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Petitioners continue pipeline fight

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By Stephen Lega

Officials with Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners have started acquiring easements in neighboring counties for the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline.
Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan and MarkWest Utica have joined forces on a competing project to bring natural gas liquids from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico.
But opponents of NGL pipelines aren’t ready to give up the fight just yet.
“It may be a lost cause, but I would rather fight for a lost cause than for one that is not worth fighting for,” said David Whitlock, pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church.
Whitlock is one of the people who was scheduled to speak when Faithful America presented a petition to Gov. Steve Beshear Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Frankfort. As of Monday, more than 32,000 people had signed the petition “Stand with Sisters against fracking.” (The petition is available here: http://goo.gl/XwPwCY.)
Whitlock said the Loretto Community has been at the forefront of the opposition to the Bluegrass Pipeline, but they aren’t alone.
“They’re leading the charge … but as a larger community of faith, all land has a sacredness to it,” he said. “It’s only going to get worse unless we take a stand.”
Daniel Martin Moore of Cold Spring, the Rev. Mary Love of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Dominican Sr. Clair McGowan of Springfield, and Susan Classen, a co-member of the Loretto Community, were also scheduled to speak in Frankfort.
Classen said the Loretto Community doesn’t see itself as leading the charge as much as joining others to express their concerns about NGLs and fracking.
During hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart rock and release gas, according to an explanation at Propublica.org. (An illustration can be found here: http://goo.gl/vw0Nb0.)
Bluegrass Pipeline representatives asked to survey the Loretto Motherhouse property, but the Loretto Community made it clear that they are opposed to having the pipeline on their land.
Classen explained that the Loretto Community’s concerns goes well beyond the Motherhouse, however.
“It’s not actually coming to our property at this point, but we’re concerned about our neighbors and about land, even if it’s far away from us,” she said.
Classen said people remain worried that pipeline officials will try to invoke eminent domain to force landowners to allow the pipeline to be built on their land. The petitioners are hoping that state officials will take steps to clarify state law so that the pipeline will not be able to consider eminent domain.
Classen said she intended to quote a company official who said he found the opposition to the pipeline “befuddling.” The way she sees it, he may not understand that many Kentuckians see land as something more than just a way to make money.
“We see land as a life-filled manifestation of the spirit of God,” Classen said.

‘Gasland II’ screening at Loretto
The Loretto Community has scheduled a screening of the movie “Gasland II” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at Loretto City Hall.
The film is a documentary by Josh Fox, looking at the effects of fracking.
A trailer for the film can be viewed at www.gaslandthemovie.com.