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Nuns Build Temporary Chapel in Path of $3-Billion Pennsylvania Gas Pipeline

An Oklahoma company faces an unusual obstacle along the 180-mile route of a pipeline it’s building to connect the Marcellus shale gas deposits in Pennsylvania with customers along the eastern U.S. seaboard: a “chapel” put up by a group of nuns opposed to the project.

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a St. Louis-based religious order, owns a strip of land along the route of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline route through Pennsylvania. According to UPI, they have installed a temporary structure they describe as a “chapel” on their land, in defiance of the line’s US$3-billion completion.

“We can certainly affirm that this is a religious cause,” said Sister Sara Dwyer, cited by a local news outlet in Lancaster County.

“The Adorers have a Land Ethic, approved by their congregation in October 2005,” the nuns explain in a statement online. That ethic, they said, “honours 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 pipeline has been approved by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its builder, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners, has invoked eminent domain to seek a court order to seize the nuns’ land. “While we respect the rights of people to protest,” Williams spokesperson Christopher Stockton said, “we view this simply as another blatant attempt to impede pipeline construction.”