Ohio EPA Penalties With The Rover Pipeline Builder Must Be Negotiated

May 15, 2017

A week ago, there were widespread reports that Ohio EPA fined the owners of the Rover pipeline for environmental violations during ongoing construction of the natural gas transmission system across northern Ohio.  But the fine was more a matter of definition.

Clay Laden Drilling Water Floods Stark County Wetland
Credit Ohio EPA

OEPA did tell Rover’s parent corporation Energy Transfer that it will have to pay a penalty, in addition to cleaning up recent spills in Ohio, and change a number of its practices.

However, it did so not by levying fines or issuing directives. It proposed “administrative orders” that may be binding, but only after negotiations. James Lee is a spokesman for Ohio EPA.

A fine has not yet been levied against Rover.  Ohio EPA’s proposed administrative orders direct the company to pay appropriate civil penalties for destroying a category three wetland in Stark County, and other air and water violations. That enforcement case is ongoing.  And the company has an opportunity to respond. “

FERC, the federal pipeline regulators, reacting the Ohio EPA concerns and administrative order proposal, told Rover to stop the kind of drilling it was doing in Stark County until it settles things with Ohio EPA.

Meanwhile, the Canton Repository is reporting that the Ohio Historic Preservation Office has asked FERC to resolve a dispute over a $1.5 million payment it says Energy Transfer agreed to make for destruction of historic properties in the Rover pipeline's path.