Washington — West Virginia environmental regulators have ordered the Rover Pipeline project to cease and desist certain land development activities in the state after inspectors found what they called violations of state rules and a water pollution control permit. Among other concerns, the DEP in its July 17 order cited "conditions not allowable in the waters of the state by creating sediment deposits" at eight locations. The order was entered into the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission docket Monday.
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The DEP also flagged a failure to maintain erosion control devices, citing silt fencing and other devices in need of maintenance, and locations where it said water bars were not installed as designed in the permit. In a number of spots, it said Rover failed to prevent sediment-laden water from leaving sites "without going through an appropriate device."
The DEP told Rover to "immediately cease and desist further land development activity until such time when compliance with the terms and conditions of its permit and all pertinent laws and rules is achieved."
It told Rover that it must file a proposed plan of corrective action and schedule within 20 days of the effective date of the order.
Rover spokeswoman Alexis Daniel Monday said in an email: "We continue to work with the West Virginia DEP to resolve these issues in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties." Construction continues in the state's Hancock and Marshall counties in West Virginia, she added. "We are complying with the DEP, and have stopped construction at the areas noted in the order."
CLOSELY WATCHED BY MARKET
The West Virginia order referenced land disturbance activity in Doddridge and Tyler counties, where Rover has planned two supply laterals, the Sherwood lateral and the CGT lateral, and a compressor station. Daniel Monday confirmed that work has stopped on those facilities in the two counties. The Sherwood lateral runs 54.1 miles, of which 35.8 miles are in Doddridge and Tyler and in Wetzel county.
Most of the alleged violations listed in the order were in the area surrounding the Sherwood compressor station and parts of the Sherwood lateral in Doddridge County. The lateral is among the farthest upstream of the eight supply laterals planned by Rover and is associated with the second phase of the project, which Rover has said it plans to have in service by November.
The timing of construction of the 3.25 Bcf/d, 500-mile-long Rover Pipeline is closely watched because it is expected to have significant effects on market fundamentals, in particular in the US Northeast where its added takeaway capacity is likely to result in a widespread easing of pipeline capacity constraints and support production growth.
The latest action comes as Rover's ability to keep on schedule has been set back partly in response to sizable releases of drilling muds into Ohio wetlands this spring that triggered new requirements from regulators.
Ohio regulators July 7 issued unilateral orders they said were needed to enforce state environmental laws in the wake of the drilling mud spills and other impacts such as sediment-laden stormwater runoff. Lending some backing to Ohio, FERC staff July 12 also gave Rover a list of environmental restoration work and water quality monitoring plans it would require before signing off on placing Mainline A of the project into service.
Rover last week said it delayed until late summer its projected startup of a more than 200-mile section of the project running from Cadiz to Defiance, Ohio. It has not offered an estimate on the rest of Phase 1 but said it does not expect delays to the November 2017 in-service date of Phase 2. The timing is contingent in part on the signoff from FERC.
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