Owner donating cash to county emergency services
CARROLLTON — Rover Pipeline is donating $10,000 apiece to each of the emergency services agencies in the counties crossed by the 713-mile interstate natural gas pipeline system.
Emergency managers for Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas accepted $30,000 during a brief ceremony Wednesday. The pipeline crosses 18 counties in Ohio, 27 overall, for a total payout of $270,000, said Rover spokeswoman Alexis Daniel. The money can be used to buy equipment or train first responders.
Stark plans to use to the money to rehabilitate equipment and furnishings at the county Emergency Operations Center, said the agency's director, Tim Warstler.
Carroll will use the money to buy furnishings and a Smart Board, and Tuscarawas will use its $10,000 to purchase air monitors and a Smart Board for its center.
Texas-based Energy Transfer is building the $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline, which will carry 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day from the Utica and Marcellus shales to markets in Canada and the United States.
The portion of Rover that crosses Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas consists of two 42-inch-diameter pipelines.
Rover is more than 95 percent complete, and one of the two main lines across Ohio, along with a lateral line in southeastern Ohio, will be operational by the end of the year, Daniel said. The full Rover system is scheduled to be in service by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
But the Ohio EPA has cited Rover Pipeline for repeated environmental violations carrying civil penalties in excess of $2.3 million, and earlier this month the Ohio attorney general’s office sued the company in Stark County Common Pleas Court.
The biggest incident happened in April when 2 million gallons of diesel-tainted drilling slurry spilled in a Bethlehem Township wetland while pipeline workers bored under the Tuscarawas River.
On Wednesday, Betty Sutton, a Democratic candidate for governor, called on Gov. John Kasich to revoke a state environmental permit that Rover needs to complete construction and conduct a review of the project.
Rover representatives said they have been in touch with emergency managers and fire departments in communities along the pipeline route and will continue to do so.
Warstler said Stark County’s relationship with Rover’s emergency response staff was good and he expected that relationship to continue.
“I do believe pipelines are statistically one of the safest ways of transporting chemicals,” Warstler said.
In 2017, 45 significant incidents involving onshore transmission pipelines have injured one person and cost $38 million in damages, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.