On December 16, 2021, FERC ordered Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. and its subsidiary Rover Pipeline, LLC (“Rover Pipeline”) to explain why it should not pay a $40 million civil penalty for alleged violations of the Natural Gas Act, and the pipeline’s certificate order, during construction of its 711 mile interstate natural gas pipeline.

FERC’s Office of Enforcement report (“OE Report”) concluded that in April 2017, crew members employed by Rover Pipeline’s contractors: 1) included diesel fuel, other toxic substances, and unapproved activities in the drilling mud during its horizontal directional drilling operations; 2) failed to adequately monitor the pipeline right-of-way; and 3) improperly disposed of inadvertently released drilling mud that was contaminated with diesel fuel and hydraulic oil. The OE Report alleges that during the construction of a $6.7 billion pipeline project, Rover Pipeline added the toxic, unapproved fluids to combat drilling difficulties and keep up with progress demands.

Rover Pipeline has 30 days to respond to the order, including seeking a modification to the penalty amount. FERC staff will then have 30 days to reply.

A copy of the show cause order is available here.