Ohio EPA Asks Ohio AG to Force Rover to “Comply” and Pay $914,000

Sounding eerily like a Borg drone from Star Trek (“YOU WILL COMPLY, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE”), the Ohio EPA (OEPA) has asked Ohio’s Attorney General, Mike DeWine, to force Rover to pay the Ohio EPA $914,000 in so-called fines it has unilaterally levied (with no apparent authority to do so) to punish Rover for a series of accidents while constructing the pipeline. Rover has not agreed to the fines and is challenging the OEPA’s authority to levy them. So the OEPA is asking DeWine to use the full weight and force of his office to force Rover to comply. Rover has had the pedal to the metal since receiving a go-ahead from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March to begin construction to build a 711-mile natural gas pipeline from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada (see FERC Green Lights Rover Pipeline Construction). Perhaps by going a little too fast, Rover experienced some problems along the way, the biggest being a 2 million gallon leak of drilling mud into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) near the Tuscarawas River in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). Since that time, the OEPA and Rover have been on the outs, with the OEPA attempting to assert itself in a role that frankly, it doesn’t legally possess. The Rover project has federal, not state, oversight. This latest move by OEPA is an escalation in the ongoing disagreement over OEPA’s role, and their demands for money from Rover. It almost seems as if Craig Butler, head of the OEPA, is on a personal mission to stop this pipeline from getting built…

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