Mike Keller is a shareholder and has practiced environmental and natural resources law since 1978. He represents a wide variety of clients, including electrical power producers, natural resource companies, industrial clients, Indian Tribes, municipalities, landowners and developers.
Mike's environmental practice includes counseling on environmental permits and compliance, developing internal compliance policies, negotiating consent decrees and conducting administrative proceedings before state and federal agencies that have involved air and water quality, hazardous wastes and materials, toxic substances, radioactive materials, underground storage tanks, NEPA, endangered species and migratory birds. In Magnesium Corp. of Am. v. Air Quality Bd., 941 P.2d 653 (UT 1997), Mike successfully challenged an enforcement action by the Utah Air Quality Board seeking substantial penalties for excess emissions from equipment breakdown. On behalf of an interstate natural gas pipeline company, Mike negotiated an Administrative Order on Consent under CERCLA with EPA to allow the company to proceed with scheduled construction of its pipeline through an area contaminated from historic mining.
Mike works closely with the firm's real estate and corporate attorneys advising clients on environmental risks and liabilities in acquisitions, mergers and real estate transactions, including acquisitions of industrial brownfield sites for commercial and residential development. He assisted a client in its acquisition of a large lead-arsenic smelter site undergoing CERCLA remediation, negotiating agreements with state and federal agencies to allow the client to purchase and develop the smelter site as a regional medical center without liability for environmental response costs or natural resource damages.
Mike's natural resource practice focuses on public lands, mining, oil and gas, and water rights. In Hegarty v. Bd. of Oil, Gas, & Mining, Dep't of Natural Res., 2002 UT 82, Mike obtained a significant ruling on spacing under the Utah Oil and Gas Conservation Act.
Mike represents Indian Tribes on public land and environmental matters and obtained an important ruling against the Department of the Interior in Skull Valley Band of Goshutes and Private Fuel Storage v. Davis, 728 F. Supp. 2d 1287 (D. Utah 2010).
Publications & Presentations
Water Quality Update, Utah Water Law Conference, CLE International, 2005 - 2015
Co-author, Utah Chapter, ABA Handbook, Brownfields: A Comprehensive Guide to Redeveloping Contaminated Property, 3rd ed. 2010
Environmental Risks in Real Estate Transactions, Advanced Real Estate Law in Utah, National Business Institute, 2005
Chapter 4, Regulated Activities, ABA Handbook, Wetlands Law and Policy - Understanding Section 404, 2005
Look Before You Fill: the Impact of Wetlands Permitting on Real Estate Development in Utah, Utah State Bar Annual Meeting, 2004
Waters of the United States (How Many Drops Does It Take), Special Inst. on Water Quality and Wetlands, Paper No. 3, Page No. 3-1, Rocky Mt. Min. L. Fdn. 2002
Co-author, Know the Chessboard Before You Make Your Move – A Landman’s Guide to Well Location and Spacing Regulation, 54 Rocky Mtn. Min. Law Inst. 6-1, 2008
Lode or Placer? – Locating the Distinction, 31 Rocky Mtn. Min. Law Inst. 12-1, 1985
Member, Salt Lake Rotary Club 24
Past Trustee and President, Board of Trustees, Judge Memorial Catholic High School
Past Trustee and President of the Board, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake
Past Trustee and President of the Board, Utah Law-Related Education
Past Trustee and Secretary-Treasurer, Utah Bar Foundation
Member, Utah State Bar, Energy, Natural Resources, and Environmental Law Section
Member, American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
Band-1 rating, Chambers USA
AV rating, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review
Listed in the International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America® and as one of the Utah Legal Elite in Utah Business Magazine
Co-chair, Utah Water Law Conference, CLE International, 2005-2015
Recipient, Utah State Bar Natural Resources and Environmental Lawyer of the Year, 1991
Utah State Bar Distinguished Service Award, 2010
Utah Law-Related Education Scott M. Matheson Award, 2011
Member, Air and Waste Management Association, Environmental Law Institute, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Dartmouth Lawyers Association