ETP takes Ohio EPA to task over Rover Pipeline

Energy Transfer Partners wants to resolve its differences with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency over its Rover PIpeline, Kallanish Energy reports.

The Dallas-based company says it is seeking “transparency, consistency and fairness” from the state agency, said ETP president and chief operating officer Matthew Ramsey in a strongly worded letter filed Monday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

 “We have struggled to find those qualities in our relationship with you,” Ramsey wrote in his three-page letter. “You have privately praised us for our cooperation, yet you lambaste us in the press. You have insisted that we comply with legal and regulatory requirements that are outside your jurisdiction, and you propose to fine us when we refuse. Moreover, all these actions take place in the wake of your formal, public approval of our plans to address every meaningful environmental concern you have identified.”

He accused the agency of making pronouncements “which emphasize public relations at the expense of sound government.”

The two sides are fighting over a disputed stormwater permit for the now-operating natural gas pipeline across northern Ohio.

The EPA has proposed $2.3 million in fines. The company says Ohio’s power over pipelines is limited, with most authority with FERC, and Ohio no longer has jurisdiction to require such a permit because the one-year deadline has passed. The company says it voluntarily submitted a stormwater plan to the EPA and the agency approved it in early August.

Ramsey wrote to EPA director Craig Butler about the federal pipeline oversight. “We have discussed this with you numerous times and for reasons unknown, you appear unwilling to recognize the law.”

He called the EPA’s actions “all the more baffling” and “we are mystified as to what it is you are trying to achieve.”

ETP says it has spent $20 million in Ohio to correct problems caused by a dozen leaks or spills from horizontal directional drilling under highways and streams along the pipeline route, Ramsey wrote. There was a 13th leak last week in Carroll County.

The company has mitigated every issue raised by the Ohio EPA, he said.

“But we need to bring this matter to a close,” Ramsey said. “To engage in time consuming and expensive litigation over claims as narrow and baseless as those you have asserted is wasteful and needless.”

He said he was willing to meet Butler for more discussions.

About 213 miles of the pipeline from Cadiz in eastern Ohio to Defiance in northwest Ohio along with two laterals were put into service on Aug. 31.

Constructing the 125-mile pipeline from Defiance north into Michigan and east into Ontario is continuing. That project is expected to be in service by the end of first quarter of 2018, ETP said.

The 711-mile twin pipeline will carry natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales to the Midwest, Canada and the Gulf Coast. The $4.2 billion pipeline will move up to 3.25 billion cubic feet per day from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.