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ETP's Rover gas pipeline secures Pa. clean water permit

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ETP's Rover gas pipeline secures Pa. clean water permit

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection approved Energy Transfer Partners LP's proposed Rover natural gas pipeline project for a Clean Water Act certificate, in spite of federal environmental concerns.

In a Dec. 8 filing with FERC, the department's Southwest Regional Office said it granted the project a Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification. The decision is conditional on the project meeting final state water quality certification requirements.

Rover Pipeline LLC, whose project would travel through Washington County, Pa., applied for the state-issued permit Jan. 12.

A Section 401 water quality permit regulates discharges into state waters. Withholding of such a permit was used in April to halt the federally approved Constitution gas pipeline project in New York. The permit denial for the approximately $683 million project is being argued in federal appeals court. Constitution's project sponsors are Williams Partners LP, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. and WGL Holdings Inc.

While FERC published a positive final environmental impact statement for Rover, the U.S. EPA's regions 3, 4 and 5 filed concerns over gaps in the project's data and planning related to wetland and stream mitigation.

Some of the mitigating measures for the permit for Rover include compliance with Pennsylvania's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System certification and Chapter 105 water obstruction and encroachment permits, as well as allowing the Department of Environmental Protection to conduct additional studies or monitoring to determine water quality.

The project developer applied in February 2015 to FERC to construct and operate the Rover pipeline, in connection with two sister pipelines proposed by the ETP companies Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co. LP and Trunkline Gas Co. LLC. Rover and the two other projects would transport up to 3.25 Bcf/d of Marcellus Shale resources to Midwestern, Gulf and Canadian areas. (FERC docket CP15-93)