President Biden Releases Covid-19 Action Plan. Here's What it could Mean for Employers

On Thursday, September 9th, President Biden announced the administrations new national strategy to address COVID-19

In his announcement, the President called on businesses “to do more to encourage vaccinations.”  The President said he is using his “regulatory powers and other actions to substantially increase the number of Americans covered by vaccination requirements,” saying, “These requirements will become dominant in the workplace.”

The plan, which can be found here, includes,

Requiring All Employers with 100+ Employees to Ensure their Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement. This requirement will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees.

Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Time Off to Get Vaccinated.

To continue efforts to ensure that no worker loses a dollar of pay because they get vaccinated, OSHA is developing a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they are under the weather post-vaccination. This requirement will be implemented through the ETS.

MOGA will keep you updated as this continues to develop. 

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MOGA Signs on to Methane Fee Opposition Letter

The Michigan Oil and Gas Association has joined the American Petroleum Institute (API), State Oil & Gas Associations, and over one hundred energy, manufacturing, business and labor trade organizations across the natural gas and oil supply chain in issuing a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works opposing the Methane Emissions Reduction Act of 2021 (a new Methane Fee that has been introduced as part of the federal Reconciliation package).

Click Here to View the Letter

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Gov. Whitmer announces historic $150 million investment in local parks and trails

Gov. Whitmer announces historic $150 million investment in local parks and trails 

Together with proposed investment in state parks, the plan would provide $400 million to revitalize communities across Michigan 

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today announced an historic investment in community parks and recreation facilities, proposing $150 million in federal relief dollars from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan be dedicated to addressing critical needs in local park systems. This investment will create good-paying, blue collar jobs across the state as we jumpstart our economy and get Michigan back to work. 

Whitmer announced the proposal at the Idema Explorers Trail in Ottawa County, an example of a recreation property that could benefit from the new funding. The proposed investment would be administered as a grant program by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and would support the economies, health and recovery of communities across the state. 

Last month, Whitmer announced a similar proposal to invest $250 million of American Rescue Plan funding in parks and trails managed by the State of Michigan.  

“These two new investment programs, totaling $400 million, mark a once-in-a-generation chance to improve quality of life for our residents, support local economies and bring people back to Michigan as the state continues its recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” Whitmer said. “These investments will ensure our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of natural beauty and outdoor spaces so prized by Michiganders. I look forward to working with the Legislature to secure this investment for our communities.”  

“Local parks are a critical part of the network of recreational opportunities throughout Michigan,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “People just want good parks, and they don’t usually care who manages those parks provided the work is done well. Our local community partners do an outstanding job and we continue to support their work through a variety of means, including our Recreation Passport Grant program, which provides a portion of money generated by state parks to local communities for their park development. This new program would generally be modeled on our Recreation Passport grants to help local communities develop the recreational assets they need for the next generation." 

"Infrastructure needs in the state’s estimated 4,000 local parks are substantial," said Emily Stevens, president of mParks Michigan Park and Recreation Association. "Local parks saw an influx of visitors in the past year as people sought safe, socially distanced outlets for recreation during the pandemic."

“We have been singing about the benefits of our local parks, trails, and greenspaces for years, however the investments have not always matched those benefits,” said Stevens. “This monumental funding will address the needs at our neighborhood parks and community gathering places to make them safer, more accessible and inclusive.”  

Tourism to Michigan parks generates value for surrounding communities, creates jobs, and sustains small businesses. Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry supports billions in state Gross Domestic Product and sustains 126,000 jobs and over $4.7 billion in wages and salaries in the state. On average, every $1 invested in land conservation leads to $4 in economic benefit.  

“Vibrant public parks and trails are essential to healthy communities, and they allow local economies to thrive,” said Jill Martindale, advocacy director for Velocity USA, a bicycle rim manufacturer in Grand Rapids. “This funding will support companies like ours that rely on these public spaces to help keep people employed. Besides, having access to beautiful parks and trails just makes our work more fun.”  

One measure of recreational needs in local communities is the number of grant requests received each year by the DNR that go unfunded. Over the last five years, the average of development grant applications to the DNR for three primary grant programs – the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Recreation Passport Grants and Land and Water Conservation Fund – has approached $40 million annually. Nearly $20 million of those annual requests could not be met because of lack of available funding. 

“As residents recognized during the pandemic when they flocked to our parks, natural spaces should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity for our wellbeing,” said Jason Shamblin, director of Ottawa County Parks and Recreation. “The cost of acquiring natural spaces; designing, permitting, and building park infrastructure; and maintaining these facilities is consistently increasing. To keep providing this critical access to the outdoors through parks and trails, additional funding is an urgent need.” 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also proclaimed July as Parks and Recreation Month to highlight Michigan’s abundance of state, county and location community parks, as well as the many opportunities for outdoor recreation that residents can enjoy in every county across the state. 

 

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Applications for the Northern Michigan Chapter – API 2021-22 Scholarship are now being accepted

The full details for NMC API scholarship are in the application form.  Completed applications must be received before August 15, 2021. If sending by regular mail instead email, applications must be postmarked no later than the 15th.  Anything later will not be considered.

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Biden Signs Methane Congressional Review Act Resolution

The following is a press release from the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)

On June 30, 2021, President Biden signed the Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution that rescinded the 2020 EPA regulations revising the targeted emissions for regulation under New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for oil and natural gas production facilities. The primary effect of this change is to reinstate the 2016 NSPS - Subpart OOOOa - that regulates many components for methane emissions rather than volatile organic compounds (VOC). However, this action now creates regulatory inconsistencies between the 2016 NSPS and the 2020 technical revisions to that NSPS. For oil and natural gas production the most significant impact relates to low production wellsites (production at or less than 15 barrels/day of oil equivalent).

The 2020 technical revisions to Subpart OOOOa provided for an offramp from its leak detection and repair (LDAR) provisions when wellsite production fell below 15 barrels/day. However, EPA has now concluded that because this provision applied to VOC emissions and the CRA resolution eliminated that regulation, these wellsites are now returned to their status under the 2016 methane-based Subpart OOOOa. They will again be subject to the semi-annual LDAR program. An EPA question and answer document is attached that explains the agency's rationale.

NSPS regulations apply to new and modified sources. A modified source would be, for example, a refractured well. There are no current federal regulations on existing sources, including low production wells. Existing sources are currently regulated by states and some states may have low production well requirements.

The CRA action is the beginning of a long EPA regulatory process. In September 2021, EPA has been directed to propose revisions to the 2020 technical changes to Subpart OOOOa and to propose emissions guidelines under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act that would apply to all existing sources. These emissions guidelines would ultimately become state regulations unless the state defers to EPA for implementing a federal program. Both of these actions will be developed through the federal rulemaking process that includes a notice and comment period

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Acting Army assistant secretary announces USACE will conduct an EIS for Enbridge Line 5

WASHINGTON -- The acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will proceed with an environmental impact statement for the Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership Line 5 permit application.

“I have concluded that an EIS is the most appropriate level of review because of the potential for impacts significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,” said Jaime A. Pinkham, acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “USACE will ensure all potential impacts and reasonable alternatives associated with this project are thoroughly analyzed and will ultimately support a decision on the permit application. The USACE received thousands of public comments and tribal input on the proposed project, which warrant further review through an EIS, including potential impacts to navigation.”

The Army will ensure all voices are heard in an open, transparent and public process through development of the EIS and is committed to ensuring that meaningful and robust consultation with tribal nations occurs per President Biden’s Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships, January 26, 2021. The Army is committed to producing a thorough and timely EIS that rigorously explores and objectively evaluates all reasonable alternatives to render a decision within the scope of its authorities.

With the Line 5 project, Enbridge Energy is proposing to construct a tunnel under the bed of the Straits of Mackinac between Point LaBarbe, St. Ignace, Mackinac County, and McGulpin Point, Mackinaw City, Emmet County, Michigan. This tunnel would house a new 30-inch pipeline for light crude oil and liquid natural gas, replacing the existing dual submerged pipelines crossing the Straits of Mackinac, which have been in operation since 1953. USACE published a public notice and held a public hearing in December 2020, and received more than 15,000 comments regarding the Line 5 project. The comments are being reviewed and the application is being evaluated in accordance with federal regulations and policies. Under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the USACE authority is limited to the proposed crossing of the Straits of Mackinac and impacts to adjacent wetlands.

For more information, contact Army Public Affairs at [email protected]

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Gov. Whitmer Announces State will Open to Full Capacity on June 22

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced the accelerated the end of all COVID-19 epidemic orders on gatherings and masking as COVID-19 cases continue to plummet following increased vaccinations. Beginning June 22, capacity in both indoor and outdoor settings will increase to 100% and the state will no longer require residents to wear a face mask. 

Today is day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” said Governor Whitmer. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the front lines to keep us all safe. And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving. Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safeeffective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of scheduleOur top priority going forward is utilizing the federal relief funding in a smart, sustainable way as we put Michigan back to work and jumpstart our economyWe have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before. 

In addition to the Gatherings and Mask Order, additional orders are being rescinded as of June 22. These include: 

 Additionally, some orders will remain in effect to protect vulnerable populations in corrections, long-term care and agriculture. Public health measures will continue for reporting requirements and COVID testing to make sure areas where community spread is high are identified, kids are safe in school and free COVID-19 tests are available. Guidance for keeping children and staff safe in schools will be released next week.  

MDHHS will continue to provide recommendations to keep Michiganders safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in higher risk settings and places where vulnerable populations or populations with large numbers of individuals are not yet fully vaccinated. 

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EPA Pulls Primacy Final Rule to Address Comments Before Moving Forward

The EPA received adverse comment on the direct final rule for State of Michigan UIC Class II Program; Primacy Approval, published on March 19, 2021. Due to this adverse comment the EPA is withdrawing the direct final rule approving the State of Michigan UIC Class II Program and pursuing a full rule making through the proposed rule that was published simultaneously on March 19, 2021. EPA will address those comments submitted during the March 19 - April 19, 2021 public comment period in any subsequent final action. As stated in the direct final rule and the parallel proposed rule, EPA will not institute a second comment period on this action.

Withdraw of the State of Michigan's Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II Primacy Approval (PDF)

MOGA will keep you updated as more information becomes available. 

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Take the Michigan Oil and Gas News Survey!

The Michigan Oil & Gas News has proudly provided Michigan's oil and gas industry with news from across the patch for over 85 years. We look forward to being your one stop shop for industry news for years to come. We need your feedback to ensure we continue to offer subscribers the information they want and need in the most effective format.  We are looking to make changes to MOGN and want to ensure we continue to deliver the same quality information you have come to expect.  The cost of producing this publication continues to increase and we are looking for ways to maintain the quality our readers have come to expect while also maintaining a cost structure that is reasonable for our customers and advertisers.  The major changes we are evaluating are the frequency of news editions and also the formats that we offer them in. 

Click Here to Take the Michigan Oil & Gas News Survey Today!

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Proposed July 29 State Oil and Gas Lease Auction to Offer Tentative Total of 24,373.04 Acres

The first auction sale of oil and gas rights to state of Michigan-owned minerals since October of 2019 has been tentatively scheduled for July 29, 2021, and will be conducted as the state’s first ever entirely online-bid oil and gas lease auction.

The proposed online-bid auction sale  will contain a tentative offering of more than 24,000 acres, with nearly 70% of the acreage located in Gladwin, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, and Missaukee counties. The overall offering is made up of acreage nominations submitted during two nomination periods — from Nov. 4 to Dec. 9, 2019 and from May 4 to June 8, 2020.

Registration of bidders will open no later than July 16, according to a public notice of the auction.

Additional information on the acreage nominated and the format of the auction can be found in the Michigan Oil & Gas News. Not yet a subscriber? Sign up today! and don't miss out on any of the great content relevant to you and your business. 

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Michigan Petroleum Directory Now Available!