Meet New MPSC Commissioner Dan Scripps

Daniel C. Scripps was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Public Service Commission on February 25, 2019. His term ends July 2, 2023. 

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Scripps was the Energy Foundation’s Midwest Policy Program Director, where he coordinated strategies and grantmaking across thirteen states relating to the power sector, transportation, and other issues, and led efforts to double regional grantmaking to groups engaged in equity-oriented climate and energy work. Commissioner Scripps previously served as president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and Institute for Energy Innovation, where he led efforts to expand deployment of advanced energy resources in Michigan, and as a Vice President with Advanced Energy Economy, focusing on energy finance. An attorney, Commissioner Scripps practiced law in the Washington D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, advising regulated utilities, project developers, and financial institutions on cutting-edge domestic and international energy projects.

Mr. Scripps served one term representing Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee, and Mason counties in the Michigan House of Representatives (2009-2010), where he chaired the House Banking and Financial Services committee, and served on committees dealing with energy, telecommunications and environmental protection.

Mr. Scripps is a graduate of Alma College and a 2005 honors graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

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State Seeks to Dismiss Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s Lawsuit

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan (CBFM) began its campaign in 2015 with the goal of placing a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan on the 2016 ballot. The group failed to collect the 252,523 signatures needed within the required 180 days to get the issue placed on the ballot in 2016. CBFM challenged the state’s 180-day window to collect signatures, but the court rejected the challenge as “premature” because the group had not collected enough signatures. The group then set their sights on the 2018 election, continuing to collect new signatures with the hopes that the combination of new and old signatures would be enough to reach the required amount by May of 2018. The group, however, again failed to collect the necessary signatures. On November 5, 2018, the day before the general election, CBFM tried to file its petition for placement on the November 2020 ballot, 5 years after it first began collecting signatures. The state rejected the signatures because the petitions stated that the proposal would be voted on in the 2016 general election, rendering the petition “defective and untimely”.

On December 27, 2018, the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan (CBFM) filed a lawsuit in the Court of Claims. This suit, their third since 2015, asserted that Former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Sally Williams, then Director of Elections for Michigan’s Department of State wrongfully rejected CBFM’s petition signatures and refused to notify the Board of State Canvassers that CBFM had filed a petition.

On Thursday, March 8, 2019 Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the Court to dismiss the lawsuit and defended the state’s previous decision to reject the signatures submitted by the group.

The Motion and Brief can be Found Here

 

Read more
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Governor Whitmer Makes Appointments to the Michigan Trails Advisory Council

The Michigan Trails Advisory Council was created to advise the Department of Natural Resources on creation, development, operation, and maintenance of motorized and non-motorized trails in the state, including, but not limited to, snowmobile, biking, equestrian, hiking, off-road vehicle, and skiing trails. The Governor has made the following appointments to the Council

Peggy Jean McCaughn, of White Pine, the business development manager of Innovative Components, Inc. and the creator of the Western Michigan UP Snowmobile Coalition, was appointed to succeed James Duke to represent snowmobile owners and Upper Peninsula residents for a term expiring Jan. 17, 2023

Robert Wilson, of Okemos, the executive director of Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, was reappointed to represent non-motorized trail user for a term expiring Jan. 17, 2023

The appointments and reappointments are not subject to advice and consent of the Senate. 

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer has made new appointments to Michigan’s Water Use Advisory Council.

The Water Use Advisory Council advises the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on the State’s Water Use Program, which includes the following major elements: Great Lakes Compact; water withdrawal; and water use conflict. The appointments are as follows;

- Michael Gallagher, of Richland, the president of the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association, was appointed to succeed William Scott Brown to represent Statewide Riparian Landowners Association for a term expiring Feb. 26, 2023.

- David Hamilton, of Haslett, the senior policy director for The Nature Conservancy, was appointed to represent Statewide Conservation Organizations for a term expiring Feb. 26, 2023.

- James Nicholas, of Mason, owner and operator of Nicholas-h2o, was appointed to represent professional hydrologists and hydrogeologists, as defined in section 32706c, with hydrogeology field experience for a term expiring Feb. 26, 2023

- Frank Ettawageshik, of Harbor Springs, the executive director of the United Tribes of Michigan, was reappointed to represent tribes for a term expiring Feb. 26, 2023

- Patrick Staskiewiczs, of Grand Haven, the director of public utilities with the Ottawa County Road Commission, was reappointed to represent municipal water suppliers for a term expiring Feb. 26, 2023.

These appointments are not subject to advice and consent of the Senate.

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Judge Upholds law that Created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority

Line 5 Legal Challenge Update

Michigan Court of Claims Judge, Stephen Borrello, has upheld the state law that created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (Public Act 359). Although he ruled that the 6-year terms for members of the authority established by the law was unconstitutional, he maintained that the appointments themselves — "and all the trappins of decision-making associated therewith" remain valid. The Michigan constitution states “Terms of office of any board or commission... shall not exceed four years except as otherwise authorized in this constitution.” Judge Borrello ruled that members can only serve for four years, the maximum allowed under the Michigan Constitution.

"The unconstitutional length of the term of office does not affect the authority of otherwise validly appointed board members," Borrello said. In fashioning a remedy, the court must "remain mindful of the Legislature’s intent and strike only those provisions of the statute that are unenforceable," Borrello said in ruling that authority members appointed to six years can only serve four.

Attorney General Dana Nessel is expected to announce an opinion on the law's constitutionality in the coming weeks.

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House Approves 60 Proposed MNRTF Projects

The State House has approved a list of 60+ Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Projects reccomended for approval by the Trust Fund Board. They will now go to the State Senate. 

2018 Development Project Reccomendations

Total Development Grant Recommendation Amount: $7,393,400
30 Local Developments - $6,853,400
4 State Developments - $540,000

2018 Acquisition Project Reccomendations

Total Acquisition Grant Recommendation Amount: $18,650,600
22 Local Acquisitions - $12,006,000
8 State Acquisitions - $6,644,600

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MOGA Partner Association Meetings and Events

March:

(8) COPAS Happy Hour and Networking at the Cambria Suites, Traverse City from 3:30-6:00p.m.

(14) NMC API Dinner at the Kalkaska VFW Hall featuring guest Speaker, CORE Energy's Bob Mannes, where the evenings topic of conversation and presentation will be all about CO2 Flooding. Admission is $25 per person, and includes a home made meal provided by the Women’s Auxiliary.  Cash or credit cards accepted. Casual Dress

6pm-7pm will be cocktails and hors d’oeuvres

7pm-8:30p will be dinner and guest speaker

Please RSVP to Jan Bell at JBell@aenergy.net no later Wednesday the 13th by 5pm to reserve your seat.

(22) AAPL will be hosting a ‘Due Diligence Seminar’ at the Park Place Hotel (Torch Room) in Traverse City, Michigan, on Friday, March 22, 2019!  The one-day event will run from 8:45 A.M. to 3 P.M. and the cost is $300 for AAPL members and $425 for non-members.  AAPL members that attendee will receive 5 continuing education credits. Click here to register.

May:

(19) NMC API Spring shoot at the Northland Sportsman club in Gaylord, Michigan on May 10th, 2019.  Entry is limited to the first 75 people. Teams may consist of up to 5 people.  If you don’t have a team and want to shoot, we will place you with a Team. Contact Collette Hoeft at hoeftnhoeft@gmail.com to register. 

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DEQ Restructuring Update

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be Restructured into the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced a second Executive Order (EO 2019-6) intended to restructure the Department of Environmental Quality into the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). Under EO 2019-6, The Environmental Rules Board and the Environmental Permit Review Panels/ Commissions that were put in place by the legislature last year would be kept intact under this proposed restructure. New offices created within the restructured department include; Climate and Energy, Clean Water Public Advocate, and Environmental Justice Public Advocate. 

Executive Order 2019-6 Full Text can be found here. 

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An update on Line 5

On her first full day in office, Governor Whitmer requested an opinion from Attorney General Dana Nessel on the constitutionality of the law that created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority and the on the Authority's approval of the Agreement. 

According the the letter submitted to the AG's office, The Governor is questioning whether the new law violates the Michigan Constitution in several ways, including;

  • Whether the amended law violates a statute that requires the main focus of an act to be reflected in the title.
  • Whether the six-year appointments of corridor authority board members violate a constitutional requirement limiting appointments to four-year terms.
  • Whether the amended law violates parts of the Michigan Constitution related to tunnel construction and operation.
  • Whether the law constitutes a special or local act when it should have been created under a general act.
  • Whether the new authority possesses more power than it is entitled to by law or the Constitution. 
  • Whether the authority and its actions are invalid if the authority is found to violate state law or the state Constitution.

In the process of forming an opinion, Nessel asked for briefs or legal memos from interested parties on the questions Whitmer raised.

Fast forward to today, March 1st,  Mlive has released an article on the legal briefs submitted thus far to the AG's office. MLive filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the responses. Nessel’s office responded with seven responses from five groups or individuals. 

Although the groups disagree on several aspects, it seems that they reach a concensus that the provision for the six-year terms for members of the new Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority is unconstitutional. The Michigan constitution states “Terms of office of any board or commission... shall not exceed four years except as otherwise authorized in this constitution.”
Public Act 359 put members of the newly-created authority in place for six years, a direct contradiction to the four the constitution allows.

In response, Jim Holcomb, executive vice president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said that group’s brief also pointed out the six-year term could be a violation of the constitution. But, he said, “it doesn’t mean the statute is invalid.”He argued based on previous cases and attorney general opinions, that part of the statute was severable, meaning the rest of the law could stand even if that one portion were found to be unconstitutional.

Attorney General Dana Nessel is expected to consider these briefs as she works to form an opinion on the law's constitionality. Stay tuned for more updates and visit Mlive to see the full article and briefs

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Thank You for helping Make Legislative Day 2019 a Success!

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Thank you!

With your help, we were able to get a positive touch with all 148 legislative offices on one of the busiest days in Lansing. Working together to educate new and returning leaders on our industry, we've cultivated a positive platform for continued discussions with our elected leaders. 

By the Numbers:

  • 60+ MOGA Members and Partner Association Legislative Day Attendees.
  • 134 Meetings with Legislative Offices.
  • Over 50 Legislative offices, Department leaders, and heads of partner associations attended the legislative reception.

Members sat down with House and Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle and shared the positive impact of our industry with committee chairs and committee members on nearly a dozen committees in the legislature. The 14 remaining legislative offices that we were not able to meet with still received packets of information, showcasing the positive impact of Michigan’s oil and gas industry on the state and in their communities. This ensured that all 45 new State Representatives, 29 new State Senators, returning legislators, and legislative staffers were provided the benefits of our home state energy production, before joining us for the cocktail reception at the Radisson.

We encourage you to stay connected to your elected officials throughout the year by attending local coffee hours or in-district events in your hometown. These are great opportunities to continue to build real relationships with your elected officials.

Please don't forget to fill out and send in your legislative meeting report forms or simply send us any notes or questions you received during the day.This is important way for us to keep our notes organized and pool our collaborative efforts. If you'd like additional report forms, please email me at mcornelius@michiganoilandgas.org and I will send more. 

Thank you for supporting a Great Industry in a Great State!

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