WASHINGTON (CNS) — Construction on a Pennsylvania natural gas pipeline resumed after a federal court lifted a temporary stay of work on the project that passes through land owned by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ended the stay Nov. 8 because the parties opposed to the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline that filed the motion “have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review.”
Oklahoma-based Williams Partners, the pipeline builder, announced soon after the court’s action that work would resume promptly on the $3 billion project that will deliver natural gas from the Marcellus shale in northeast Pennsylvania to distribution lines along the East Coast. The pipeline is expected to be in operation by mid-2018.
There was no immediate response to the ruling from either representatives of Lancaster Against Pipelines, the lead group seeking to block the project, or the Adorers.
The pipeline has been opposed by the Adorers, who lease farmland in Columbia, Pennsylvania, through which it passes, as well as a coalition of environmental and community groups. The congregation said the pipeline violates its land ethic that calls for protecting creation.
The Adorers earlier filed their own lawsuit to block construction, saying that the project violates the rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A judge ruled against the order, but an appeal has been filed.
Construction on the Adorers property began Oct. 16. The temporary stay came in response a lawsuit asking the court to halt construction until the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the country’s energy infrastructure, conducts a more comprehensive environmental review of the pipeline’s long-term impacts and the public need for the project.
The sisters allowed Lancaster Against Pipelines to construct a simple chapel on the property. It has become a gathering place for prayer, reflection and community meetings to discuss responses to the project.