Rover pipeline HDD spill investigation

by PretiFlaherty
Contact

Federal energy regulators overseeing the development of a new interstate natural gas pipeline have announced the opening of an investigation, following the inadvertent release of about 2 million gallons of drilling fluid from a horizontal directional drill operation.

Rover Pipeline LLC describes itself as a new interstate natural gas pipeline that is designed to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/day) of natural gas to markets in the Midwest, Northeast, East Coast, Gulf Coast and Canada.  The Rover project received a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on February 2, 2017, and construction commenced.  The Commission's Order Issuing Certificates included an environmental condition requiring Rover to adhere to construction procedures as described in its application and identified in the Commission’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  As described by FERC, "Rover committed to use drilling fluid composed only of a 'slurry made of nontoxic/non-hazardous bentonite clay and water.'"

On April 13, 2017, Rover alerted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and FERC’s Compliance Monitor that it had located an inadvertent return of drilling fluid while completing the HDD of the Tuscarawas River.  Two days later, on April 15, 2017, Rover alerted Commission staff of the release. According to a May 10, 2017 letter from Commission staff, the HDD release resulted in the deposition of approximately 2 million gallons of bentonite-based drilling fluid into a state-classified "high-quality" wetland, covering about 6.5 acres of wetland soils and vegetation with bentonite clay and bore-hole cuttings.  Through that May 10 letter, the Commission suspended further new HDD activity on the Rover project.

But the Commission isn't done with its investigation of the incident, according to a June 1, 2017 letter it sent to Rover.  In the letter, Commission staff states that on May 26, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency "notified FERC staff and Rover of the presence of petroleum hydrocarbon constituents, commonly found in diesel fuel, in samples of drilling fluid from various locations near the HDD of the Tuscarawas River."  The letter reiterates Rover's descriptions of the drilling fluid to be used, and the related environmental condition imposed in the Order Issuing Certificates.  It then describes a newly-launched enforcement investigation:

Based on the results of the sampling conducted by Ohio EPA, the Commission’s Office of Enforcement will immediately initiate an investigation to determine the underlying facts that led to the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons in the drilling fluid. Rover is reminded of the data preservation directive in Commission staff's May 10 letter, which includes the requirement that Rover preserve and maintain all documents and information related to the composition, acquisition, preparation, and disposal of the drilling fluid used at Rover's HDD of the Tuscarawas River. We also expect Rover’s full and immediate cooperation with the Commission’s Office of Enforcement regarding this investigation.

Both sitting FERC Commissioners issued a joint statement expressing support for their staff's recent actions on the project:

We are troubled by the Tuscarawas River HDD spill and the indications that diesel fuel is present in the drilling mud utilized for the Tuscarawas River HDD. Although we have no reason at this point to believe the release represents an imminent threat to human health or the environment, this incident raises concerns about potential long-term environmental impacts, including impacts on sensitive wetlands in Ohio. Moreover, the presence of diesel fuel in the drilling mud is inconsistent with the commitments made by Rover on which the Commission relied to certificate its project. We fully support the action of OEP and OE staff to address and investigate these issues.

Further investigation into the Rover pipeline's compliance with its FERC certificate requirements will follow.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© PretiFlaherty | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

PretiFlaherty
Contact
more
less

PretiFlaherty on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.