Community activists and organizations sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Wednesday, signed by 118 groups, demanding the agency halt all construction of the Rover gas pipeline and embark upon an extensive review of its approval policies.
The letter, signed by groups along the Rover pipeline route in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan as well as across the country, comes on the heels of massive construction accidents and spills by Energy Transfer Partners as it began construction of the fracked gas pipeline in recent weeks. Already, Energy Transfer Partners has been fined by the state of Ohio and FERC has taken action to pause a portion of their construction activities.
— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) May 12, 2017
“In just the first few weeks of building the Rover pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners has shown themselves to be simply reckless in their construction practices. But just as importantly, they’ve exposed glaring flaws in FERC’s approval processes for pipelines like Rover,” said David Turnbull, campaigns director with Oil Change International.
“FERC needs to take immediate action not only to protect people and ecosystems along the Rover pipeline route from Energy Transfer Partners’ reckless ways, but to improve their own processes to ensure this never happens again.”
The letter has been endorsed by community-based groups in the states impacted by Rover, like the Ohio River Citizens’ Alliance, FreshWater Accountability Project, Buckeye Environmental Network, and Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, along with national groups like Oil Change International, Earthworks, Greenpeace USA, and the Sierra Club. It calls upon FERC to take two discrete actions:
First, the groups demand that FERC halt all construction of the Rover pipeline, with the only exception being any activity necessary to ensure the structural integrity of construction to date. This construction should be halted so that the environmental impact statement can be re-opened to reassess the risks the pipeline construction imposes.
Second, the groups demand that FERC initiate an immediate review of horizontal directional drilling plans and procedures on all open pipeline dockets under their jurisdiction, halting all new approvals of projects while the review takes place.
“Ohioans have a very close connection to the waters of our state, with Lake Erie to the north and the Ohio River in the south,” said Cheryl Johncox, dirty fuels organizer in Ohio with the Sierra Club.
“We don’t take kindly to big oil and gas coming in here and trashing our state. We will fight with everything we have to protect our water and our communities.”
The letter will be sent electronically and delivered in person to the FERC headquarters in Washington, DC.
“The twin Rover pipelines have torn a path across our lands, stepping on property rights and placing added burdens on our communities,” said Elaine Tanner, an organizer with the Ohio River Citizens’ Alliance.
“We must think before placing our future in the hands of corporations willing to leave our people behind as collateral damage.”