The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is planning this week to issue new notices of violations against the company building the 700-mile Rover Pipeline across the state.
EPA director Craig Butler says more drilling fluid has been spilled into streams and wetlands along Rover’s diagonal path across Ohio. He says Energy Transfer Partners is supposed to be avoiding such spills by doing its horizontal drilling underground, instead of digging trenches to lay the pipeline.
“We know that sometimes these ‘inadvertent returns’ as they call them – where drilling mud comes to the surface – they happen occasionally,” Butler says. “But we saw a pattern with Rover. That’s why we took a significant action: we’re seeing that pattern emerge again.”
Butler says the new spills are smaller than the leaks of millions of gallons of fluid into a wetland in southwestern Stark County. After Rover refused to pay environmental fines for earlier incidents, Ohio filed suit against Rover for $2.3 million for damages and cleanup costs.
A recent analysis found that the rover Pipeline received more environmental violations than any other major interstate natural gas pipeline.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had suspended Rover’s drilling in March, but gave it the O.K. to resume work last month. Energy Transfer Partners has not responded to a request for comment.