OEPA can send message

Many Ohioans oppose construction of the long-distance pipelines needed to carry natural gas from our region to markets. Without that infrastructure, the gas has only limited value and the rest of the nation would be deprived of its benefits.

Profits from selling the gas are not worth the environmental damage pipelines will cause, insist their critics.

Energy companies counter they work hard to protect the environment. Federal and state agencies police them.

Now, however the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is suing the company responsible for the Rover Pipeline project, some of which passes through our area of Ohio. The 713-mile, $4.2 billion line is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

OEPA officials say that in 10 of the 18 counties through which the Rover Pipeline passes, the project damaged the environment. In one area, a protected wetland was damaged when drilling mud was pumped into it, according to the agency’s lawsuit.

Officials of Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas company behind the Rover endeavor, told The Associated Press they are disappointed the OEPA filed a lawsuit. They maintain they have been working with state officials to resolve complaints about the pipeline.

The issue must be resolved to the OEPA’s satisfaction — one way or another. Considering that this won’t be the last pipeline project in Ohio, perhaps the OEPA action will make it clear that failure to safeguard the environment will carry with it a stiff price.