Former Head of Fed Pipeline Agency Sticks Up for Rover re Leaks

We’ve spilled plenty of digital ink covering the Rover Pipeline and its recent troubles with “inadvertent returns” (i.e. leaks) of non-toxic drilling mud, called bentonite (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). Rover and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) have been in a spat over “numerous” leaks–with OEPA claiming they’ve levied a $431,000 fine on Rover, although it turns out the fine is not yet officially levied (see Turns Out OEPA & Columbus Dispatch Were Lying – Rover NOT Fined). The leak issue has led to FERC shutting down, for now, any further underground horizontal drilling to install pipeline (see FERC Slaps Rover Pipeline with Stop Drilling Order). On MDN, we have, admittedly, been pretty hard on Rover. Seems to us they are rushing too fast, leading to mistakes–mistakes the industry can’t afford to be seen making. Have we (and others) been too hard on Rover? We spotted an editorial by Ohio resident and the former head of the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the agency charged with oversight for developing and enforcing regulations for 2.6 million miles of pipeline transportation in the U.S., sticking up for Rover. Brigham McCown says accidents happen and that Rover, “responded to the situation promptly and by the book to control any potentially larger fallout.” Is he right? Is Rover being unfairly criticized for accidents that are bound to happen?…

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