Ohio EPA Reportedly Fines, FERC Limits Construction of Rover Pipeline

By: Michael K. Reer

On May 9, 2017, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency fined the builder of the Rover natural gas pipeline $430,000 for multiple water and air pollution violations. According to the Ohio EPA, construction of the pipeline has resulted in 18 incidents involving mud spills from drilling, stormwater pollution, and open burning. The next day, on May 10, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a letter to the pipeline company, limiting the company’s authority to conduct horizontal directional drilling along the project until the company complies with certain measures outlined by Commission staff.

The Rover pipeline is expected to cost some $4.2 billion to construct and, once finished, will carry natural gas from West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio into Michigan.
Friday, May 12, 2017

FERC Approves Pipeline Projects and Delegates Authority Prior to Loss of Quorum

On February 2 and 3, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Energy Transfer Partners, LP’s $4.2 billion “Rover” pipeline project, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC’s $3 billion “Atlantic Sunrise” pipeline expansion, and National Fuel Gas Company’s $455 million “Northern Access” pipeline project. The three pipeline projects will significantly enhance the ability of operators to move natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales into more favorable markets. Once constructed, the Rover project will transport up to 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica shales to Ohio, Michigan, and Canada. The Atlantic Sunrise expansion will transport an additional 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus shale to the southeastern United States. National Fuel’s Northern Access project will connect the Marcellus to Buffalo, New York and other interstate pipelines that will further transport the natural gas throughout New England and Canada.

The approvals came immediately prior to Commissioner Norman C. Bay’s February 3 departure from FERC, which leaves the Commission without a necessary quorum to take major actions until President Donald J. Trump nominates, and the United States Senate confirms, at least one new commissioner. In anticipation of the indefinite halt to the Commission’s ability to conduct meetings, the commissioners delegated duties, primarily concerning rate filings, to FERC staffers.
Wednesday, February 08, 2017


On January 27, 2017, Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Norman C. Bay announced his resignation, effective February 3, 2017. Bay’s resignation will create a third vacancy on the five-commissioner panel, leaving FERC one commissioner short of a quorum.

Routine FERC business delegated to the agency’s employees will continue after February 3, but the vacancy will prevent FERC from voting to advance or permit major projects, including several pending interstate natural gas pipeline projects. Major pipeline projects that could see delays resulting from Bay’s resignation include Energy Transfer Partners, LP’s proposed 710-mile “Rover” pipeline, Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC’s proposed 199.4-mile “Atlantic Sunrise” pipeline expansion, and the 120-mile “PennEast” pipeline.

President Donald J. Trump is expected to nominate up to three Commissioners to the bipartisan regulatory agency, but the nominees must be confirmed by the United States Senate—a process that could take several months as the Senate confirms the new President’s Cabinet, sub-Cabinet and judicial nominees.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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