MAY 26, 2017 2:06 PM PDT

Company behind the Rover Pipeline lied about the size of spill in Ohio wetland

In mid-April, there was a devastating spill of two million gallons of drilling fluid from the Rover pipeline in an Ohio wetland. The construction of the Rover pipeline, which spans from Western Kentucky, Southeastern Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania across Ohio to Michigan, was halted after the spill. The infamous company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, (the same company of the Dakota Access pipeline), is now in trouble, as it seems that they misconstrued the quantity of fluids that the spill encompassed. View footage of the pipeline and the wetlands in the video below. 

The discovery was found when activists filed to block the natural gas pipeline, citing that it has had 18 incidents of pollution violations in 11 different Ohioan counties. The Guardian was able to get a hold of documents that suggest that the spill, which was reported as 2 million gallons, was actually more than twice that, probably reaching around 5 million gallons.

State EPA spokesman James Lee stated to the Guardian, “It is a tragedy in that the affected wetland will likely not recover to its previous condition for decades. Had Rover more closely monitored their drilling equipment, and been better prepared for an immediate emergency response, this incident would likely not have occurred on the scale that we’re dealing with now.”

The $4.2 billion Rover pipeline got the go-ahead from the federal government to begin construction February. It is projected to carry 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.

It is most concerning that ETP apparently tried to keep the reality of the spill hush-hush. Laura Mebert, an anthropologist at Kettering University in Michigan, said it is unacceptable that a records request was necessary in order for the truth about the size of the spill to reach public ears. “The rules in place are still allowing companies too much free reign to trample over the rights and interest of the public,” she said.

The scene at an Rover Pipeline spill in Stark County, Ohio. Photo: WOSU Radio

The Dakota Access pipeline has also had several leaks, even before commercial use of the pipeline has begun. The leaks from both of the ETP-owned pipelines has put the company under the public’s eye. In the Washington Post, the state EPA director Craig Butler described the company’s behavior as dismissive” and “exceptionally disappointing” regarding the “pattern” of spills. Their response to the leaks begs the question, who is accountable for keeping a strict hold on these big companies, if the federal government is the one ignoring or even supporting their shenanigans? The answer, is us.

That’s why more than 100 local and environmental groups have demanded federal regulators immediately halt all construction on Rover. Such demonstration from the public pressured FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to order ETP not to begin construction at any new sites along the pipeline route following the spill.

Sources: The Guardian, Sierra ClubInside Climate News, WOSU Radio

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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