Rover Pipeline builders suggest recent spills were “sabotage,” point finger at everyone but themselves

Melanie Houston, Director Oil and Gas
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Well, the plot thickens: Yesterday we learned that the parent-company of Rover, Energy Transfer Partners, filed a rebuttal against a stop-work-order for new construction of the pipeline.

This is likely another attempt to draw out negotiations and stall on complying with state and federal orders to clean up their mess.

If you haven’t been following Rover’s bad behavior, here’s a quick refresher. Rover pipeline is a 700-mile pipeline spanning 18 counties in Ohio as well as crossing portions of Michigan and West Virginia. The pipeline was approved for construction by FERC in February 2017. Since construction began, they have racked up nearly 30 environmental violations, including a 2 million gallon spill of drilling mud laced with diesel fuel, into pristine wetlands in Stark County. As a result, FERC put a stop-work-order on any new construction on the pipeline in May of this year.

In their letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the pipeline company requested permission to resume with new horizontal directional drilling operations and denied any wrongdoing to Ohioans and our natural environment. Specifically, the company asserted that the diesel fuel additives that were detected by Ohio EPA in the drilling fluid were not their fault. After giving several other unsatisfactory explanations for the violation, Rover is now claiming the diesel in the drilling mud that contaminated wetlands could have been added as an attempt to sabotage the company.

Most recently, on July 7, 2017, the Ohio EPA issued a final order summarizing Rover’s long list of environmental violations, spelling out remediation actions required by the company, and monetizing those impacts in the form of reasonable penalties. We are still waiting to learn whether Rover will comply with Ohio EPA’s orders and clean up their act. Recent news about the company’s conspiracy theories on the origin of diesel fuel additives suggest they may continue to withhold from the state of Ohio what is rightfully ours.

Our Director, Heather Taylor-Miesle, stated it well, when she said, “Claiming they were sabotaged or framed without any evidence whatsoever is merely another attempt for Rover to deflect blame and avoid owning up to the consequences of their actions. We are taught in kindergarten to clean up after ourselves, and Rover should remember this important childhood lesson.”

The oil and gas PR industry is staging a massive campaign to downplay ETP’s misdeeds and tout the benefits of the pipeline. We need to show the other side of the story. Help us fight back by sharing this blog on social media.

You can also register today to attend a Citizen Action Training on letter-to-the-editor writing. We need your voice in your local paper to help us set the record straight. Register today. 

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 12:15pm