Betty Sutton, candidate for governor, sent a letter Tuesday to Ohio Gov. John Kasich calling for his administration to revoke Rover Pipeline LLC’s 401 Water Quality Certification that allows the 369 miles of pipeline project to cross 631 individual streams and 88.9 acres of 352 wetlands, and instead re-permit the company on a rolling basis based on water crossings or portions of the project after thorough review.
“History shows that this company can’t be trusted, and at a minimum we have to make a statement that Ohio can’t be rolled over by Rover, and that we have leaders who will hold it accountable and protect our citizens and environment,” Sutton said.
On Friday, Ohio EPA issued a press release indicating that the Rover Pipeline project received its 19th notice of violations of Ohio laws and regulations related to the construction of the $4.2 billion pipeline. Sutton has reviewed the letter from Ohio EPA Director, Craig Butler, and has serious concerns with how Kasich, the Ohio Environmental Agency and Attorney General Mike DeWine are ensuring that Ohio’s laws are being enforced, a press release said.
Over the course of the last year, the Rover Pipeline project has released millions of gallons of drilling fluid over at least 13 separate incidents, it said. These releases have caused damage to Ohio’s streams, rivers, wetlands and threatened drinking water sources for residents of the Canton and Massillon area, the release added. To date, the Rover Pipeline has been cited by Ohio EPA for violations of the state’s construction storm water runoff, open burning, and wetlands fill regulations.
“The sheer number of violations of a single pipeline project are the latest demonstration of Governor Kasich’s failure of oversight of Rover, and Attorney General Mike DeWine’s lethargic approach to enforcement of Ohio environmental laws,” Sutton said. “Environmental protection is about protecting Ohio’s natural resources and drinking water for the benefit of all Ohioans. Ohio government officials need to be diligent, responsible and proactive in enforcing the law. As Governor, I will.”
After calling on DeWine in October to immediately pursue legal action against the company and asking the Ohio Ethics Commission to investigate his apparent conflict of interest with the company, nothing has happened to cause the company to change its behavior and comply with the law.
According to the Ohio Ethics Commission’s investigation, DeWine divested his stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company for the Rover Pipeline Project in May 2017 only after the Ohio EPA documented millions of gallons of drilling fluid were spilled.
“It is clear, once again, that responsible regulation of this company is not possible in the pay to play culture that exists today in Columbus,” Sutton said.
Sutton’s full letter is below:
November 27, 2017
Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117
Re: Revoking Rover Pipeline LLC’s 401 Certificattion
Dear Governor Kasich:
I write to you today to respectfully request that you immediately revoke the Rover Pipeline LLC’s Section 401 Water Quality Certification and instead re-permit the company on a rolling basis after a thorough review is conducted. This company has repeatedly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted. Rover Pipeline LLC has continued to flagrantly violate the laws and regulations of the State of Ohio in a manner that puts the health and safety of Ohioans at risk.
Rover Pipeline LLC’s Section 401 Water Quality Certification was issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on February 24, 2017. This certification permitted Rover Pipeline LLC’s 369 miles of pipeline to cross 631 individual streams and 88.9 acres of wetlands. On Friday, 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.
This violation is the latest in a series of events that have demonstrated this company’s blatant disregard for the laws and regulations of the State of Ohio. In the 10 months since the certification was issued, the Rover Pipeline project has been cited for violations of the state’s construction storm water runoff, open burning, and wetlands fill regulations. Most troubling, the Rover Pipeline project improperly released millions of gallons of drilling fluid in at least 13 separate incidents. Each one of releases has caused damage to Ohio’s streams, rivers, and wetlands. One incident threatened the source of drinking water for residents of Canton and Massillon.
Enough is enough.
The sheer number of violations for one single pipeline project is extremely troubling and calls into question your administration’s willingness to regulate a project that has such profound consequences for the health and safety of Ohioans. I urge that you revoke Rover Pipeline LLC’s Section 401 Water Quality Certification immediately and instead only re-permit the company on a rolling basis after conducting a review to determine a plan that protects Ohio’s citizens and natural resources.
I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this matter.