Insist Pipeliners Follow the Rules

Energy companies were justified in complaining that former President Barack Obama’s administration threw all sorts of unnecessary obstacles in their way. President Donald Trump’s more realistic attitude is a welcome change for tens of millions of Americans who rely on reasonably priced fuel and jobs in the energy industry.

But one thing has not changed. Here in West Virginia and Ohio, we demand that our vast energy resources be exploited responsibly. To put it bluntly, we will not put up with trashing of our environment.

Among the most important aspects of the natural gas boom are pipelines to transport the fuel and its chemical components to markets and processing facilities. One of the most critical projects is the Rover Pipeline, conceived as a 700-mile conduit carrying gas from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to Michigan.

As we reported last week, environmental agencies in both our states have had to intervene. In West Virginia, damaged streams in Doddridge County prompted the state Department of Environmental Protection to order that work on the pipeline cease until an acceptable plan to avoid damaging streams is submitted. In Ohio, regulators have proposed fines of nearly $1 million related to the Rover project.

Good. Environmental watchdog agencies in both our states should be firm in holding pipeliners, drillers and everyone else in the energy industry to acceptable standards. West Virginians and Ohioans have every right to note that fair regulation of the industry works both ways.