Ohio Sues to Recover $2.3 Million From Rover Pipeline Fines

November 6, 2017
Ohio Attorney General filed suit against ETP regarding water pollution violations

Last Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed suit against ETP regarding the numerous water pollution violations the company is responsible for as it has been constructing a $4.2 billion natural gas pipeline that runs from West Virginia to Michigan. The suit accuses ETP of  “a series of calculated business decisions or complete indifference” that led to millions of gallons of drilling fluids and other pollution being dumped into Ohio waterways and wetlands. 

The suit says ETP has flooded protected wetlands with several million gallons of contaminated drilling fluid in 10 of the 18 Ohio counties where the pipeline is being built. Ohio maintains Rover Pipeline LLC has repeatedly violated state laws and permits while construction the 7130-mile twin pipeline that will eventually carry natural gas from Appalachian shale fields to Canada, the Midwest, and the South.

Rover Pipeline LLC backer ETP has a history of being difficult to deal with and the Ohio state EPA said the company is unwilling to negotiate a settlement or improve their construction practices. Since beginning construction last March, Ohio EPA has issued 13 environmental violations against ETP/Rover, including a four-month long stop on drilling in specific sections of the project. As of September, Rover Pipeline LLC had $2.3 million in fines issued from the Ohio EPA and $10,000 per day in civil penalties.

Instead, ETP has said it prefers to work with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and meet that agency's requirements, thus putting off Ohio's regulations such as obtaining storm water permits from the state. The company has said it is “not responsible” for those fines, and will push forward with plans to finish the pipeline, which winds through Ohio and West Virginia before making its way to Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

The Rover Pipeline build has had more noncompliance incidents than any other interstate gas pipeline, according to EcoWatch.com.

Nonetheless, the company told PBS NewsHour in an email that “we have worked cooperatively with the Ohio EPA for the past six months to resolve this matter in a way that is satisfactory to all parties involved. We are therefore disappointed that they have resorted to litigation when Ohio EPA has acknowledged publicly that Rover has complied with all applicable environmental laws.”

“We do not anticipate that this will affect our construction timeline,” the company added.

For more information, read The Ongoing Fight Over The Rover Pipeline, Explained  at PBS.org.

image: Ohio EPA