Letter to the Editor: Geologist Says Rover Pipeline Problems Are Common and Being Handled Properly

Rover’s Focus is Rightly on Containment, Working with Authorities

by Bill Godsey

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.

It’s expected that drilling fluid can and will rise through naturally occurring, pre-existing cracks I n 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.

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.

Bill Godsey is a licensed professional geologist and a former geologist for the Texas Railroad Commission.

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