Newsletter Updates
Line 5 Supporters & Opponents Rally this Week as Shutdown Deadline Comes and Goes
Friday, May 14, 2021 02:09 PM

This week saw the Governor’s May 12th deadline for the shutdown of Line 5 come and go, as supporters and opponents of the line both rallied. That date was set by the Governor and the Department of Natural Resources 180 days after a November Notice of Revocation and Termination of the 1953 easement for Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. The state alleged that Enbridge has incurably violated the terms of the easement by operating the pipeline in an unsafe manner.

On the other hand, Enbridge asserts that the pipeline currently meets all requirements of the easement, that the company has the right to address any issues brought forward by the State, and that issues of pipeline safety as well as international pipeline commerce rightly belong in federal – not state – courts. The parties are currently involved in ongoing litigation and are meeting with a federally-appointed mediator.

Gov. Whitmer Announces End of Remote Work and Mask Requirements, but Impact on MIOSHA Rules Still Unclear
Friday, May 14, 2021 02:08 PM

With positive news this week of COVID vaccination progress and effectiveness, Governor Whitmer announced both the end of the current remote work requirement as well as the lifting of indoor mask requirements for vaccinated persons, but there remain questions and concerns about the relationship to MIOSHA’s rules.

Earlier in the week, Governor Whitmer confirmed that the state had surpassed a 55% rate of residents age 16+ with at least one dose. Pursuant to the Governor’s “Vacc to Normal” plan, that triggered a rollback of the current requirement that employees work remotely if feasible, effective Monday May 24th. The remote work requirement had been a major sticking point for employers seeking to flexibly return workers to in-person settings.

Republicans Introduce Bill to Prohibit Employers from Requiring Proof of Vaccination
Friday, May 07, 2021 12:00 AM

This week, Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives turned their attention toward the issue of so-called “vaccine passports,” or the use of paper or digital documentation of an individual’s vaccination status. As public health guidance and orders continue to focus on the number of vaccinated individuals when considering COVID restrictions, the debate has arisen over the authority of government and private entities to require proof of vaccination as condition for entry, service, employment, etc… For example, several Michigan universities have said they will require students to be vaccinated in order to live on campus.

In the Legislature, several bills would pertain to the role of state or local governments to issue or enforce “vaccine passports,” but a new bill introduced on Thursday (HB 4791) would create a new prohibition against employment discrimination based on vaccination or immunity status.

DHHS Updates Epidemic Order and Loosens Some Mask Requirements, but Workplace Discrepancies Exist
Friday, May 07, 2021 12:00 AM

This week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an updated epidemic order and loosened some mask requirements. The order – which went into effect on Thursday, May 6th and continues through May 31st – primarily applies to settings outside of the workplace. In contrast, workplace requirements continue to be set through MIOSHA’s emergency COVID standards, creating some notable discrepancies.

Please click here for a copy of the DHHS press release and the order.

ERRC Approves Rules Setting Cleanup Criteria for Five Additional PFAS
Friday, April 30, 2021 12:00 AM

On Thursday, the state’s Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC) approved a set of rules that will establish cleanup standards under the Part 201 program for five additional PFAS compounds.

The ERRC is an independent stakeholder committee that oversees any environmental rulemaking, and had previously signed off on the rules setting landmark drinking water standards for seven PFAS compounds.

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