Rover Pipeline Construction Incurs Many Violations in Ohio

by admin on May 10, 2017

Drilling mud spill on Rover Pipeline (See Video)

Ohio EPA orders Rover pipeline builder to pay $431,000 for violations

From an Article by Marion Renault, The Columbus Dispatch, May 8, 2017

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Energy Transfer, the company building the Rover natural gas distribution pipeline, to pay $431,000 for water and air pollution violations at various locations across the state.

In its order issued Friday, OEPA also instructed Energy Transfer to submit plans to address potential future releases and restore impacted wetlands along the $4.2 billion underground pipeline route, which stretches from Washington County in southeastern Ohio to Defiance County in the northwest.

Work on the pipeline began in mid-February, and state officials say a total of 18 incidents involving mud spills from drilling, stormwater pollution and open burning at Rover pipeline construction sites have been reported between late March and Monday to the agency.

That includes a 200-gallon release of mud Monday in Harrison County. Other Rover pipeline incidents include a spill that impacted one village’s public water system and another that smothered a protected wetland with several million gallons of bentonite mud, a natural clay which is used as a drilling lubricant.

“All told, our frustration is really high. We don’t think they’re taking Ohio seriously,” said OEPA Director Craig Butler. “Normally when we have … a series of events like this, companies respond with a whole lot of contrition and whole lot of commitment. We haven’t seen that. It’s pretty shocking.”

Alexis Daniel, an Energy Transfer spokeswoman, said Monday in an email statement that the “small number of inadvertent releases of ‘drilling mud’ during horizontal drilling in Ohio … is not an unusual occurrence when executing directional drilling operations and is all permitted activity by (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).

“We do not believe that there will be any impact to the environment,” Daniel said, adding that the company — the same one behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline — is managing the Rover pipeline situation in accordance with its federal- and state-approved contingency plan.

After a pair of wetlands spills in April, Energy Transfer still planned to finish the Rover project and begin operating the pipeline this year.

“I believe and have told them that they’re rushing and building so quickly that they’re not paying attention to best management practice,” said Butler. “With oil and gas expanding in Ohio, we’ve seen a lot of pipeline activity. We’re not unaccustomed to seeing an occasional release. “This is pretty systemic — that’s when the alarm bells go off in my head.”

Butler said the OEPA has referred the matter to the FERC for analysis and is exploring other legal options.

“It’s very concerning. These violations are a swath across our entire state,” said Cheryl Johncox, a Sierra Club organizer. “We have no faith in their ability to operate a pipeline safely.”

OEPA inspectors across the state will continue to assist with monitoring, response and cleanup, Butler said.

But Sierra Club and other environmental groups are calling for the state to go further and seek an immediate injunction to shut down the project. Either this company is completely irresponsible or they just don’t care,” said Johncox. “We want the construction halted.”

Butler said the state “is limited in that we cannot ask them to shut down their operations. It’s a story left unfinished.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lorne Stockman May 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm

WV-VA pipeline fighters, as many of you have probably seen, the construction of the Rover pipeline in Ohio has resulted in a horrendous 2 million gallon spill of drilling fluids and mud during the process of horizontal directional drilling. This is just the worst of many incidents to have occurred since construction begun just over 2 months ago.

One more thing on Rover. A human rights tribunal is taking place in Athens, Ohio today showcasing voices of affected landowners and communities along the Rover route. It’s live streaming on facebook until 6:30 …..

Lorne Stockman
Senior Research Analyst
Oil Change International
714 G Street SE, Suite 202
Washington, DC 20003
P: 1 540 679 1097
FB: /priceofoil
T: @priceofoil — @LorneStockman


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