Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, filed a lawsuit against Rover Pipeline LLC of Texas for polluting state waters while constructing a natural gas pipeline across Ohio.
According to the lawsuit, Rover has illegally discharged drilling fluids and sediment-laden storm water on numerous occasions and in various counties while constructing a 713-mile interstate pipeline across Ohio.
Among the alleged violations is an April spill of approximately 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid into a wetland near Amoy Pavonia Road in Richland County's Mifflin Township.
The same month, Rover discharged several million gallons of drilling fluids into wetlands in Stark County.
Those spills are just two of 11 outlined in the lawsuit.
Rover is accused of violating state water pollution control laws and failing to comply with Ohio EPA Director’s Orders. The state’s lawsuit seeks a court order requiring Rover to apply for state permits, to comply with environmental plans approved and ordered by the Ohio EPA and to pay civil penalties of $10,000 per day per violation.
A copy of the lawsuit, filed in the Stark County Common Pleas Court, is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.
At the time of the Mifflin Township spill, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman James Lee said the drilling fluids spilled into an estimated 30,000-square-foot area of the wetland.
"It's a natural clay mud used as a lubricant for drilling, commonly known bentonite," Lee said earlier.
The drilling fluids, used in horizontal boring under roads and wetlands, coated the wetlands with a layer of mud and impacted water quality, according to the Ohio EPA documents.
A week later, Energy Transfer reported the Mifflin spill had been completely cleaned up.
About 35 miles of the $4.2-billion dual-pipeline between southern Michigan and western Pennsylvania and West Virginia runs through Richland County.