STATE IMPACT PENNSYLVANIA – A group of Catholic nuns in Lancaster County held a Palm Sunday service in protest against the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline and erected a large cross on the construction site.
About 60 people attended the service and prayed with the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Last year the nuns filed a lawsuit against the pipeline company, Williams, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, alleging the project violated their religious freedom, which is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Williams had unsuccessfully tried to negotiated rights to the nuns’ land, and was then authorized to use eminent domain, giving it permanent rights to a 50-foot-wide area on approximately one acre. In October, 23 people were arrested on the nuns’ property after they attempted to block construction equipment.
After a district court refused to hear the nuns’ case last fall, they filed an appeal, which is pending with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
A Williams spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday. Previously, the company has said it respects the rights of people to peacefully protest.