Betty Sutton Urges Governor to Revoke Rover Pipeline Permit, Citing Pattern of Spills in Ohio Wetlands

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Betty Sutton speaks in downtown Cleveland about her advancing gubernatorial campaign. - ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • ERIC SANDY / SCENE
  • Betty Sutton speaks in downtown Cleveland about her advancing gubernatorial campaign.
Betty Sutton, a former U.S. rep and a current gubernatorial candidate, asked Gov. John Kasich this week to revoke the Rover pipeline permit. She cited the company's 19 Ohio EPA violations and its series of "drilling fluid" spills in the northern part of the state. In its place, she wrote, the governor and the Ohio EPA would do well to re-issue the state permit on a "rolling basis."

"This [Feb. 24, 2017,] certification permitted Rover Pipeline LLC’s 369 miles of pipeline to cross 631 individual streams and 88.9 acres of wetlands," Sutton explained in a letter. "On Friday, [Nov. 24,] the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, led by your appointee Craig Butler, issued a press release indicating that the Rover Pipeline project received its 19th notice of violations. This violation involved Rover Pipeline LLC spilling contaminants into the Black Fork of the Mohican River in Ashland County, which is one of a handful of streams in our state that the water quality is rated as excellent."

The spill involved some 200 gallons of drilling fluids, also referred to as mud-like "slurry."

That latest problem comes after a "pattern" of spilling millions of gallons of drilling fluid into Ohio wetlands earlier this year, according to the Ohio EPA. The state agency has confirmed that pollutants, including bentonite, were released in multiple spill incidents.

The Rover pipeline, which, again, was granted a permit only in February, has already accrued more EPA violations than any other recent pipeline construction.

Taking aim at the Republican governor, Sutton writes: "The sheer number of violations for one single pipeline project is extremely troubling and calls into question [Kasich's] administration’s willingness to regulate a project that has such profound consequences for the health and safety of Ohioans."

Following the Mohican River incident, the Ohio EPA requested that Rover halt its horizontal rilling activity. For its part, Rover will give Richland and Crawford County EMAs $10,000 each for response efforts.

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