Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) subsidiary Rover Pipeline LLC has submitted a series of impact mitigation and remediation plans to FERC as it works to address concerns raised by Commission staff and by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA).
Filing to the project docket with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday, Rover [CP15-93] submitted:
- A plan for restoring wetlands impacted by an April horizontal directional drilling (HDD) fluids spill near the Tuscarawas River in Ohio;
- A plan for removing spilled material from an Ohio quarry and transporting to an approved disposal site;
- A supplemental HDD contingency plan; and
- A stormwater protection plan.
The 710-mile, 3.25 Bcf/d Rover project has been ensnarled in regulatory issues since beginning construction earlier this year.
Ohio EPA has cited the project for numerous environmental violations -- including the roughly 2 million gallon Tuscarawas HDD spill -- and recently asked the Ohio Attorney General to pursue civil penalties against the project.
Meanwhile, FERC has effectively suspended HDD work for the project pending an independent review, putting a number of Rover's HDD crossings on hold since May. FERC issued its HDD moratorium after Ohio EPA asked the Commission to intervene, saying Rover was challenging the state agency's enforcement authority over the project.
After a prolonged environmental review process, Rover received its FERC certificate in February. Since then, crews have been hustling to meet ETP’s target to have the project fully in-service by November.
Planned to come online in two phases, Rover's Phase 1 was originally scheduled to come online this month, but ETP recently acknowledged that the first phase of service could potentially slip to "late summer."
ETP's revised schedule followed a letter from FERC this month detailing remediation and mitigation activities Rover would need to complete before receiving its initial in-service authorization.
ETP has maintained throughout the process that it still expects to meet its November target for full service.
Once completed, Rover would provide significant new takeaway out of the Appalachian Basin, connecting producing areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia with markets in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada. The project would interconnect with the Midwest Hub in Defiance, OH, and with the Vector Pipeline in Michigan, eventually offering service to the Dawn Hub in Ontario.
Rover is under investigation by FERC's Office of Enforcement for the Tuscarawas HDD spill due to the potential presence of diesel in the drilling mud, which would be a violation of Rover's certificate.
FERC staff recently posted notice of preliminary results of a separate investigation into Rover’s actions prior to construction. FERC has alleged that Rover violated its certificate by not disclosing its plans to demolish a historic home in Ohio -- located near a proposed compressor station -- that was eligible for preservation.