Loretto Sisters continue objections to new pipelines

I traveled to Arlington, Va., this week to share the story of our Loretto Community’s struggle to keep the Bluegrass Pipeline from crossing Kentucky.

That pipeline, as NCR reported in September, would export the natural gas liquids used in fracking in Pennsylvanian and Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico, where it would head overseas for use in producing plastics, synthetics and rubber. Although the pipeline no longer will seek to cross our Motherhouse land, it remains a threat to our neighbors, and our Loretto folks in Kentucky are leading the struggle to stop it -- period. 

Those at the Arlington meeting were happy to hear of at least a temporary success with a pipeline, but the meeting had a larger purpose. It seems that some natural gas companies want to frack in the George Washington National Forest, which stands at the headwaters of both the Potomac River and the James River, which flows to Richmond. An accident here would endanger the water supplies for Richmond and the Washington, D.C. area. 

And of course, the chemical spill in the waters of West Virginia remains fresh in people’s minds.  It has spurred more people to action. 

As I sat in this meeting, I became convinced that this issue could use much more organizing by the faith community -- from congregations of all religious traditions. There are great resources out there online, including Interfaith Power and Light, and GreenFaith. They sponsor everything from “preach-ins” on climate action to ideas on how to divest from fossil fuel stocks. 

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Meanwhile, the Loretto Community and two other local communities, the Dominican Sisters of Peace and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, have joined together in a joint energy vision statement that provides a spiritual foundation for this work.  It reads, in part:

‘… WE COMMIT ourselves to care for God’s creation, upholding both the ideal of the common good now and the wellbeing of future generations. We will learn, teach, and model alternative ways of viewing energy sourcing and conservation that reduce risks to water, land, air, climate, and human safety. We commit ourselves to use our spiritual and social resources and our public credibility in all possible ways to promote the transition from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy resources …”  

Read the entire statement at the Loretto Community’s website.  

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