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FERC Scolds Rover Over Missed Deadlines for Restoration Work

Rover Pipeline LLC has not completed restoration work it agreed to when it received authorization to start up two compressor stations, an issue that could bear on pending  in-service authorizations, FERC told the developer this week.

In a letter Monday, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff listed a series of restoration activities that it said Rover has failed to complete within the timeframes agreed to when the Commission cleared the pipeline’s Compress Station 1 (CS1) and Compressor Station 2 (CS2) to enter service in December and February, respectively.

“Because restoration of these sites was not complete at the time of in-service authorization, Rover committed to completing the remaining restoration within specified dates...In turn, the Commission’s authorizations for commencement of service of CS1 and CS2 were based upon those commitments,” FERC wrote.

“...However, as of March 20, our monitors’ reports indicate several instances where the agreed-upon restoration has not been completed (or, in some instances, started but incomplete).”

FERC asked Rover to respond this week with an explanation for why the work was not completed on time and with “photographic evidence that these issues are being properly addressed.

“Staff’s review of future in-service requests will depend, in part, on a demonstration of Rover’s commitment to satisfactory restoration of construction areas and workspaces, including our confidence that any locations where restoration is identified as a future action will receive the proper and agreed-upon attention,” the Commission wrote.

In a filing Thursday, Rover answered the Commission’s letter with specifics related to the CS1 and CS2 restoration work, including estimated completion dates. The company attributed some of the delays to inclement weather and additional construction activities at the sites.

“We are working with FERC to resolve all outstanding remediation concerns in the safest, most expeditious manner possible, while also taking into account weather conditions,” Rover spokeswoman Vicki Granado said in an email. “We remain dedicated to restoring all construction areas to preexisting or better conditions.”

In February, Rover asked for authorization to start up its Burgettstown Lateral that extends into southwestern Pennsylvania, but that request has gone weeks without FERC action.

Rover backer Energy Transfer Partners LP said during a recent earnings conference call that it plans to bring the remainder of the 3.25 Bcf/d, 713-mile interstate natural gas pipeline into service in stages over the next few months, with full service planned for the second quarter.

Energy Transfer had previously planned to complete work on the project by 4Q2017, but a series of run-ins with regulators has seen that deadline slip. FERC has opened enforcement investigations in connection with a horizontal directional drilling fluids spill in Ohio and Rover’s demolition of a historic home near one of its compressor stations. 

At the state level, West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection earlier this month issued its second cease and desist order to Rover due to violations of the pipeline’s water pollution control permit.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has cited Rover for numerous alleged environmental violations going back to the start of construction last year, and the agency’s director -- after seeking legal action against the project -- late last year accused the pipeline of committing an “unacceptable number of new violations”and working “to make up lost time” after earlier regulatory delays.

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