West Virginia Ordered Halt to Rover Pipeline Construction

(CN) – West Virginia ordered the developers of $4.2 billion natural gas pipeline to stop work after regulators identified numerous water pollution violations caused by the pipeline’s construction, a regulatory filing revealed Monday.

West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection issued the order to stop activity in certain areas on July 17, which was made public on Monday in a U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filing.

The filing says state inspectors identified sediment deposits and improper erosion controls, and other violations during site inspections in April, May, June and July.

Alexis Daniel , a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners LP, which is building the pipeline, said the company is “complying with the DEP, and have stopped construction at the areas noted in the order.”

Daniel also said she does not expect the temporary halt of the project to alter the timeline for completion. The second and final phase of the project expecting to begin in November.

The 713-mile Rover Pipeline is designed to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of domestically produced natural gas from the rapidly expanding Marcellus and Utica Shale production areas to markets across the U.S. as well as into the Union Gas Dawn Storage Hub in Ontario, Canada, for redistribution back into the U.S. or into the Canadian market.

Earlier this year, FERC banned the company from starting new drilling following the release of nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid into the Tuscarawas River wetlands in Ohio.

The fluid, which contained traces of diesel, in not allowed under their permit. That ban is expected to remain in place until ETP explains how the hydrocarbons got into the fluid.

Subsequently, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency asked the state to pursue civil penalties against the company for that and other violations.

Last week, Pennsylvania fined EPT for releasing drilling fluids into state waters while constructing the Sunoco Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline.

Sunoco Logistics, who merged with ETP in April after the company acquired Sunoco Inc. in a $5.3 billion deal five years earlier, has spilled crude oil more often than any of their competitors, with more than 200 leaks since 2010.

Jake Glance, spokesman for the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection, declined further comment, telling COurthouse News the state’s “cease and desist order and associated notices of violation issued … speak for themselves.”

“At this time, the only operations that should be occurring on the Rover Pipeline are those to remediate the situation by installing and maintaining best management practices for erosion and sediment controls at the sites. The cease and desist order will remain in effect until the requirements in the order are satisfied,” Glance said.

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