The state of Ohio intends to change that.

During a Monday conference call with media, Craig Butler, the director of the Ohio EPA, said the Ohio EPA has issued a unilateral order to Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Rover Pipeline, ordering it to take numerous steps in a document aimed at protecting human health and the environment.

In another step, the Ohio EPA requested the Ohio Attorney General to initiate civil proceedings against Energy Transfer Partners and Rover Pipeline LLC. for violations that have occurred during the construction of the Rover Pipeline across the Buckeye state.

In the enforcement letter from Butler to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Butler said Rover Pipeline has failed to comply with the director’s findings and orders.

“I would further request that you initiate civil proceedings to compel compliance with these orders and any other environmental law that has been violated,” Butler said in the letter.

The Ohio EPA director said he has requested DeWine to take all legal avenues to get Energy Transfer Partners to pay fines. The most recent penalty totaled $914,000.

Butler said Rover’s “careless behavior” in Ohio has led to a significant number of violations over the past couple months.

“We also had, the one that is most noteworthy, several inadvertent returns of drilling mud into sensitive environments,” he said, citing the spill in Stark County where upward of 2 million gallons of drilling fluid spilled into a wetland adjacent to Ohio’s Tuscarawas River.

The state official said work on the Rover natural gas pipeline since March has resulted in more than 34 complaints into the hotline regarding incidents involving mud spills from drilling, stormwater pollution and open burning, Butler said.

The Ohio EPA has been trying unsuccessfully to negotiate with Rover to resolve all of the past violations with Rover and Energy Transfer, the company building the pipeline, to get them to submit revised contingency plans.

  Butler said the Rover Pipeline officials have held the position that Ohio has no authority to hold them accountable to state laws under the Clean Water Act, the Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

“We were left in the position to, on Friday, issue a unilateral order to Energy Transfer Partners and the Rover Pipeline,” Butler said.

Those orders include updating its contingency plan, and requires it to submit a plan for the removal of diesel fuel contamination spent drilling from the quarries where they were depositing that material, Butler said. The orders say they must submit a plan for disposing the material, amid many other steps.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier issued an order to Energy Transfer Partners that it cannot start new activity in Ohio and that order is still in effect.

In May, Ohio’s environmental regulators issued a $430,000 fine against the company building the Rover pipeline for a series water and air pollution violations, including one in Richland County.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says the fines filed against pipeline builder Energy Transfer stem from a number of locations across the state. The incidents include spill of almost 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid into a wetland on Pavonia Road East in Mifflin Township on April 14.

Energy Transfer is the company building the $4.2 billion pipeline. It will carry gas from West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio to Michigan.

The pipeline cuts across the northeast corner of Crawford County, north-central Richland County and the center of Ashland County.

At the time of the Mifflin Township spill, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman James Lee said the drilling fluids spilled into an estimated 30,000-square-foot area of the wetland.

“It’s a natural clay mud used as a lubricant for drilling, commonly known bentonite,” Lee said.

The drilling fluids coated the wetlands with a layer of mud and impacted water quality, according to the Ohio EPA documents. The bentonite clay material lubricates the drilling heads used in horizontal boring under roads and other areas such as wetlands.

A week later, Energy Transfer’s Daniel said the Mifflin spill had been completely cleaned up, and work was continuing on the Stark County spill.

About 35 miles of the $4.2-billion, 711-mile dual-pipeline between southern Michigan and western Pennsylvania and West Virginia runs through Richland County. The second 42-inch line, which will be installed about 20 feet from the first, is expected to be completed and operating by the end of November.

lwhitmir@nncogannett.com

419-521-7223

Twitter: @LWhitmir

The Rover pipeline here is shown stretching from Robinson Road to Ohio 545 and beyond, cutting through local residents’ properties.(Photo: Lou Whitmire/News Journal)Buy Photo

Source: Mansfield News Journal

By: Lou Whitmire , Reporter Published 2:53 p.m. ET July 10, 2017 | Updated 9:13 p.m. ET July 10, 2017

LINK: http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/2017/07/10/ohio-epa-rover-pipeline-refusing-comply/464452001/