Democratic Ohio governor candidate Betty Sutton on Monday sent a letter to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican candidate for governor, critical of his failure to hold accountable a pipeline company he’s invested in.

Sutton’s letter urged DeWine to “do his job” and hold Rover Pipeline, LLC and its parent Energy Transfer Partners, accountable for the damage it has inflicted upon Ohio after the company racked up millions in fines for violations related to the spilling of over 2 million gallons of drilling fluid into state wetlands.

Sutton urged DeWine to recover the $2.3 million in fines that Rover owes, or give Ohioans a good reason why he continues to fail to do so, a release announced Monday. His failure to act is further troubling given his personal investment in Rover’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, the release said.

“Attorney General DeWine is letting a company go unchecked as they put the health and safety of Ohioans at risk,” Sutton said in the release. “There’s no good reason for DeWine not to pursue Rover for its actions that pose a risk to the health of Ohioans.”

According to the Cleveland Scene: “The Rover pipeline, which will carry natural gas from Appalachia to Canada and the Midwest, spilled an estimated 2-million gallons of drilling fluid into Ohio wetlands in April shortly after construction began on the $4.2 billion project… Energy Transfer Partners has shouldered the cleanup costs and complied with orders to begin that process, but what the company hasn’t done is settle up with fines levied by the Ohio EPA. Those began back in spring and have now grown to $2.3 million, all of it unpaid.”

Sutton said Monday that the company must be held accountable for the damage it has inflicted upon the state, adding that the continued failure to act to enforce these fines encourages further violations.

“Attorney General DeWine has personally invested in Energy Transfer Partners, further adding to the disgusting scratch-your-back culture in Columbus,” Sutton said. “I’ve fought this attitude and blatant disregard for the health and safety of Ohioans in Congress, and will put an end to it as governor. This is exactly why Ohio needs a governor who will stand up to the well-connected special interests and rock the status quo.”

The full letter is below:

Re: Holding companies that break the law accountable for damage to the health and safety of Ohioans

Dear Attorney General DeWine,

I write today to request that you, as Attorney General of Ohio, start civil proceedings against Rover Pipeline, LLC (“Rover”) for the recovery of $2.3 million in fines issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (“Ohio EPA”). Rover has repeatedly violated the rules and regulations of the State of Ohio, putting the health and safety of Ohioans at risk in the process.  This is unacceptable and your delay in initiating proceedings in the face of the pattern of disregard for the wellbeing of Ohioans and our state is troubling. Your failure to act is further troubling given your investment in Rover’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners.

In a letter dated July 7th, Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler wrote to you to request that you initiate civil proceedings and pursue civil penalties against Rover, and any other appropriate parties, pursuant to Sections 6111.07, 6111.09, and 3704.46 of the Ohio Revised Code. Director Butler has also repeatedly made public comments raising alarms at Rover’s conduct and continual disregard for Ohio’s laws and procedures.

Rover’s misconduct across Ohio has included spilling contaminants into a stream in Carroll County, leaking 2 million gallons of sludge into protected wetlands and dumping contaminated slurry near water wells used by the Canton Water Department in Stark County, and spilling contaminated mud that impacted a village’s drinking water in Harrison County. These are just a few of the egregious episodes of contamination of Ohio’s air and water for which the company has been cited. Expressing his frustration with the company, Director Butler stated in a May 9th Canton Repository article that “We don’t think they’re taking Ohio seriously.”

It is time that we make them take Ohio seriously. The continued failure to act to enforce these fines encourages further violations.

The health and safety of Ohioans are at risk. I respectfully urge you to do your job and take action against Rover. This company must be held accountable for the damage it has inflicted upon our state. I ask that you move to recover the $2.3 million in fines that Rover owes, or give Ohioans a good reason why you continue to fail to do so.

I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

Betty Sutton

Sutton, a former Congresswoman, is currently vying for the nomination of Ohio Democrats to run for governor in 2018. Other Democratic candidates include former state Rep. Connie Pillich, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni.

 

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