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Environment & Energy

Ohio Prepares New Violation Notices for Rover Pipeline Spills

Craig Butler
WKSU public radio

The Ohio EPA is planning this week to issue new notices of violations against the company building the 700-mile Rover Pipeline across the state.  WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has the latest developments involving the controversial natural-gas line.

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. 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. Ohio is suing Rover for $2.3 million for damages and cleanup costs in the earlier incidents. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had suspended Rover’s drilling in March, but gave it the OK to resume work last month.

Energy Transfer Partners has not responded to a request for comment.