Faith communities say No to the proposed hazardous liquids pipeline

Members of Kentucky’s faith communities brought the support of thousands of their fellow believers during an event at the capitol on Tuesday, focused on stopping a proposed hazardous liquids pipeline.

“When people of faith around the country learned of our efforts here to care for Kentucky’s people, land, water and heritage and oppose this dangerous hazardous liquids pipeline, they responded in large numbers,” explained Rev. Cynthia Cain, a minister with the Unitarian Universalist Church.

“More than 36,000 of our sisters and brothers in Kentucky and across the nation signed a petition from Faithful America asking Governor Beshear to share our love for our land and help us protect it from this proposed and unwanted pipeline.”

Rev. David Whitlock of the Lebanon Baptist Church acknowledged that, “For too long too many of us have stepped aside and [let corporations rule]. We are simply here to say enough is enough. It’s time for a change. The stakes are high."

He talked of a sacred truth: "Taking care of the land is part of our Christian responsibility. Because we are in relationship with God we are in relationship with the land."

Care for the land and one another were reflected in remarks from Susan Classen, a Co-member of the Loretto Community.

“I am here because the whole earth is full of the steadfast love of God. It matters how we treat the earth,” Classen said. “The possibility of the hazardous liquids pipeline invites us to wake up to the imperiled future it would create."

The proposed pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to processing and export facilities along the Gulf Coast. It was pass through 22 counties in northern, central and western Kentucky.

Presbyterian minister Rev. Mary Love reminded those gathered that extractive industries have not been faithful stewards of God’s creation in areas where coal is mined. “Don’t let the landowners in the path of this hazardous liquids pipeline suffer the same sort of damage to their land and water as has happened in eastern Kentucky.”

After the service on the front steps of the capitol, that included Daniel Martin Moore singing “in the Cool of the Day,” the group moved into the governor’s office to hand the booklet of signatures to receptionist Debbie Gall. No one from the governor’s staff would come outside to accept the petition.

Faithful America petition delivery"This petition represents the deep conviction of people of faith that it is our sacred duty to protect the land and the water and all the communities here in the commonwealth," said Sr. Claire McGowan in presenting the petition. She asked Gall to tell the governor and his staff “to do everything that they can to stops the dangers of this proposed hazardous liquids pipeline. There is so much at stake.”

The event closed with the singing of “For the Beauty of the Earth” in the governor’s outer office.

Afterwards, the governor’s office issued a statement acknowledging the concerns of people in the path of the pipeline, but failing to recognize that any action is needed by state government to protect those people and communities.

Faithful America is an online community of people of faith striving to put principles of justice at work in the world.

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