Kentucky Holy Land Threatened by Bluegrass Pipeline

Loretto members educated the community about the pipeline at the St. Francis Church picnic on July 20.

Loretto Motherhouse Community members have been concerned about a proposed pipeline carrying highly explosive, toxic byproducts of fracking since we heard about it coming through neighboring counties in June. That concern catapulted us into an energetic response in mid-July when a company representative came to the Motherhouse seeking permission for the pipeline on Loretto property.

All Land Is Holy
Three counties long known as the Holy Lands of Kentucky, are among nineteen counties targeted for a natural gas liquid (NGL) pipeline running from fracking operations in Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast where most of it will be exported for making plastic. Those counties are home to three religious communities as well as the Abbey of Gethsemani. Natural gas liquid is a toxic byproduct of natural gas extraction which must be run through highly pressurized pipelines to prevent explosions.

“This is no longer an issue facing neighboring counties,” writes Loretto member Susan Classen. “This is about Loretto and Loretto’s sacred land.” Read her reflection on this experience here.

All land is holy, not just land entrusted to religious communities, and concern about the impact of the pipeline is growing as more information is uncovered regarding potential environmental hazards. Yet a letter from the governor’s office claims that the state has little or no oversight for this kind of interstate project and the same letter allows for the possible use of eminent domain to force property owners to allow access for the pipeline.

UPDATE 8/20: Two new articles provide helpful additions to this story. “To Care for a Sacred Trust” provides a good overview on the Bluegrass Pipeline issue and Loretto’s involvement, and “Organizing Resistance” provides a closer look at the Motherhouse’s recent organizing efforts.

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