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ME2 Drilling Leaks 575 Gal of Bentonite Mud into Delco Creek

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Radical Enviro Groups Ask FERC for Full Investigation of ET Rover

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Analyst: “Nearly Impossible” for Rover to Get Done on Schedule

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OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill

Rover is Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. On April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid”. That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). The leak did not spill into the Tuscarawas River (thankfully), but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. As we pointed out at the time, “Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter.” On Friday, the Columbus Dispatch reported the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) investigating the spill has found the presence of diesel fuel in the spilled mud. Diesel fuel IS toxic–and its presence is not a good thing. Furthermore, OEPA Director Craig Butler, who has been combative against Energy Transfer and the Rover project, claims an anonymous source tipped them that diesel fuel was being added to the drilling mud. So OEPA tested the spilled mud, and mud not yet used, and found “very very low levels” of diesel fuel, whatever that means. The original “proposed” (i.e. not yet officially assessed) fine by the OEPA was $431,000. Then OEPA said it would up the fine to $714,000 after storm water runoff became an issue (see OEPA & Rover at Odds Over Storm Water Runoff, “Fine” Now $714K). With the diesel fuel “revelation,” OEPA is upping their proposed fine to $914,000. Pretty soon we expect it will sail on by a cool $1 million. OEPA has presented their findings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the two remaining FERC commissioners have launched an investigation…
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Former Head of Fed Pipeline Agency Sticks Up for Rover re Leaks

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FERC Responds to Rover Request to Begin Drilling in 2 Locations: NO

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OEPA & Rover at Odds Over Storm Water Runoff, “Fine” Now $714K

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ET Disputes Ohio EPA Action on Rover, Says there Is No $431K Fine

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FERC Slaps Rover Pipeline with Stop Drilling Order

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Ohio EPA Slaps Rover Pipe with $431K Fine for Spills, Other Issues

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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Apr 25, 2017

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Rover Update: Half of 15K Workers Now Hired, 2% Pipeline Laid

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Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp

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What Do Kitty Litter and Shale Drilling Have in Common?

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PA DEP Fines Stonehenge $1.5M for Damaging 2 Butler County Swamps

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PA DEP Fines Sunoco $95K for Mud Spills During Pipeline Drilling

Although there’s been no publicly published notice, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined Sunoco Logistics for spilling non-toxic drilling mud (bentonite) at several locations when they were drilling for the Mariner East I pipeline. One of those instances was last September when Precision Pipeline, hired by Sunoco, was drilling under the Little Mingo Creek (see Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Spills Mud in Local Creek). Bentonite is non-toxic and used in products from shampoo to deodorant and toothpaste. It’s also used to lubricate the drill bit and carry drill cuttings out of the ground. While non-toxic, a whole lot of bentonite in the water can, of course, suffocate fish and cause problems for wildlife that happen to drink it. In March of this year, we noted that the DEP was telegraphing that they were about to assess a “significant” fine for the mud spills at Mingo Creek and a few other locations (see PA DEP: Sunoco Facing “Significant” Fine for Non-Toxic Mud Spills). The fine has been levied. The “significant” fine ended up being $95,000. Clipping Sunoco $95K, compared to the $8.9 million fine the DEP recently slapped on Range Resources for methane leaks, seems somewhat trivial and rather insignificant. Which is perhaps why the DEP hasn’t published, as they usually do, an official notice on their website about the fine…
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