Rover screws up again: 146,000 gallons of drilling fluid lost under Tuscarawas River

On January 11, 2018, the Ohio EPA learned that the Rover Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners has once again screwed up while performing a horizontal directional drill.

You’ve probably heard about the Rover Pipeline over the past year. Its an interstate natural gas pipeline that crosses the State of Ohio. The sections near the Tuscarawas River are two 42 inch pipelines: one line has finished and already carries natural gas, while the other is still under construction.

Last April, the Tuscarawas River was impacted by a 2,000,000 gallon spill due to Rover’s reckless operations. Now at the start of 2018, Rover has lost an additional 146,000 gallons of drilling fluid beneath the Tuscarawas River.  Once again, Rover has failed to take the necessary precautions to protect Ohio’s valuable waters.

Those fluids have not yet surfaced, but they must go somewhere. According to the Ohio EPA, they pose a serious risk to the river, groundwater, and a nearby Category 3 Wetland.

The Ohio Environmental Council applauds the Ohio EPA and Director Craig Butler for their swift action to respond to Rover’s most recent mistake near this important state waterway. Director Butler formally requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order Rover to cease drilling operations until the situation is resolved. “Rather than just continue to put a Band-Aid on this,” Butler said, “we think they need to stop (and) come up with a permanent solution before they’re allowed to proceed.” Director Butler is right in taking a stand for Ohio’s waterways and for Ohioans.

Ohio cannot stand idly by while companies continue to pollute our waters. Ohio needs to develop ways to monitor the construction of these pipelines so we aren’t catching these spills after the fact, whether underground or above ground. The Ohio Environmental Council urges Ohio EPA and FERC to consider carefully whether the current federal and state safeguards in place are sufficient given how many times Rover has harmed Ohio’s environment during pipeline construction.

This action by the Ohio EPA follows in the footsteps of the Ohio Attorney General’s lawsuit on behalf of the Agency against Rover, seeking over 2 million dollars in fines due to Rover’s water pollution. You can read about Ohio’s lawsuit here.