Energy Transfer has been ordered to halt construction on the Rover Pipeline due to a 2 million gallon spill of drilling fluid. The Rover Pipeline is a $4.2 billion interstate natural gas line that spans approximately 713 miles, originating in Southeastern Ohio, Western West Virginia, and Southwestern Pennsylvania and continuing north across the state of Ohio to an interconnection in Defiance, Ohio.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered Energy Transfer last Wednesday to halt drilling at eight other locations as well, including points under the Ohio and Portage rivers.
On April 13, workers drilling under the Tuscarawas River south of Navarre, Ohio released 2 million gallons of drilling fluid which then flooded over six acres of nearby wetlands. Drilling fluid isblend of water, chemicals and bentonite clay that forms a gel used to enhance the drilling rate of penetration and lubricate equipment. When the fluid is not being used, it becomes more solid.
State officials said Energy Transfer has had 18 violations involving spills and pollution at Rover construction sites since work began in February, including a recent incident that threatened a public water system last Monday
In an article on CantonRep.com , Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler said, " 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).
Energy Transfer is allowed to continue non-drilling construction but now must double the number of environmental inspectors on each drill point and to get an independent third party contractor to analyze their procedures on the Tuscarawas site.
Last week the Ohio EPA fined Energy Transfer $431,000 for water pollution violations along the Rover pipeline route in other parts of Ohio.