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Nuns fight pipeline: Nuns and monks battle Bluegrass pipeline on 'Holy Ground'

Monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Ky was one of many landowners working to block the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline. - NBC news

Nuns battle a pipeline that has a proposed underground route running through land owned by a group of Catholic Trappist monks and a convent. The fracking battle has pitted “Big Energy” against the “singing nuns,” reports NBC on March 15.

“The developers and the devout have clashed over an underground conduit called the Bluegrass Pipeline that would send natural gas liquids pulled from Pennsylvania fracking sites to a Gulf Coast export complex,” writes NBC News.

The Oklahoma company pushing the project – Tulsa-based Williams Co. – has submitted plans to dig across northern Kentucky, paying landowners along the way for the right to dig in privately-owned land.

Williams Co. called their proposal “an American opportunity” that will advance “energy independence and stronger local economies,” while vowing: “safety is our highest priority.”

Opponents of the pipeline however include the sisters of Loretto Community, in Nerinx, Ky., and the Abbey of Gethsemani, approximately 15 miles away, which serves as a wooded retreat and farmland to dozens of Catholic monks.

“When I look out my window, I see beauty,” said Sister Maria Visse. “When somebody else looks out the window, they only see: ‘Can this make me any money?’ There’s a protectiveness we feel, knowing what impact that (pipeline) intrusion would have on the natural balance.”

The land is considered by its religious inhabitants to be “Holy Land,” and worry the pipeline will mean environmental ruin. The monks and convent own over 3,000 acres together.

“This has a lot of drama baked in – an active grassroots opposition against a mega-corporation from out of state,” said Sellus Wilder, a Frankfort, Ky., farm owner and pipeline opponent. “People are more possessive of their land around here.

But in this turf war, the nuns believe they own the moral high ground. Their concerns include a surrounding geology pocked by caves and sinkholes. Some locals fear if the pipeline shifts and leaks, gas liquids could pollute underground streams. – NBC News

Last August, the Sisters of Loretto gained national attention to their cause by breaking into a rendition of Amazing Grace at a peaceful dissention open-house rally that was held by Williams Co. Their song, seen here via YouTube, landed the women such monikers as the “Signing Sisters” and “Doubtin’ Abbey.”

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