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

It was full speed ahead for Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline construction project in Ohio–until a series of drilling mud spills hit, including one that dumped some 2 million gallons of bentonite mud into a wetland near the Tuscarawas River in Stark County, OH (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). Not long after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) slapped Rover with a “stop horizontal drilling” order (see FERC Slaps Rover Pipeline with Stop Drilling Order). Let’s put that into context. Most of the pipeline getting laid for Rover is in trenches–not from underground horizontal drilling. There are some places along the route when you can’t dig a trench–like crossing a creek or river, or major highway. In those cases, you drill horizontally underground, underneath the object. When drilling, bentonite mud is used to keep the drill bit cool. Sometimes the mud pumped underground finds its way back out again via cracks in the rock. It is those accidents that FERC (and the Ohio EPA) find a little too frequent and voluminous¬†for their liking. So FERC told ET to stop any new underground drilling. Less than a week after FERC ordered ET to stop drilling, ET filed a request with FERC to begin drilling in two locations key to finishing the first leg of the pipeline–locations where the equipment is already in place, and the erosion controls already set up: Captina Creek in Belmont County, OH, where Rover wants to complete the Clarington lateral, and Middle Island Creek in Tyler County, WV, where Rover wants to complete the Sherwood lateral (see Rover Gets Serious About Mud Spills, Asks FERC for OK to Drill). FERC responded to ET’s request to drill in those locations last Thursday: NO…

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