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  • vcard
D 602.650.2321
F 602.916.1500
  • Education
    • J.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 1995
    • M.S., Washington University in St. Louis, 1995
    • B.A., Brown University, 1990

Mike Ford discovered his passion for environmental law in his second year of law school. Since that time, he has developed 20 years of experience working with clients ranging from religious orders to global corporations in navigating the complex web of environmental issues impacting industrial operations and commercial transactions. Mike focuses his practice on helping industrial and commercial entities on regulatory compliance, enforcement defense, and transactional risk mitigation issues.

Mike has worked extensively on issues impacting hardrock mines, including ground water and surface water permitting and compliance, chemical reporting, release response, and closure operations. His experience in Brownfields development includes project feasibility analysis and due diligence, contract negotiation, voluntary cleanup programs, tax credit qualification, remediation oversight and consultant management, environmental insurance, and obtaining regulatory closure approval. He also has considerable experience in mobile source emissions compliance and enforcement defense under the Clean Air Act. He has managed environmental due diligence and negotiations in deals involving everything from a mom-and-pop dry cleaner to global aerospace manufacturing facilities.

  • Successfully defended against agency enforcement actions and completed a multimillion dollar cleanup project for a religious order that had received donated property, which had been contaminated by historic mining operations.
  • Successfully represented recreational vehicle importer and distributor in one of the largest Clean Air Act enforcement actions of its kind involving imported Chinese engines. The case involved novel and complex allegations involving dozens of products, an ability to pay settlement component, and ongoing compliance plan and reporting implementation issues.
  • Successfully represented global mining company in its divestiture of a large operational copper mine in Arizona, including bidder presentation, term negotiation, and permit transfers.
  • Successfully represented big box retailer in Clean Air Act enforcement action relating to products containing imported Chinese engines where the government sought a multimillion dollar penalty.
  • Successfully represented copper mine against a state agency enforcement action alleging violations of groundwater protection, air emissions, and hazardous waste regulations. We negotiated a settlement involving less than 10 percent of the original penalty sought and, more importantly, assisted the client in establishing a favorable relationship with the regulators.
  • Successfully represented global metal recycler in EPA enforcement action relating to refrigerant recycling regulations. The penalty paid was approximately 5% of the government's original demand. We also assisted the client in improving its compliance procedures nationally, and convincing the regulators that the compliance program was effective and met regulatory requirements.
Publication and Presentations IconPublications & Presentations
Infocast’s 3rd Water Management for Mining
Speaker; Denver, Colorado
October 22, 2013
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Journal of Environmental Management Arizona
2003-present
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Arizona Manufacturers Council and Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
2012 Environmental & Sustainability Summit Speaker, "California's Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986)", Prescott, Arizona
August 17, 2012
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Maricopa County Bar Association
Speaker, "The Environmental Appeals Process:  What You Should Know"
May 11, 2011
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Environmental Bankers Association, Arizona Chamber of Commerce
Speaker, Strafford Webinar
March-May 2011
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Conference Chair and Speaker, Environmental Law 101
February 2011
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Washington University Law Magazine
Fall 2009
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Arizona Hydrological Society Surface Water Session, Arizona Department of Water Resources
May 2008
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National Business Institute
Phoenix, Arizona
April 2008
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The Wall Street Journal
Michael C. Ford is quoted extensively in this article regarding his client, Franciscan Friars of California Inc.
April 20, 2007