Owner do­nat­ing cash to county emer­gency ser­vices

The Columbus Dispatch - - Metro&state - By Shane Hoover

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.

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