Law360 Quotes Michael Mills on Possible Fracking Moratorium in California

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Partner Michael Mills was quoted in a Law360 article titled “Energy Cos. Wary as Calif. Fracking Moratorium Gains Favor.” The article discusses the resistance to fracking in the state from citizens, environmentalists, and state and local governments. Two bills in California set up differing regulatory frameworks for the drilling technique. The first, S.B. 4, signed by the Gov. Jerry Brown last year, allows drilling to continue while the state conducts studies on fracking’s environmental impacts and permitting and other requirements. The second, S.B. 1132, introduced earlier this year, would shut down fracking while the state studies its impacts to public health and the environment.

The concern for industry is that enactment of S.B. 1132 would require state officials to perform a broad range of studies before they could authorize a fracking project. This process would, at the very least, halt California fracking operations for a lengthy period of time, according to Mills.

”Ostensibly it would be at least until Jan. 1, but it would undoubtedly be much later,” Mills said. “It's very possible the study might be delayed, and it's almost a foregone conclusion that any study will be challenged. There are just a lot of possibilities for delay.”

Mills notes also that Gov. Brown, a longtime supporter of the oil and gas industry, has been feeling pressure from environmental groups but has been steadfast in his support for the approach taken in S.B. 4.

“I would say at this point he is under tremendous pressure from the environmental community,” Mills said. “At the same time, what's very important to the governor and the governor's office is laying out the facts. He is really interested to allow S.B. 4 the time to work, see the study to completion.”

Read “Energy Cos. Wary as Calif. Fracking Moratorium Gains Favor,” published on April 16, 2014 (subscription required).

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