Energy Transfer Fined $20M-Plus by FERC Following Review of Rover-Related Home Demolition
FERC has proposed that Energy Transfer Partners LP pay $20.2 million for allegedly misleading the Commission about its purchase and subsequent demolition of a historic property in Ohio that stood to slow the regulatory review of the Rover Pipeline.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in an order handed down during its monthly meeting Thursday gave Energy Transfer and affiliate Rover Pipeline LLC 30 days to respond and “explain why they should not be assessed” the proposed civil penalty.
During the certification process for the 711-mile interstate natural gas pipeline, Rover “made misrepresentations and omitted material information concerning the status and intended treatment of a historic house in Dennison, OH, known as the Stoneman House,” staff with FERC’s Office of Enforcement alleged.
The company purchased the historic property in May 2015 and demolished it a year later, according to the allegations.
“Despite taking these actions during the year and a half that their application was pending before the Commission, Rover did not notify the Commission that it purchased, intended to destroy, and eventually did destroy, the Stoneman House,” FERC staff alleged.
Given its age and proximity to the project, the Stoneman House could have required additional regulatory proceedings under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Rover’s actions with the Stoneman House violate regulations requiring “full, complete and forthright applications,” FERC staff alleged.
FERC staff noted that it had specifically identified Rover’s March 25, 2016, draft environmental impact statement response and an updated landowner list provided to the agency, “when it decided not to tell FERC that it had purchased the house and was considering demolishing it; and when Rover demolished it in May 2016 without notifying FERC.”
The Commission previously raised the allegations over the Stoneman House in 2017 when it denied a blanket certificate to the developer to conduct certain routine construction activities. FERC previously cited email evidence to support its interpretation that Rover “demolished the house with the intent to avoid” proceedings under the NHPA.
For its part, Rover has previously challenged FERC’s interpretation of the events surrounding the Stoneman House. The developer said in 2017 FERC failed to show that the home was demolished intentionally to avoid additional regulatory proceedings under the NHPA. The Commission further failed to address “contrary evidence” showing Rover notified state preservation officials prior to demolishing the Stoneman House, the company has said.
Read More: Energy Transfer Fined $20M-Plus by FERC Following Review of Rover-Related Home Demolition