Catholic order constructs chapel in middle of cornfield in attempt to use religion freedom protections to block Atlantic Sunrise pipeline
Catholic nuns in Pennsylvania are defying plans to build a$ 3bn pipeline for gas obtained by fracking through its land by creating a rudimentary chapel along the proposed route and launching a legal challenge, quoting religious freedom.
The Adorers of the Blood of Christ order has filed a complaint against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission( FERC) in a bid to keep the pipeline off their land. The nuns lawyers argue in court papers that a decision by FERC to force them to accommodate the pipeline is antithetical to the deeply held religious beliefs and convictions of the Adorers.
The Adorers, an order of 2,000 nuns across the world, have made protected environment central to their mission. The plan for the pipeline goes against everything we believe in we believe in the sustenance of all creation, Sister Linda Fischer, 74, told the Washington Post.
The 183 -mile Atlantic Sunrise pipeline is designed to supply enough natural gas to meet the daily needs of more than 7 million American homes by connecting making regions in northeastern Pennsylvania to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern states, its website says.
It is an extension of the Transco pipeline, which runs more than 10,000 miles from from Texas to New York, and will carry gas removed from the Marcellus shale region since fracking was permitted by the state.
Williams, the company house the pipeline, wants to pay farm owners to allow it to dig up land, install the line, and return the land to farm employ. It has offered compensation for lost harvests and regular inspections to ascertain if the pipeline affects agricultural output.
About 30 landowners who refused to do a deal with Williams now face being forced to comply by a FERC order.
A section of the pipeline is planned to run underneath a strip of land owned by the Adorers in West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, and leased to a local farmer.
Earlier this month, the nuns dedicated a makeshift outdoor chapel at the site, consisting of some wooden benches and an arbour surrounded by corn, with 300 people in attendance.