‘The [pipeline] industry has a history of nefarious behavior’ – Paul Wohlfarth

On June 22, Bloomberg News ran the article, “The Company Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline Has Another Big Problem in Ohio,” reporting on the many environmental problems the Rover Pipeline has caused in Ohio. Of particular note was Attorney Matt Strayer who represents 200 landowners that have easement agreements with Rover. He is quoted as saying, “The tight timeline meant that paying for damage was preferable to preventing it.”

Farmer Ben Polasek was quoted as saying,” They’ll do what they want, and they don’t care who they step on to get there. It’s all about how quickly they can get that pipe in the ground.”

The Rover pipeline is just the warning shot to those who have signed easements with the Nexus pipeline. The industry “owns” your land now and in the future, doing with it what they want. The regulatory agencies are now being defunded by our current administration, helped by Congressman Bob Latta, emboldening the oil and gas industry to do as they want without regard to landowners and the environment. Farmers will need expensive lawyers to argue for their property rights while many will simply give up in frustration. The industry has a history of nefarious behavior, covering up their mistakes while quietly litigating in its defense (much cheaper).

Industry whistle-blowers have reported shortcuts in building pipelines across the country especially when schedules are not being met. Pipeline welds reportedly go uninspected to meet imposed contracted timelines. Whistle-blowers complain of pipe being buried before inspection results are verified.

The Nexus pipeline is far behind schedule not to meet their contractual completion date of November 2017 for the first pipeline. A second pipeline in its future plans makes the Nexus route a co-corridor of pipeline development. With all the opposition to pipelines in the country, it makes any established pipeline route more valuable for future development. Do you think the industry’s subcontractors will honor quality over completion bonuses in meeting a rushed schedule? When they leave with bonus checks in hand, never to be seen again, the beleaguered easement landowners will wonder what the future will bring or if there is a future.

Paul Wohlfarth
Ottawa Lake, Michigan