Ohio Sues Rover Pipeline To Collect $2.3 Million for Environmental Damage

Nov 3, 2017

An aerial from the Ohio EPA of the Rover spill in Stark County
Credit Ohio EPA

Editor’s note: Rover’s statement has been added to this story.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing the Rover pipeline, accusing it 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 lawsuit repeats allegations the Ohio EPA has made for months and that the state says Rover has ignored. It says the company has dumped sediment-laden storm water and other wastes into streams, lakes and rivers dozens of times since it started laying the 713-mile pipeline early this year.

The biggest spill began on April 13, when Rover is accused of discharging several million gallons of drilling fluids into wetlands in southwestern Stark County.

The suit demands Rover pay $2.3 million in fines but does not name Rover’s investors:  Energy Transfer Partners and Blackstone Energy Partners.

Last week, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton questioned why DeWine had not yet sued over the uncollected fines. She also noted his past investments in Rover. His spokesman told the Columbus Dispatch that DeWine had divested himself in May, before the first referral was made to the EPA.  Both Sutton and DeWine are running for governor. 

Here is Rover’s written response to the lawsuit: “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. This will not affect our construction timeline. Beyond that, we do not comment on current or pending legal issues.”