Federal energy regulators refused to lift a May 10 order barring Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) from resuming construction on parts of its $4.2 billion Rover pipeline in Ohio until the company addresses recent spills that released millions of gallons of toxic drilling fluids into environmentally sensitive areas.
Energy Transfer Partners, the corporation that is building the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on May 25 to alter the order prohibiting it from performing further horizontal directional drilling in certain parts of the pipeline’s path.
According to Law 360, ETP argued that the stall escalated the risk of erosion and other potential environmental harm. But in its rejection of the plea, the FERC said that field inspections of the construction areas in question are stable, with appropriate erosion controls installed and drilling entry and exit sites adequately situated away from the Tuscawars River.
The FERC ordered ETP to halt construction of the Rover pipeline after it received ETP’s April 17 notice that it spilled an estimated two million gallons of drilling fluid along the Tuscawars River in Ohio, contaminating the state’s wetlands.
When completed, ETP’s 510-mile Rover pipeline will transport fracked gas from processing plants in southeastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, and West Virginia through Ohio and into Michigan.
In a statement, Sierra Club organizer Cheryl Johncox said that “…FERC should never have approved the fracked gas pipeline in the first place. The Rover pipeline has repeatedly proven to be disastrous for Ohioans and our land, and this will only get worse should construction continue.”
The FERC ordered ETO to hire third-party contractors to analyze all drilling activity at sites along the Tuscawars River and determine how spills could have been prevented or minimized. The order effectively doubles the number of environmental inspectors along the pipeline’s path.