Throw Back Thursday in the Gaylord Herald Times looks back at beginning of the industry in Otsego County

This week the Gaylord Herald Times featured an article titled "Step back in time: A look back at Otsego County's oil and gas industry" that looks back on the oil and gas industry in Otsego County as told by the “Otsego County Centennial, 1875-1975.”

The following is sourced from “Otsego County Centennial, 1875-1975.”

The oil and gas industry has been good for the county, the state and the nation. In addition to increasing the personal wealth of a few county residents, who still held the mineral rights of their property, the presence of these companies have meant increased employment for our county, this has meant jobs not only for the 550 workers directly employed for production and exploration but also the service industries so necessary to the success of their operation, such as welding supply companies and equipment servicemen.

As we enter our second century we know that Otsego County will contribute to the national need for energy in a very tangible way.

Read the piece in full on the Gaylord Herald Times website.

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MI AG Dana Nessel ends challenge to constitutionality of Line 5 tunnel law

On Thursday, June 11, 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the law creating the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority to oversee the planned utility tunnel under the Mackinac Straits was constitutional.

Attorney General Dana Nessel had argued that the law, Public 359 of 2018, was unconstitutional because the title of law doesn't match the body of the law. In October of 2019, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled against the AG’s argument and on June 11th, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld that decision. In the court’s opinion, Judge Thomas Cameron writes "We conclude that the title of 2018 PA 359 does not address objects so diverse that they have no necessary connection,"

The Attorney General's office had through Thursday, July 30 to file a notice of appeal to take the case to the Michigan Supreme Court. No appeal was filed, and instead attorney general spokesman Ryan Jarvi said Wednesday that the AG's office will focus its efforts on other litigation related to the pipeline. 


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Gov. Whitmer Extends E.O. Allowing Electronic Notorizations

On July 27,2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-158, which allows for business to be conducted remotely by allowing for expanded use of e-notaries and e-signatures. Under Executive Order 2020-158, requirements for in-person notarizations are temporarily suspended and transactions that require a notary to be completed via two-way, real-time audiovisual technology are allowed. The order also permits the use of electronic signatures in all cases, except in rare circumstances when a physical signature is specifically required by statute. The order takes effect immediately and extends the validity of notary commissions through August 31, 2020.  

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Revenue Administrative Bulletin (RAB) Webinar

Revenue Administrative Bulletin (RAB) Webinar

July 23, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. EDT

  Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS) of Michigan invites MOGA members to join a free webinar on the RAB (2019-23) Allowable Marketing Cost Deductions to Severance Tax on Natural Gas, led by Gary Bleeker.

 Please call the MOGA office at (517) 487-1092 or Email for the Zoom Meeting information. 

COPAS of Michigan will be hosting a webinar on July 23, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. EDT on the Revenue Administrative Bulletin (2019-23) Allowable Marketing Cost Deductions to Severance Tax on Natural Gas. The webinar, open to MOGA members, will feature a presentation and discussion on the RAB (2019-23), led by Gary Bleeker.

In December 2019, the Michigan Department of Treasury issued Revenue Administrative Bulletin (2019-23) titled Allowable Marketing Cost Deductions to Severance Tax on Natural Gas.  This replaces RABs 1989-19, 1989-20, 1992-5 and 1992-9 and updates the Department’s guidance regarding allowable marketing cost deductions to the severance tax on natural gas under 1929 PA 48, MCL 205.301.

Back in November 2018, industry experts reviewed the initial draft on behalf of MOGA and submitted comments.  The 2019-23 Bulletin takes into account many of our comments. Join COPAS of Michigan for a presentation and in-depth conversation on this RAB.

Please join us for this webinar!

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Governor Whitmer Designates Dan Scripps as Chair of Michigan Public Service Commission

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has designated current Commissioner Dan Scripps to serve as Chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission. Scripps will replace Sally Talberg as Chair effective July 27, 2020. Talberg will remain on the Commission along with Commissioner Tremaine Phillips. Talberg resigned as chairman to facilitate a smooth transition in leadership at the MPSC following a June announcement that she was being considered to serve on the board of directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the electric grid and markets in Texas.  She would remain on the MPSC as a commissioner pending approval of the board position by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.  If approved by the Texas Commission later this year, she would resign from the MPSC before joining the ERCOT board in January 2021. 

"The Michigan Public Service Commission is critical for creating and directing Michigan's energy future. The commission remains focused on ensuring that Michiganders have reasonable rates for safe, reliable, and accessible energy and telecommunications services across the state," Whitmer said. "Dan has the professional qualifications and dedication to serve as Chair of the Commission. I'm confident that he will continue Sally's leadership and that his skillset is the best fit for this commission and Michigan."  

 Dan Scripps, of Northport, is a current commissioner with the Public Service Commission, appointed by Governor Whitmer in February 2019. Prior to his appointment, he was the Midwest policy program director for the Energy Foundation. Commissioner Scripps has also served as president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and Institute for Energy Innovation and as a vice president with Advanced Energy Economy. An attorney, he practiced law in the Washington D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP, and served as a state representative for Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee, and Mason counties in the Michigan House of Representatives. 

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Governor Whitmer Extends Declaration of Emergency Through August 11, 2020

Today, July 14, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-151, to extend the governor’s emergency and disaster declaration until August 11, 2020 at 11:59pm. The state of emergency had been set to expire on Thursday, July 16. The extension comes amid a slight but steady increase of cases across the state. 

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Governor signs bills to regulate the use and reporting of firefighting foam containing PFAS.

On July 8, 2020, Gov. Whitmer signed House Bills 4389 and 4390, which regulate the use and reporting of firefighting foam containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. 

“Protecting our air, land and Great Lakes and ensuring Michiganders have access to clean, safe drinking water has been a top priority of my administration since day one,” Governor Whitmer said. “By signing these bills into law, we ensure any time a fire department uses firefighting foam that contains PFAS, the state is notified and the foam can be disposed of, so these forever chemicals don’t seep into our drinking water and needlessly harm Michiganders.” 

House Bill 4389 (PA 132) requires the fire chief of an organized fire department that used firefighting foam containing PFAS to report the incident to the Michigan pollution emergency alert system within 48 hours following an incident. The legislation also makes permanent a program created in 2019 to collect firefighting foam containing PFAS. The bill was sponsored by Representative Sue Allor, R-Wolverine. 

House Bill 4390 (PA 133) amends the Firefighters Training Council Act and prohibits the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS to be used by anyone trained under the Act. The bill also requires a minimum standard and training for certification as a fire service member using firefighting foam. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond. 

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State of Michigan launches new website to keep public informed about the Line 5 tunnel permitting process

Michigan launches web site to keep public informed about Line 5 tunnel permitting process

July 7, 2020
EGLE Media Office,, 517-284-9278

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) together with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) today announced the launch of the Line 5 in Michigan website.

The new multi-agency website – 5 – is designed to keep the public informed about Enbridge Energy’s proposal to relocate the current section of the Line 5 oil and natural gas liquids pipeline that crosses the Straits of Mackinac with a new section of pipeline to be housed in a tunnel beneath the lakebed.

In addition to providing an overview of the regulatory permitting process that the proposed project must follow, the website will also include technical and permitting documents, timelines, maps and other resources to help the public better understand the tunnel proposal and the unique roles various state entities play in the permitting process.

Under Michigan law, EGLE is the regulatory agency responsible for environmental permitting for the tunnel project, while the MPSC has siting authority for pipelines that carry crude oil and petroleum products. Housed within MDOT, the MSCA is responsible for overseeing construction and operation of the proposed tunnel. MSCA would own the tunnel after its construction and provide independent oversight throughout its life.

In addition to the website, EGLE has also established a dedicated permit application email account related to the proposed tunnel project, to provide the public with a simplified means of commenting on the proposed project. Those interested in monitoring or commenting on the MPSC proceeding involving the pipeline replacement project can sign up for MPSC email updates through the web site.

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Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Requiring Mask Use in all Indoor Public Spaces

On Friday July 10, Governor Whitmer signed executive order 2020-147, which reiterates that individuals are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space. It also requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces. Most significantly, the order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions. Governors in the states of Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington have imposed similar requirements on businesses. 

Under the governor’s order, businesses that are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply, and must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five years old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment.  

The executive order takes effect at 12:01 am on Monday, July 13. A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty, but no term of confinement may be imposed on individuals who violate the mask requirement. No individual is subject to penalty under the order for removing a mask while engaging in religious worship at a house of religious worshipalthough consistent with guidance from the CDC, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services. 

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Enbridge shuts down leg of Line 5’s dual Straits pipelines after discovery of anchor support damage

Enbridge has resumed normal operation of the west leg of the dual pipelines that make up the Mackinac Straits crossing portion of its Line 5 after discovering damage to an anchor support last week on the east leg.

After discovering the damage during a routine inspection on June 18, Enbridge initially shut down both legs as a precaution, reopening the west leg after further inspections found no issues with the pipeline itself. At press time this week, the east leg remains in shut down status as further assessment is being done as a matter of precaution.

As of Monday, June 22, Enbridge had completed an engineering analysis of the forces applied to the anchor support and an evaluation of the entire east pipeline for any potential damage. Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) inspections of the remainder of the east leg confirmed no damage to the remaining screw anchors and the pipeline itself.

To assure transparency and efficiency, Enbridge provided assessments on both the east and west pipeline legs to U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the state of Michigan. Enbridge has stated it will not resume operation on the east leg without further discussion with the state of Michigan and approval from PHMSA.

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