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Monday, November 6, 2017

Ohio Sues Rover Pipeline Operator Over Water Pollution Violations

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 10:37 AM

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As the Rover pipeline's disastrous first year comes to a close, the Ohio attorney general is stepping in and suing its out-of-state ownership. In short, Mike DeWine's office states: "Rover illegally discharged millions of gallons of drilling fluids to Ohio's waters, causing pollution and degrading water quality on numerous occasions and in various counties across the state."

Read the full civil complaint here.

Rover runs east to west across central and northern Ohio, almost mirroring the forthcoming Nexus pipeline. In April, just a month into construction, the pipeline produced a massive spill in Navarre. The Ohio EPA began piling on millions of dollars in fines.

(The pipeline's track record in Michigan isn't much better, where Rover has spilled water containing gasoline into wetlands.)

From DeWine's office: "The state’s lawsuit seeks a court order requiring Rover to apply for state permits, to comply with environmental plans approved and ordered by the Ohio EPA, and to pay civil penalties of $10,000 per day per violation."

The lawsuit comes after former U.S. Sen. Betty Sutton (a candidate for Ohio governor, like DeWine) sent a letter to the attorney general urging him to act on the Rover matter. On Oct. 23, she wrote: "I write today to request that you, as Attorney General of Ohio, start civil proceedings against Rover Pipeline, LLC (“Rover”) for the recovery of $2.3 million in fines issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (“Ohio EPA”). Rover has repeatedly violated the rules and regulations of the State of Ohio, putting the health and safety of Ohioans at risk in the process. This is unacceptable and your delay in initiating proceedings in the face of the pattern of disregard for the wellbeing of Ohioans and our state is troubling. Your failure to act is further troubling given your investment in Rover’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners."

A recent financial disclosure statement from DeWine lists 2016 capital gains and other income derived from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which holds a majority ownership stake in Rover. DeWine has said that he divested himself of those stakes in May, as the Columbus Dispatch reports — before the pipeline violations landed on his desk.

The Ohio EPA also called for civil action against Energy Transfer Partners, saying that interactions with the company over its pollution violations had stalled.

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