike Mills

White Paper Finds No Evidence of Elevated Threat to Human or Crop Safety from Use of Oil Field Produced Water to Irrigate Crops

Last month, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region (“Central Valley Water Board”) published a Food Safety Project White Paper (“White Paper”) on the use of oil field produced water for food crop irrigation. The White Paper did not find any evidence that using produced water for irrigation creates an elevated threat … Continue Reading

Revised Public Workshop Date and Comment Deadline for State Water Board’s Proposed Reissuance of the Statewide Construction Stormwater General NPDES Permit

On June 10, 2021, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Revised Public Notice that changed certain dates noted in our June 2, 2021 blog post.  The Water Board’s public hearing to receive public comments on the draft Construction Stormwater General Permit reissuance is now scheduled to occur at 9:00 a.m. on August … Continue Reading

State Water Board Now Receiving Public Comments on Its Proposed Reissuance of the Statewide NPDES Construction Stormwater General Permit

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) is now receiving public comments on its proposed reissuance of the statewide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Construction Stormwater General Permit (“Construction Stormwater General Permit”). I.     Background The Construction Stormwater General Permit regulates discharges to waters of the United States from stormwater and authorized non-stormwater … Continue Reading

State Water Board to Hold Additional Winery General Order Fees Stakeholder Meeting on April 28, 2021

As a follow-up to our March 11, 2021 blog post, as part of implementation of its Final Adopted Winery General Order, the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB” or “Board”) announced that it will be holding a second Winery General Order Fees Stakeholder Meeting on April 28 from 1:00-3:00 PM via Webcast. The notice for the Fees … Continue Reading

State Water Board to Hold Upcoming Winery General Order Fees Stakeholder Meeting and Public Training Workshop Webinars in March and April 2021

As part of implementation of its Final Adopted Winery General Order, the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB” or “Board”) will be holding a Winery General Order Fees Stakeholder Meeting on March 15 from 1:00-3:00 PM via Webcast. The updated notice for the Fees Stakeholder Meeting can be found here. In addition to the Fees … Continue Reading

Update: State Water Board Adopts Final Winery General Order

At its January 20, 2021 Board meeting, the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB” or “Board”) adopted its final General Waste Discharge Requirements (“WDRs”) for Winery Process Water (“Winery Order”) and associated Resolution for the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Mitigated Negative Declaration. As a brief background, on July 3, 2020 the SWRCB released a … Continue Reading

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATE – NEW AIR QUALITY AND OIL & GAS REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS

This is a continuing series of posts on the latest environmental and legal developments affecting oil and gas operations and development and other industries in Los Angeles and adjacent counties, as well as the southern San Joaquin Valley. In this post, we provide an update on regulatory developments at the California Air Resources Board, the … Continue Reading

State Water Board Staff Releases Staff Preliminary Draft Statewide Construction Stormwater General Permit and Announces Virtual Workshops

On November 30, 2020, State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) staff released a preliminary staff draft of the Statewide Construction Stormwater General Permit (Preliminary Draft General Permit).  In conjunction with its release of the Preliminary Draft General Permit, State Water Board staff also announced that they will hold two public workshops regarding the … Continue Reading

Update: State Water Board Issues Revised Notice for Board Meeting Regarding Winery General Order

In July, we blogged about the State Water Resources Control Board’s (“State Water Board’) release of proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water Treatment Systems (see: July 15, 2020 blog post on proposed General Order and July 20, 2020 blog post on noticed stakeholder meetings).  The State Water Board recently issued a revised … Continue Reading

CDFW Proposes New Regulations for Oil Spill Management Team Certification with a September 14 Comment Deadline

Last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (“OSPR”) issued notice that it proposes to add ten new regulations (sections 830.1 through 830.11 to Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations) to implement statutory changes resulting from Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1197.  AB 1197 establishes criteria and … Continue Reading

California Wineries Take Note, Part Two: State Water Board Notices Stakeholder Meeting Regarding Winery General Order Fees

As a follow-up to our July 15, 2020 blog post regarding the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Water Board) release of proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water Treatment Systems (proposed General Order), today the State Water Board issued a public notice regarding the first stakeholder meeting to discuss fees associated with … Continue Reading

California Wineries Take Note: State Water Board Releases Draft General Order for Winery Process Water for Public Comment

On July 3, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) released proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water Treatment Systems (proposed General Order) along with the draft California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Initial Study and Mitigated Declaration for public comment.  The proposed General Order will apply statewide, and includes requirements … Continue Reading

CDFW Moves Notifications for Lake and Streambed Alteration Standard Agreements Online

Last month, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) issued notice that it will begin accepting electronic notifications for all Lake and Streambed Alteration Standard Agreements (Cal. Fish & Game Code § 1600 et seq.) effective August 1, 2020.  This move to online applications is part of a broader effort by CDFW to go … Continue Reading

How California’s Oil Industry May Help Preserve Agriculture in California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley – Recycled, Oil Field Produced Water Found Safe for Crop Irrigation

A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and RTI International found that reusing oil field produced water that has been mixed with surface water to irrigate crops in Kern County’s Cawelo Water District does not pose any major health risks. To cope with droughts and water shortages, some farmers in the Cawelo district have … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds Clean Water Act Permit Required for Some Discharges to Groundwater

Last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) requires a permit to discharge pollutants that reach “navigable waters” through groundwater, but only if the discharge is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” to the navigable water.1 In reaching this decision, the Court took the middle ground. It rejected both the … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that CERCLA Does Not Block State Law Claims Seeking Restoration, Subject to EPA Approval

In a split decision in which Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion, the United States Supreme Court held yesterday in Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) does not bar a plaintiff’s ability to bring state law claims in state court for property damage, such … Continue Reading

Oil & Gas Related Bills Update for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session

Stoel Rives’ Oil & Gas Team has been monitoring bills introduced by California legislators since the beginning of the 2019-2020 Legislative Session.  Below is the latest update on a list of bills, summarized pursuant to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, that our team has been following and will continue to monitor as the 2019-2020 Legislative Session … Continue Reading

SWRCB Releases Draft Implementation Guidance Regarding the Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material

On February 14, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) published Draft Guidance for the State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State (Draft Guidance). The Draft Guidance pertains to the SWRCB’s adoption of a State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or … Continue Reading

DTSC and SWRCB Release Draft Supplemental Vapor Intrusion Guidance

On February 14, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued a public notice regarding the release of Draft Supplemental Guidance: Screening and Evaluating Vapor Intrusion (Draft Guidance) that  supplements existing vapor intrusion guidance issued in 2011.  The Draft Guidance is now available for public … Continue Reading

CalGEM’s Public Health Rulemaking Workshops

The California Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”), formerly known as the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), is actively working on revising its regulations to better align its regulatory mandates with the new goals of Assembly Bill 1057, which requires CalGEM to focus on protecting public health and the environment, and less on … Continue Reading

CalGEM Issues Notice to Operators Regarding Cyclic Steam Moratorium

Nearly two months ago, on November 19, 2019, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources[1] (“DOGGR”) announced a moratorium on approvals of new oil extraction wells that use a high-pressure cyclic steaming process to break apart a geological formation to extract oil. The announcement did not contain much, if any, detail … Continue Reading

California SWRCB Launches Senate Bill 205 Compliance Page

This information is provided as a follow-up to our blog post titled “Senate Bill 205 Imposes New Requirements for Industrial Companies in California” published on January 3, 2020. The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) published a new page on its website that provides implementation information for Senate Bill 205.  This page includes helpful information … Continue Reading

Senate Bill 205 Imposes New Requirements for Industrial Companies in California

Last fall, the California Legislature enacted Senate Bill 205 in an effort to more effectively control stormwater pollution from regulated industrial companies.  Effective January 1, 2020, an industrial company will not be able to receive an initial business license or business license renewal unless it can demonstrate compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Rejects “Substantial Factor” Test for Regional Board to Issue a Cleanup and Abatement Order to a Responsible Person

After years of investigation, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Board”) issued a cleanup and abatement order (“CAO”) to San Diego Gas & Electric Company (“SDG&E”) after finding that SDG&E caused or permitted waste to be discharged into the San Diego Bay, and thereby created, or threatened to create, pollution and nuisance … Continue Reading
LexBlog