- International Practice
- Securities Regulation
- Climate Change
- Financial Institutions
- Labor and Employment
- Strategic Communications
- Corporate and Securities
- Financial Restructuring
- Educational Institutions
- Private Funds
- Intellectual Property
- Public Finance
- White Collar Defense
- Environmental Strategies
- Internal Investigations
- Real Estate and Projects
Michael Weller advises clients in the context of government investigations and enforcement actions, regulatory compliance and advocacy, litigation, permitting, and in quantifying and allocating liabilities during business transactions. He represents clients in the energy sector, including upstream oil and gas companies and pipelines, as well as industry trade associations, manufacturers, importers, and financial institutions in a wide range of environmental law and business matters.
Mike joined Bracewell after working seven years as a biologist and satellite imagery analyst, which included extensive work with Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, assisting in the production of the world’s first medium resolution land-cover database for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). His scientific background and prior career enables him to offer clients unique depth and insight into issues involving complex scientific principles.
Mike regularly advises clients involved in the production of oil and natural gas from shale plays, typically involving hydraulic fracturing, with regard to new regulatory developments and compliance. He also regularly advises and advocates for clients in the face of new regulatory initiatives undertaken by the EPA, the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Transportation, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Mike maintains an active pro bono practice focused on representing veterans in their appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Investigations, Enforcement Defense and Litigation
Lead environmental associate on the Bracewell team that represented a major oil field service company on environmental and criminal issues throughout all phases of the federal government investigation into the Deepwater Horizon blowout and Gulf Oil Spill.
Represented oil field service company during multiyear EPA investigation and Clean Air Act enforcement action, from the issuance of the administrative order up through the settlement phase, including the implementation of a Supplemental Environmental Project.
Defended engine importer in administrative litigation related to EPA enforcement action commenced under the Clean Air Act, Title II program.
Advised Marcellus Shale oil and gas operator on litigation and public relations strategies arising from parallel federal and state investigations into alleged groundwater contamination.
Represented importer during EPA investigation into alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and throughout the settlement negotiation process.
Assisted with internal investigation and counseling of energy company on detailed aspects of the Clean Water Act related to an EPA enforcement action.
Represented oil and gas company during broad EPA investigation and response to request for information regarding the process of hydraulic fracturing.
Advise upstream oil and gas operator during a state Attorney General investigation. into the sufficiency of the client’s environmental disclosures.
Drafted comments on various federal and state policy and regulatory initiatives relevant to the upstream oil and gas industry.
Counseled energy company on comprehensive review of the environmental risks associated with decommissioning a coal-fired power plant.
Represented motor vehicle/engine importer in series of appeals before U.S. Customs and Border Protection related to the seizure of property.
Represent oilfield service company in U.S. DOT, PHMSA administrative matters related to the issuance of permits and authorizations.
Counseled one of the largest suppliers and recyclers of solvents in the United States regarding regional and state regulatory developments related to air emissions.
Assisted industry group in the preparation of comments on EPA Clean Air Act regulatory initiatives, including the proposed SO2, NO2, and Ozone NAAQS; the Boiler MACT and GACT; and EPA's suite of greenhouse gas-related regulations.
Assisted in representation of coal-fired power plant in negotiations with environmental group and developed litigation strategy related to receipt of notice of intent to sue under the Clean Air Act citizen suit provisions.
Handled environmental due diligence associated with the acquisition of a 50% interest in a 200 MW wind generation facility, including an assessment of relevant permits and authorizations
Counseled multinational electric utility company during proposed acquisition of interest in LNG facility in Texas; Provided an assessment of environmental permitting, FERC approvals and implications of federal policy changes
Acted as environmental counsel to the Conflicts Committee of the general partner of a master limited partnership (“MLP”) in its acquisition from its sponsor of a variety of energy-related assets
Advised private equity investors on the assessment of risk and allocation of environmental liabilities in connection with the acquisition and divestiture of portfolio companies
Represented a major pipeline company in the acquisition of approximately $3 billion in assets, including crude oil gathering and transportation pipelines and gas gathering and processing systems
Handled environmental due diligence and risk analyses as part of the divestiture of nearly $250 million in upstream natural gas assets
Advised large bank on the environmental risks associated with multiple mergers and acquisitions
Handled environmental due diligence in potential $1 billion acquisition of natural gas and oil-fired power plants
Advised on the environmental aspects of numerous acquisitions, divestitures and financing transactions in the energy, refining, electric power, chemicals, real estate and waste handling sectors
Publications and Speeches
Co-author, “BLM’s Final Fracturing Rule Outlines More Public Land Regs,” Oil & Gas Journal, June 11, 2015.
“On Site with Michael Weller,” Energy Executive, 2015 Spring Vol. 2.
Co-author, “Drones and the Oil and Gas Industry,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, February 6, 2015.
Co-author, “California's Next Frontier: Development of the Monterey Shale,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, December 2, 2013.
Co-author, “NY High Court to Hear Cases Determining Future of Hydraulic Fracturing,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, September 12, 2013.
Co-author, “Environmentally Speaking,” (Review of Shale Development), Energy and Mining Magazine, August 6, 2013.
Co-author, “New ITC Investigation Could Affect Supply of Oil and Gas Tubulars,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, July 29, 2013.
“Fracking Update: NY Appellate Court Affirms Zoning Bans at Local Level,” Property Casualty 360, May 13, 2013.
Co-Author, "FTC Finalizes 'Rules of the Road' for Environmental Marketers in Update to Green Guides," Environmental Leader, January 7, 2013.
"Ohio's On Top of Underground Injection Control Activity," Environmental Law 360, July 24, 2012.
Panelist, “Eagles and Turtles and Salmon, Oh My! – Animal and Habitat Protection Issues and Solutions for Achieving Successful Renewable Projects While Protecting Wildlife,” Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America, February 16, 2012.
Co-author, “Climate Change and Environmental Law,” Environmental Law Handbook, 21st ed. 2011, Government Institutes.
"TCEQ Releases Emissions Study for Barnett Shale - Added Regulatory Attention Expected," Environmental Law Update, January 29, 2010.
Co-author, "California Requires Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting in 2009," Energy Law Update, December 2008.
Co-author, "Deseret Decision Regarding CO2 Avoids the Key Question and Creates Significant Uncertainty," Environmental Law Update, November 2008.
J.D., George Washington University Law School, 2009
B.S., Towson University, 2000
District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
American Bar Association, Energy and Environmental Law Section
State Bar of Maryland