Rover Pipeline Work Shut Down in West Virginia
DEP issues order to stop work in Doddridge County
From Staff, Wire Dispatches
MORGANTOWN — West Virginia environmental authorities have ordered a halt to Rover Pipeline construction in places where it found permit violations damaging streams in Doddridge County.
After inspectors in April, May, June and July found erosion-control failures that left sediment deposits in creeks and streams, the Department of Environmental Protection ordered Rover Pipeline LLC in a July 17 letter to “immediately cease and desist any further land development activity” until it complies. The DEP ordered Rover to provide a plan within 20 days for installing and maintaining needed storm water and erosion controls.
In its February approval, the department wrote that the project includes 172 stream crossings in West Virginia. It specifically prohibits dumping “spoil materials from the watercourse or onshore operations, including sludge deposits,” into watercourses or wetlands or anywhere it will harm surface or ground waters.
Parent company Energy Transfer Partners said Wednesday that construction continues on two West Virginia segments in Hancock and Marshall counties, while it works with DEP to resolve issues on two others. “We are complying with the DEP, and have stopped construction at the areas noted in the order,” spokeswoman Alexis Daniel said.
The 700-mile pipeline will carry natural gas from shale deposits in West Virginia and Pennsylvania across Ohio and into Michigan. Ohio has proposed nearly $1 million in environmental fines for damage there.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered work on the pipeline in the Buckeye State to be stopped after the release of 2 million gallons of drilling slurry near the Tuscarawas River.
FERC officials said Rover must remove “all drilling mud and drill cuttings with the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons” that regulators found near the Tuscarawas River earlier this year. Regulators believe Rover’s drilling during the effort to build the pipeline may have created this contamination, which they said must be removed before Rover can finish the line.
FERC also expressed concern over plans to demolish a historic building in Carroll County, Ohio, saying the pipeline company promised to avoid adverse effects to the property, then agreed to pay $1.5 million to remove the building.
Rover officials have said the company is working with FERC and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to resolve the issues.
In West Virginia, the company said work continues on a 6-mile pipeline through the tip of the Northern Panhandle in Hancock County, crossing from Ohio to Pennsylvania, and a 12-mile segment from Ohio to a compressor station in Majorsville in Marshall County.
The others, where construction is temporarily stopped, are a pipeline extending 36 miles from Ohio through Tyler and Wetzel counties to a compressor station at Sherwood in Doddridge County, and a fourth planned segment running for six miles through Doddridge County.