The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ordered a Texas-based company to stop new drilling on a $4.2 billion project, after one of its pipelines spilled millions of gallons of a lubricant into a half a million square feet of Ohio wetlands.
News sources say the FERC action against Rover Pipeline – the company behind the controversial Dakota Access project -- comes on the heels of $431,000 in fines issued last week by the Ohio EPA for multiple water and air pollution violations that occurred across the state.
The substance that was spilled is a nontoxic bentonite mud that could nonetheless pose an environmental threat by suffocating fish and plants, according to the EPA.
The company has wracked up 18 pipeline-related incidents over the past two months, ranging from open burning violations, bentonite mud spills and water pollution. The Ohio EPA says at least eight violations broke state laws and more are under review.
Rover was ordered to cease drilling until its operations are investigated by an independent third party expert and the company has taken steps to address environmental concerns.
Residents along the pipeline route have complained about spills and a drop in property values.