Religious Freedom from a Pennsylvania Pipeline

“Catholic nuns fought pipeline on their Lancaster County land. Now, citing religious freedom, they seek damages in court.”

According to a September 15, 2022 story by Susan Phillips on StateImpact Pennsylvania, The Adorers of the Blood of Christ say Transco’s Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline, completed in 2018, violates their religious beliefs and commitment to care for the Earth. Passing through 10 counties, the Atlantic Sunrise carries Marcellus Shale gas to an export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay.

“The United States Adorers of the Blood of Christ, rooted in the Gospel of Jesus, are ecclesial women, living in community, witnessing God’s love in Mission to empower others, foster oneness, celebrate life, form right relationships, and walk as compassionate companions.”

Adorers of the Blood of Christ Mission Statement

Judges Stephanos Bibas, Cheryl Ann Krause, and Marjorie Rendell (Former First Lady of Pennsylvania) of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the case that pits the Natural Gas Act against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“Every day since October 2018 when the pjpeline construction was completed …Transco continues to add to the profits of its $40 billion dollar corporation. Every day since October 2018, as fossil fuel gas flows through our farmland in Lancaster County, so also flows Transco’s blatant disregard and trampling of the Adorers’ religious beliefs.”

Adorers of the Blood of Christ Sister Dani Brought

“Well they definitely were bystanders, but I don’t know about innocent.”

Judge Marjorie Rendell frustrated by the fact that the Adorers never followed proper regulatory procedure by challenging the eminent domain order through the FERC process

STORY: The Renegade Nuns Who Took on a Pipeline
by Eliza Griswold – April 10, 2019 – The New Yorker

“Somehow our land is complicit in allowing fossil fuels to perpetuate in the United States and that’s so against what we believe and what we would hope for our Earth. It’s a daily sadness for me to know that’s going on on our property.”

Adorers of the Blood of Christ Sister McCann

DEP Collects $736,000 from TransCo for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Violations

Harrisburg, PA – September 22, 2020 – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that it has collected a civil penalty of $736,294.11 from Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) for violations associated with the construction of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Columbia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties. The penalty was part of a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty (CACP) entered into between DEP and Transco. DEP will collect  $680,000 of the civil penalty, and the remaining penalty, $56,294.11, will be distributed among the county conservation districts that inspected the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline during its construction to reimburse the costs they incurred during their inspections.

“Impacts from construction activities that harm or have the potential to harm waters of the Commonwealth are unacceptable, and we will continue to hold operators accountable,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

The violations included failure to properly maintain erosion and sedimentation best management practices, inadvertent returns of drilling fluids at drilling sites in Lebanon, Luzerne, and Wyoming counties, and sediment discharge into waters of the Commonwealth. Full details are available in the CACP.

In addition to the civil penalty, Transco will provide $100,000 to the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance to fund two water quality improvement projects in the Shamokin Creek watershed along Quaker Run and Buck Run in the Borough of Kulpmont in Northumberland County.

The full CACP is here: http://files.dep.state.pa.us/ProgramIntegration/PA%20Pipeline%20Portal/AtlanticSunrise/2020-09-02_CACP2020-8-13Exhibits.pdf

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