May 30, 2017

Professional Geologist: Rover’s Drilling Fluid Incidents “Are Being Properly Addressed”

Bill Godsey, a licensed professional geologist, recently penned a letter to the editor in The Daily Digger in which he argues that recent accidental discharges of drilling fluid by the Rover Pipeline are being handled properly by the company and by regulatory authorities. As he writes:

Regarding the Rover Pipeline’s recent release of drilling fluid in Ohio, I would argue that these occurrences – which are fairly common among the industry – are being properly addressed. It’s important for open communications among state and federal regulators and private companies like Rover to continue. Containment is appropriately the focus of those involved.

Mr. Godsey goes on to discuss the role of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in pipeline construction, underscoring that the procedure ranks as an industry best-practice. Further, he notes that Rover officials are taking the necessary steps to remediate environmental impacts of the drilling fluid release:

It’s expected that drilling fluid can and will rise through naturally occurring, pre-existing cracks in the soil during horizontal directional drilling (HDD), which is considered an industry best-practice for installing pipe under wetlands and other sensitive areas. These “inadvertent returns” are common during the HDD process, and do not pose any long-term threats to the environment. Further, Rover included a comprehensive plan to address any such occurrence in its permit application, approved by FERC, to build the pipeline.

Rover is not taking the situation lightly – they have no reason to. Simply put, it in the best interest of private companies to properly follow the correct procedure to continue construction, but the company has every reason to be a good environmental steward and protector of the communities in which they are building. Projects of this nature was intentionally designed to mitigate short and long-term environmental impacts.

As. Mr. Godsey concludes, “While media reports might aim to sensationalize the ongoing correspondence between the Rover Pipeline and the OEPA, I think it’s important to allow the process to be completed without exaggeration or hysteria.”

The Coalition for the Expansion of Pipeline Infrastructure applauds Mr. Godsey for bringing balance to the public discourse on the Rover Pipeline. CEPI looks forward to a speedy resolution of all mitigation efforts and a successful completion of the project’s construction.