Cantwell, Pallone Request FERC Briefing on Rover Pipeline

February 15, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Kevin J. McIntyre requesting an update on environmental safety concerns related to construction of the Rover Pipeline.   

On January 24, FERC instructed Rover Pipeline and its parent company Energy Transfer Partners to cease the use of horizontal directional drilling techniques in pipeline construction near the Tuscarawas River in Ohio.  It was the second time that FERC had raised major issues surrounding the pipeline’s construction.  In FERC’s memorandum to Rover Pipeline, the Commission cited concerns that “no approach to date has been completely successful” at resolving the loss of drilling fluid.  FERC has subsequently authorized Rover to re-commence horizontal directional drilling, but Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Pallone remain concerned by Rover’s lack of urgency in addressing environmental risks throughout construction of the Rover Pipeline.

“Our committees have a longstanding interest in ensuring that drilling activities minimize environmental risk and that regulated entities are operating in full compliance with all applicable statutes, regulations, and permits,” Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Pallone wrote to Chairman McIntyre.  “In order to more fully understand these issues, we request a briefing from FERC staff on any environmental risks associated with this project as referenced in FERC’s January 24 memorandum and the other information requested above.” 

Last year, Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Pallone wrote to FERC expressing concern over Rover’s troubling environmental record, which includes seven industrial spills including one along the Tuscarawas River that resulted in two million gallons of drilling fluid seeping into nearby wetlands.

A copy of the letter is available here.