Ohio EPA’s Craig Butler Goes Nuts, Demands $2.3M from Rover Pipe

From the day the first backhoe began digging in Ohio, it has appeared that Ohio EPA director Craig Butler has had a grudge against Rover Pipeline. We’re not saying Rover hasn’t had its fair share of environmental transgressions that need to be monitored and rectified. But Butler has been on a one-man mission to punish Energy Transfer, the builder, demanding (without legal authority) insanely high “fines” from ET Rover. At first it was $400,000. Then $900,000. Now Butler says ET owes the state $2.3 million! Butler is trying to draw in Ohio’s Attorney General into the confusion in order to shake down Energy Transfer and make them pay. Yesterday Butler held a conference call with the media (MDN wasn’t notified/invited) where he made wild allegations. What seems to have precipitated Butler’s media bender is a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday to allow ET to resume horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in most Ohio locations, after banning it for several months (see FERC Lifts Rover Horizontal Drilling Ban, Pipeline Work Resumes). On yesterday’s call Butler said, “I’m not overly happy that they’re [FERC] allowing them [Energy Transfer] to restart operations while we [Craig Butler, Ohio EPA] have outstanding issues.” Butler has issues all right. Butler is kind of drunk on his own power. It’s time for someone (maybe the AG?) to investigate Butler and find out if he’s colluding with Big Green groups. Is the OEPA short on money in its budget? Where does the revenue from such fines go? And on what statutory authority can OEPA levy a fine on a FEDERAL project? Inquiring minds want to know…

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