U.P. Telecom Provider is Interested in Running Fiber Optic Cable in the Proposed Line 5 Tunnel

Peninsula Fiber Network, A Marquette-based telecommunications company, which provides services for telecommunication providers and operates a 911 network in most Michigan counties, filed a letter of intent with the state to use the tunnel, company General Manager Scott Randall said. 

"We would place a significant fiber-optic facility within the utility corridor within the tunnel," Randall told the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority at a public meeting last week. "We would make that available to any other provider who wants to utilize that route. Doing so, we feel would help ensure stable and secure communications for the state of Michigan.”

The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, under a 2018 law, is tasked with overseeing the design, construction and operation of the tunnel as well as authorizing third parties that would share the tunnel with Line 5.

"There was secondary goal here when this law was enacted and that was to promote additional utilities using this tunnel to give broader access to citizens, no matter where they are in the state," MSCA Chair Mike Nystrom said. "So this sounds just like a great opportunity."

One other party had expressed interest in the tunnel, but had not yet submitted a letter of intent, the Michigan Department of Transportation told authority members. 

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MDARD Announces Public Input Opportunities for 2022 Rural Development Fund grants

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recently announced a public input opportunity for the Rural Development Fund Grants Program.

The grant funds, established by Public Act 411 of 2012, are intended to promote the sustainability of land-based industries (food and agriculture; forestry; mining, oil and gas production; and tourism). Currently established priorities include infrastructure development, workforce training, business development, and rural capacity building that benefits rural communities.

Eligible counties include those with a population no greater than 60,000 residents or micropolitan statistical areas. Preference is given to projects in Marquette County.

All interested parties may visit www.michigan.gov/mdardgrants for more information about Rural Development Fund grants and to review the 2021 guidelines.

MDARD asks that all public comments be made to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 2, 2021, with the subject line “Rural Development Public Comment.” The input received will be considered when developing final grant guidelines for 2022.

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2021 API Golf Outing June 4 at Twin Birch in Kalkaska

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MDHHS Announces Updated COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks Epidemic Order

MDHHS has updated its COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order, eliminating outdoor capacity limits and increasing indoor social gatherings, including weddings, conferences and funerals, to 50% capacity. Under the new order, which goes into effect Tuesday, June 1, and continues through Thursday, July 1, masks will continue to be required indoors for individuals who are not yet vaccinated.  

The May 15 Gatherings and Mask Order can be found here. 

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MIOSHA has Announced Updated "Return to Work Safely Guidelines"

According to a May 24, 2021 press release, MIOSHA has filed updated COVID-19 emergency rules in accordance with the MI Vacc to Normal plan and recent health guidelines and orders. Now that the state has reached the 55% vaccination threshold, MIOSHA has removed the requirement that employers must create a “policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” The agency has also rescinded the draft permanent COVID-19 rules, and the public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 26 is canceled. 

“As we work with the administration to get back to normal, protecting Michigan workers on the job remains the top priority for MIOSHA,” said Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Susan Corbin. "These updated emergency rules will give workers and businesses the clarity and confidence they need to bring our economy back to full-strength."  

MIOSHA has updated other aspects of the emergency rules to reflect the recent order from MDHHS and guidance from the CDC. Those changes include: 

  • Employers may allow fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow these requirements.  
  • The rules have been reformed focusing on performance, eliminating industry-specific requirements. Definitions have been updated to more clearly reflect changes in close contact and quarantining requirements for fully vaccinated employees.  
  • Cleaning requirements have been updated to reflect changes in CDC recommendations.  
  • Employers should continue to have and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules.  

MIOSHA filed the updated emergency rules on Friday, May 21 with the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules and anticipates these changes will take effect Monday, May 24. While the updated emergency rules will expire on Thursday, October 14, as this announcement demonstrates, MIOSHA has the flexibility it needs to ensure consistency with public health guidelines and can rescind all our parts of the rules.   

Based on the science and data at the time the process of creating permanent rules began, the agency utilized the process provided by law to ensure it could continue to keep employees safe if the pandemic remained when the emergency rules expired. With the recent updates from CDC and the MDHHS epidemic orders, MIOSHA is confident that these rules are not necessary.  

Visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety for additional information. 

 

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MAPL President's Dinner at Bucks Run June 16

This year's MAPL President's meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 16th at beautiful Buck's Run Golf Club in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The evening will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:00 pm on the outdoor veranda followed by dinner in the spacious banquet room. Following dinner, a panel of past MAPL Presidents will gather and share some of their most memorable landman stories and experiences from the Michigan Oil Patch. Questions and participation from those in attendance is strongly encouraged!  

The guest panel will consist of:

Greg Vadnais, Sr. (President: 1985)

Gary "Buck" Hackworth (President: 1987)

Leslie A. Irish (President: 2010)

Jeffrey A. Smetzer (President: 2003)

Michael W. Flynn (President: 2007)

In addition to the "Past Presidents Panel" the membership will also vote in our newest MAPL Membership Chair as well as the transition of duties by our current MAPL Board. So, if you are ready to gather, please join MAPL for a casual evening of food, fun and entertainment!

This event is free for all Past MAPL Presidents.

Click here to register today!

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EPA Announces Public Listening Sessions and Trainings on Upcoming Oil and Natural Gas Methane Rule

05/14/2021
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office ([email protected])

WASHINGTON (May 14, 2021) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking the first step to develop a proposed rule to reduce methane and other harmful pollutants from new and existing sources in the oil and natural gas industry, beginning with a broad public outreach effort to gather community and stakeholder input. These activities include holding training sessions on the rulemaking process and how to participate in it, convening listening sessions for stakeholders, and opening a public docket for pre-proposal comments.  

The oil and natural gas industry is the largest industrial source of U.S. emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and its facilities and operations also emit smog-forming volatile organic compounds and toxic air pollutants such as benzene. Today’s actions are in response to President Biden’s Executive Order 13990, and are key steps toward EPA’s commitment to deliver public health protections from methane pollution for communities across America.

"As we move forward to reduce pollution from oil and gas operations, it is vitally important to hear from all stakeholders, including those from impacted communities and industry," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "This process enables EPA to engage with communities that have historically borne a disproportionate burden from pollution so that we can ensure those voices are reflected in our policymaking."

President Biden's Executive Order “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” called on EPA to consider issuing a proposed rule by September 2021 to strengthen standards for methane emissions from new, reconstructed, and modified oil and natural gas sources and to address methane emissions from existing sources.
 
How to share input: 
•    Training webinars: On May 25, 26, and 27, 2021, EPA will hold training webinars for communities, Tribes and small businesses to provide an overview of the oil and natural gas industry and share information to help members of those groups effectively engage in the regulatory process. Each training will be held at 2 p.m. eastern time. 

•    Public Listening Sessions: EPA will hold virtual public listening sessions from noon to 9 p.m. eastern time June 15, 16, and 17, 2021. During the listening sessions, registered members of the public will have the chance to provide their views on the oil and natural gas industry as it relates to climate change, health and EPA’s upcoming proposed rule. The agency also has opened a non-rulemaking docket for people who wish to provide their input and perspectives in writing. 

•    Docket for public input: Beginning today, members of the public may submit their perspectives and input to the docket in advance of the September proposed rulemaking. Instructions for submitting input are available on EPA’s website, listed below.

For information on submitting input to the docket, or to register to attend a training or listening session, visit https://www.epa.gov/controlling-air-pollution-oil-and-natural-gas-industry/epa-announces-public-listening-sessionsEPA will post additional outreach opportunities to this website as they are scheduled. 

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Governor Lifts Mask Mandate for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Gov. Gretchen has announced Michigan is lifting mask requirements for vaccinated people in all settings, following the updated federal guidance issued Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday that "fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance," the Governor said in a press release.

The updated gatherings and mask order will go into effect Saturday at 9 a.m.

Under the updated order, Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others.

After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire, according to the press release.

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Enbridge Launches Line 5 and Great Lakes Tunnel Project Virtual Open House

The 24/7 virtual open house includes a variety of videos and interactive opportunities that highlight the engineering and design of the project. Community members can ask questions, provide feedback and hear from project experts. 

Visit the Virtual Open House

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Governor Announces "MI Vacc to Normal" Plan

On April 29, 2021, the Governor unveiled the ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan as the state continues to push toward its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders ages 16 years or older. The plan details the metrics the state will consider for lifting the Covid-19 restrictions.

According to the press release, to facilitate this goal, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will base future epidemic order actions on four vaccination-based milestones that, once achieved, will enable Michigan to take a step toward normalcy. 

The ‘MI Vacc to Normal’ plan will use four vaccination-based milestones -- using data for Michiganders 16 years or older who’ve received their first dose -- to guide future steps required to get back to normal: 

  • 55% of Michiganders (4,453,304 residents), plus two weeks 
  • Allows in-person work for all sectors of business. 
  • 60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents), plus two weeks 
  • Increases indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%. 
  • Increases indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes  to 25%. 
  • Increases capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to 50%. 
  • Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.   
  • 65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents), plus two weeks 
  • Lifts all indoor % capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties. 
  • Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.   
  • 70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents), plus two weeks 
  • Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order such that MDHHS will no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise, such as the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.   

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Michigan Petroleum Directory Now Available!