Saturday, September 27, 2003

Pipeline project fined for violations

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The company building a petroleum pipeline across southern Ohio was fined about $105,000 for not replacing vegetation and other permit violations, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.

Findlay-based Ohio River Pipe Line LLC, a subsidiary of Marathon Ashland Petroleum, failed to plant grasses or other plants in some of the areas disturbed during construction of the 149-mile underground pipeline, the OEPA said.

The company also was required to prevent mud that surfaces during drilling from seeping into streams and wetlands.

"In all times and all areas, they weren't doing that," OEPA spokesman Jim Leach said Friday.

Other violations included not stabilizing soil and failing to install sediment barriers within a required time frame.

Construction was halted for more than a month this summer by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Marathon Ashland spokeswoman Jennifer Robinson said the latest violations are simply the state's take on the environmental violations cited in a federal Corps of Engineers report, and are not new.

"The actual case is that we have not only addressed, but resolved the issues identified in the OEPA report," she said.

The $100 million pipeline will cross eight Ohio counties, sending gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and kerosene from a Marathon storage terminal in Kenova, W.Va., to a terminal in Columbus.

The OEPA also will require the company to ensure the quality of waterways along the pipeline's route and to give $8,000 toward buying 0.5 acres of wetland at Slate Run Metro Park in northeastern Pickaway County.

The fines are among the latest problems for the pipeline.

Perrysburg-based H.L. Crouse Construction, the project's original contractor, was fined more than $500,000 this week by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The company was cited for not protecting workers from trench cave-ins and other safety hazards.

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