Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is shown in North Dakota. In Pennsylvania, a group of nuns are protesting the construction of a new pipeline by building a chapel along its proposed route. Photo by TransCanada
July 8 (UPI) -- A group of nuns are protesting a natural gas pipeline by building a chapel along the proposed route.
The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a St. Louis, Mo.-based organization, own a strip of land in Pennsylvania where the pipeline is planned to go through. But the nuns said the $3 billion pipeline violates their beliefs and values regarding the environment and oppose it construction.
"The Adorers have a Land Ethic, approved by their congregation in October 2005, that: Honors the sacredness of creation; Reverences Earth as a sanctuary where all life is protected; [and] treasures land as a gift of beauty and sustenance and legacy for future generations," the group said in a statement.
"We can certainly affirm that this is a religious cause," said Sister Sara Dwyer of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, according to Lancaster Online.
Williams Partners, the Oklahoma-based firm that owns Transco, the company planning to build the pipeline, already has permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and could potentially seize private citizens' property via eminent domain along the route.
"While we respect the rights of people to protest, we view this simply as another blatant attempt to impede pipeline construction," said Christopher Stockton, a spokesman for Williams Partners.
The company is now seeking an emergency court order to seize the nuns' land and built the 183-mile pipeline across Pennsylvania.
"While the Adorers understand that the federal court order of eminent domain, once it goes into effect, can allow Transco to call for the removal of the "chapel" from the easement, they believe that having this structure on their land, for however long, gives tangible witness to the sacredness of Earth," the nuns said.
Mark Clatterbuck of the Lancaster Against Pipelines group, said the nuns' right to their land should be respected.
"It's not about money, it's about principle. And the nuns have a land ethic that says this Earth is a sanctuary and we regard it as sacred, and we're going to work to protect it," Clatterbuck said.