May 15th, 2017

If you were an Ohioan pissed off at those protesters in South Dakota supporting the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in the attempt to halt Energy Transfer Partners construction of the Dakota Access Pipe Line, then environmental karma is coming for your land. ETP has already had the first leak in the not-yet-opened DAPL and—surprise, surprise—dumped millions of gallons of goop on Ohio wetlands. How does the fossil-fuel company responded: with a big fuck you Ohio.

The Akron Beacon Journal’s editorial board, in Rover defies the state EPA, explains:

John Kasich long has insisted that he takes two views of the expanding oil and gas industry in Ohio. The governor likes the boost to economic development. He also says he wants the work done right, protecting public health and the environment. Of late, the state Environmental Protection Agency has backed up the latter view. It has taken an appropriately tough line with Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Rover Pipeline.

On Wednesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission did its part. It ordered a halt to new drilling activity involving the pipeline, designed to travel through 18 counties, from Washington in the southeast to Defiance in the northwest. The commission instructed the Rover Pipeline to add environmental inspectors and hire an independent contractor to evaluate its work at the site where bentonite mud, a natural clay used as a drilling lubricant, spilled across 6.5 acres of a protected wetland near the Tuscarawas River.

Dumping a “natural clay” doesn’t sound all that bad, until you consider what we’re talking about wetlands where amphibious and aquatic life live and from where the Tuscarawas grows. How upset would you be if ETP dumped two million gallons of liquefied clay on your front lawn? My congressional representative (and laughable candidate for governor), Jim Bupkis* Renacci, has been silent on the pipeline that crosses his district.

Still, the company reported the spill—one of 20—and began cleanup procedures, so, that’s all good, right?

No. That’s where the fuck you comes in.

The expectation is that laying an underground pipeline across hundreds of miles will cause disruption. What the state EPA has seen with the Rover Pipeline is something much worse. Craig Butler, the agency director, views the company as in too much of a hurry, failing to heed best management practices, even demolishing a Leesville house under consideration for the National Register of Historic Places. [Then there’s the trees clear-cut before endangered bats could roost in them. Time is money. Chop. Chop. JH]

Butler told the Columbus Dispatch, “This is pretty systemic—that’s when alarm bells go off in my head.”

Of note, too, has been the defiance of Energy Transfer, Butler pointing to a lack of contrition, or adequate response to the state’s concerns. “They’re not taking Ohio seriously,” the director said. The company initially argued that its permits fall under federal regulation. It has talked about “inadvertent releases” as “a common part” of the drilling in the pipeline construction.

Yeah, and dogs peeing in the house is a common part of pet ownership, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the problem.

*After extensive searches, I have been unable to determine what Renacci’s middle initial stands for. Until I can find a reliable reference to Renacci full name, Bupkis will do.


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