2019 MAPL Winter Mini Seminar

MAPL_Logo.pngThe 2019 MAPL Winter Mini Seminar will be held on February 19th at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing. Traditionally, the Winter Mini has been held in Mt. Pleasant at the Comfort Inn preceding the MOGA Membership Meeting which has been replaced in 2019 by State Legislative Education Day on February 20th also in Lansing at the Radisson Hotel. For this reason, The MAPL Board decided to change the venue for 2019.

Registration will begin at 11:30 followed by lunch which will then lead into our Presentations. AAPL continuing education credits will be available. A block of rooms at the Radisson has also been reserved for those that wish to arrive the evening before the Seminar. Please keep an eye out for the official invitation in January.

Below is a list of the Speakers that MAPL has lined up so far:

Norman J. Saari | Michigan Public Service Commission| Norman J. Saari served as an executive director of governmental affairs for 20 years at Consumers Energy Company, a position from which he retired in 2006. He was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan Public Service Commission in 2015. Commissioner Saari is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and serves on its Committee on Natural Gas, Chairs the Subcommittee on Pipeline Safety, and is a member of the Washington Action Program. Commissioner Saari will be giving a broad overview of the MPSC and how they become involved with our industry.

John Fowler | President, Polaris Energy, Inc.| John Fowler is a veteran Michigan Petroleum geologist with over 40 years of experience in the Michigan Oil and Gas Industry. John received his bachelor’s degree in Geology from Michigan State University, followed up by his master’s degree in Geology from Western Michigan University. In 2017 Mr. Fowler was honored with the Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education’s (MGREE) Lifetime Achievement Award. John is going to provide us with a presentation on the process involved in determining well site locations.

Steve Bigard | President, Bigard and Huggard Drilling, Inc. | Since 1996, Biaard & Huggard Drilling, Inc. of Mount Pleasant, MI has been serving Michigan as well as Ohio, Indiana and Illinois with safe and efficient oilfield related services including oil and gas drilling, casing, cementing and excavating services. Steve is going to give us a presentation on Conventional Well drilling. This is a topic that can be very informational for all land professionals.

Scott Bellinger | Managing Editor and Advertising Director, Michigan Oil & Gas News | The Michigan Oil & Gas News is considered by many to be the publication of record for Michigan’s Oil and Gas Industry and Scott Bellinger has played a role in keeping that record for more than 36 years as the longest serving employee of MOGN since the business became a subsidiary of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association in 1973. Scott will be Presenting: “Michigan Oil & Gas News: Reporting on a dynamic industry for more than eight decades.”

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Detroit News Opinion Piece: Prosperity Can Come With a Clean Environment

"Voters have shown they don't want to choose between a clean planet and abundant, affordable energy. They want both. And thanks to recent advances in drilling technologies, they can get their wish".

Visit the Detroit News to see the Opinion Piece!

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Governor Whitmer Requests Legal Review of Line 5 and the MSCA

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. 

“I pledged to take action on the Line 5 pipeline on day one as governor, and I am holding true to that campaign promise.” the Governor said. 

Click Here to read the Governor's letter to the Attorney General  

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.
Read more
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Governor Whitmer Continues Additions to Her Staff

Governor Whitmer's new staff additions include;

Greg Bird, the director of state relations at Wayne State University, will be her new legislative director.

Emily Laidlaw, an associate at Karoub Associates, will be Whitmer's policy director.

Ghida Dagher, the Director of government partnerships at the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators will be the Appointments Director.

Scottie Barton will the constituent services director.

Mary Hannaford, Whitmer's scheduler for the campaign, will move into that role for the new governor. 

Tiffany Brown, the current public information officer for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, will be Whitmer's new press secretary.

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MNRTF Board recommends $26M to enhance public outdoor recreation

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board recommended $26 million in grants for outdoor recreation development and land acquisition projects for approval by the state Legislature.

The board recommended a total of $26 million in grant funding, including $7.4 million for 34 recreation developments and $18.6 million for 30 land acquisition projects. The funds will support a variety of outdoor recreation projects and improvements including; expanded public access at popular beach destinations, additional snowmobile and multi use trail easements, facility and playground improvements at urban parks, construction of new trails and connectors, water trail projects and sports field expansions.

Funding for these projects is provided in part by revenue derived from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned oil, gas, and mineral rights. the MNRTF has contributed immeasurably to protecting our states natural beauty and helped pave the way for wise and prudent development of our state's abundant energy resources.

“Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants make a long-lasting impact in communities across Michigan, providing a positive impact on the lifestyles of Michiganders through better public access to outdoor recreation opportunities, while giving a boost to regional economies,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “The Trust Fund is a unique Michigan model that is working to yield benefits around the state.”

The board's recommendations will go to the state Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. Upon approval, the Legislature will forward a bill for the governor’s signature.

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Incoming Gov. Whitmer Appoints Department Heads

This week, incoming Governor Whitmer announced several Department Heads;


Paul Ajegba – Michigan Department of Transportation Director (MDOT) – He has been an MDOT employee for 28 year starting in the Engineering Development Program and rising through the ranks to his most recent position as Metro Region Engineer. Paul was also named the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ Public Agency Executive of the Year in 2017. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas and his Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan.

Liesl Eichler Clark – Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Director – She is the co-founder and partner of a policy consulting firm, 5 Lakes Energy. She has also served as President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and as Deputy Director for Energy Programs at the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from MSU’s James Madison College and a Master’s Degree from Michigan State University.

Dan Eichinger – Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Director – Currently serves as Executive Director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He previously served in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

Gary McDowell – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director– A farmer who owns and operates McDowell Brothers Farm and McDowell Hay, Inc. with his brothers. He also served for 22 year on the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners and 6 years as a State Representative for the 107th District. He attended Lake Superior State University.

Captain Joe Gasper – Michigan State Police Director (MSP) – He joined the MSP in 1998 and currently serves as Emergency Manager. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Michigan University.

Heidi Washington – Michigan Department of Corrections Director (MDOC) – She will continue to serve in her current role. Under Washington’s leadership, MDOC has seen a significant decrease in its prison population and has implemented a skilled trades training program to help prisoners complete career and technical education and be better prepared to find jobs upon release. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University, as well as a Law Degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Brigadier General Paul Rogers – Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Director – He most recently served as the Deputy Commander of the 46th Military Police Command. Prior to becoming Deputy Commander, he served as the 46th Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and the Chief of Staff. Having deployed to Iraq in 2005 as the Battalion Commander of the 507th Engineer Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, BG Rogers commanded a total of 823 soldiers, 139 marines and 114 airmen in combat operations during the deployment.

Orlene Hawks - Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Director – She currently serves as Director of the Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) where she has worked for the last five years. Prior to the OCO, she managed the Quality and Program Services section in the Michigan Department of Community Health (now MDHHS). She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University.

Anita Fox - Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director (DIFS) – She brings more than 30 years of experience in the legal field to the role, having specialized in litigating a wide range of business and insurance issues. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Kalamazoo College then graduated Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Law School. She also holds a State of Michigan Secondary Teaching Certificate.

Lisa McCormick - Office of the Children’s Ombudsman – She has been a long-time criminal prosecutor and child advocate. She served a 21-year tenure at the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, where she ultimately became Chief Assistant Prosecutor. McCormick also founded Small Talk Children’s Advocacy Center with the belief that every child deserves a safe place for healing. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh and graduated Juris Doctorate, Cum Laude, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

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Renew Michigan Supplemental Approved to include $69 Million in Continuing Money for Environmental Clean-ups

Renew Michigan has been the top priority of the Governor, with rumblings that, if money was not found for brownfield clean-ups, no Part 201 bill would be signed by Snyder.  A deal was made late last night and a supplemental was approved that included $69 million in continuing money for clean-ups.  The money is broken down into three pots ($44.85 million in environmental clean-ups, $15.18 million for local recycling and $9 million) and comes from the general fund.  This money will come from the general fund, but will cause no loss in the school aid fund because of the Wayfair online sales tax revenue which will more than cover the loss. 

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Michigan Voters Will Decide Fate of State Parks Improvements Plan

In 2020, Michigan voters will be weighing in on whether more oil and gas revenue should be steered to state park improvements instead of land and development purchases under a measure that passed the House and Senate with two-thirds support.

Sen. Tom Casperson's SJR O, SB 0763, SB 0931 and SB 0932 would rearrange how officials could spend the oil, gas and mineral revenue that goes into the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund (MSPEF) above $800 million. Currently, it required that half of these revenues be spent on land purchases and development. The rest must be spent on maintaining state parks. 

This new package of bills would put 55 percent toward state park operations and infrastructure and 15 percent toward local development projects. The other 30 would go to the principal of the NSPEF 

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Bill Providing Accountability and Transparency in the Ballot Proposal Process Heads to the Governor.

A bill that will provide more accountability and transparency in the ballot proposal process is on it's way to the Governor's desk. It will also make it more difficult for groups to place initiatives on the ballot.  Under the bill, no more than 15 percent of the total signatures submitted for a ballot proposal could be collected in a single congressional district. Any additional signatures, over the 15 percent in a district, would not be counted.  This will help ensure that signatures come from all corners of the state.

The bill moves the date by which the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) must certify a petition to no later than July 1st before an election. This could previously be done as late as September. It will also require that any legal challenges to the Canvassers' findings be filed within three days, directly to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The bill will require paid circulators to register with the state, invalidate of any signatures that were not signed in the circulator's presence, and ensure a factual 100-word summary of the proposal be included on the front petition.

Additional bills have been passed that will prohibit petition circulators from intentionally making a false statement or misrepresentation about the petitions and will allow a petition signer to remove his or her name from a petition, particularly if they were duped by a collector on the intention and implications of the petition.

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Whitmer Announces Several Department Leaders for her Incoming Administration

On Friday, December 21, 2018, Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer announced several key positions in her incoming administration. Here are the positions we have so far; 

Department Leaders are as follows;

Treasurer: Rachael Eubanks, a current Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) member, will be the new state treasurer.

State Budget Director: Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council.

Director of the Office of the State Employer: Liza Estlund Olson, executive director of the SEIU Local 517M.

Leadership Positions in her Executive office;

Chief of Staff: JoAnne Huls, chief of staff at Sterling Group.

Chief Strategist: Mark Burton, Whitmer's former legislative chief of staff.

Chief Legal Counsel: Mark Totten, MSU College of Law associate professor and former Attorney General candidate.

Chief Compliance Officer: Corina Pena Andorfer, attorney and former chief compliance officer at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Cabinet Secretary: Jay Rising, former state treasurer and retired executive vice president/chief financial officer of Detroit Medical Center.

Chief of Staff to Lt. Gov. Garlin GILCHRIST IIShaquila Myers, the legislative director for Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich

Communications Director: Zack Pohl, the communications director on Whitmer's gubernatorial campaign.

Public Affairs Director: Jen Flood, government policy advisor at Dykema.

Community Affairs Director: Melanie Brown, director of public affairs and community engagement at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Stay tuned for continuing updates as the new administration announces cabinet positions. 

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Michigan Petroleum Directory Now Available!