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Millions of gallons of drilling fluid leaked into Ohio wetlands during construction of the Rover Pipeline Project. Photo: Ohio EPA

Ohio files lawsuit against Rover Pipeline, citing environmental violations

The state of Ohio formally filed a lawsuit against the Rover Pipeline on Friday, accusing its operators of polluting state waterways as it builds the 713-mile project.

Rover, operated by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), has discharged several million gallons of drilling fluid into local wetlands, among other violations, according to the state’s environmental office.

The lawsuit comes after months of conflict between the company and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. In September, the state the told PBS NewsHour it has logged at least 13 environmental violations against ETP since construction began earlier this year. One of those violations prompted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a four-month stop on drilling along certain sections of the pipeline. That ban on drilling was lifted in September.

The state’s EPA director claims that Energy Transfer Partners, which also operates the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, owes Ohio some $2.3 million dollars in civil fines and damages.

The company has said it is “not responsible” for those fines, and will push forward with plans to finish the pipeline, which winds through Ohio and West Virginia before making its way to Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

On Friday, the company told PBS NewsHour in an email that “we have worked cooperatively with the Ohio EPA for the past six months to resolve this matter in a way that is satisfactory to all parties involved. We are therefore disappointed that they have resorted to litigation when Ohio EPA has acknowledged publicly that Rover has complied with all applicable environmental laws.”

“We do not anticipate that this will affect our construction timeline,” the company added.

Read more about the fight over the Rover Pipeline in Ohio here.
PBS NewsHour’s Courtney Norris reported for this story.

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