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Ohio Sues Rover Pipeline For Refusing To Pay For Environmental Damage

Matthew Richmond

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing the Rover Pipeline, accusing it of “a series of calculated business decisions or complete indifference” that led to millions of gallons of drilling fluids and other pollution being dumped into Ohio waterways and wetlands. 

The lawsuit repeats allegations the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has made for months, and which the state says Rover ignored. It says the company has dumped sediment-laden storm water and other wastes into streams, lakes and rivers dozens of times since it started laying the 713-mile pipeline early this year.

The biggest spill began on April 13, when Rover is accused of discharging several million gallons of drilling fluids into wetlands in southwestern Stark County.

The suit demands Rover pay $2.3 million in fines but does not name Rover’s investors: Energy Transfer Partners and Blackstone Energy Partners.

Last week, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton questioned why DeWine had not yet sued over the uncollected fines. She also noted his past investments in Rover.

DeWine’s spokesman told the Columbus Dispatch that DeWine had divested himself in May, before the first referral was made to the EPA. Both Sutton and DeWine are running for governor. 

“We have worked cooperatively with the Ohio EPA for the past six months to resolve this matter in a way that is satisfactory to all parties involved,” wrote Rover in a response to the lawsuit. “We are therefore disappointed that they have resorted to litigation when Ohio EPA has acknowledged publicly that Rover has complied with all applicable environmental laws. This will not affect our construction timeline. Beyond that, we do not comment on current or pending legal issues.”