Ohio EPA Asks Rover Pipeline to Pause HDD Activities Following Drilling Fluid Release

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A map of the proposed Rover Pipeline project.

On Nov. 24, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) cited Rover Pipeline LLC for spilling horizontal directional drilling (HDD) fluids into the Black Fork of the Mohican River in Ashland County, Ohio.

According to a press release from the Ohio EPA, it summarized the violations in letter sent to Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline. The letter requested that Rover pause HDD activities, review its contingency plan and ensure readiness to respond to future inadvertent returns.

The Notice of Violation is Rover’s fifth since the company received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September to resume drilling construction at certain locations in Ohio.

Follow this link to read the complete Ohio EPA news release.

The Notice of Violation prompted a strong rebuke from the Ohio Environmental Council.

“Over the weekend, we learned of yet another spill by Rover Pipeline, this time into the Black Fork tributary of the Mohican River, a State Scenic River, in Ashland County. My family and I have spent weekends canoeing down this very river, enjoying its natural beauty. We can’t stand idly by while this river is threatened by the same company that devastated wetlands, historic places, and natural areas across our state,” said Melanie Houston, director of Climate Programs for the Ohio Environmental Council. “Just this year, the Rover Pipeline has had 19 violations, with the fifth most recent occurring after the company received FERC permission to resume drilling. This blatant disrespect for Ohioans and our natural places is inexcusable and Energy Transfer Partners must be held accountable.”

At the beginning of November, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, on behalf of the Ohio EPA, filed a lawsuit against Rover Pipeline LLC for polluting state waters while constructing the pipeline.

According to the lawsuit, Rover has illegally discharged drilling fluids and sediment-laden storm water on numerous occasions and in various counties while constructing a 713-mile interstate pipeline across Ohio. In April, it discharged several million gallons of drilling fluids into wetlands in Stark County.

Rover is accused of violating state water pollution control laws and failing to comply with Ohio EPA Director’s Orders. The state’s lawsuit seeks a court order requiring Rover to apply for state permits, to comply with environmental plans approved and ordered by the Ohio EPA, and to pay civil penalties of $10,000 per day per violation.

A copy of the lawsuit, filed in the Stark County Common Pleas Court, is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

Follow this link to read the filing.

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