Imagine the surprise of my Loretto sisters at our motherhouse in Kentucky when they awoke Wednesday to find that the lead editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal was celebrating their efforts to keep the notorious Bluegrass Pipeline out of Kentucky.
For the record, the pipeline was designed to carry natural gas waste products that result from fracking in Pennsylvania and Ohio through Kentucky and other states to the Gulf of Mexico. Now that plan has been postponed indefinitely.
And here is where the Courier-Journal gives credit:
If the project ultimately fails ... special credit must go to three Roman Catholic women's religious orders in Kentucky who helped focus attention on the project last year when they issued a call to people of this state to take a fresh look at energy needs and the best and most environmentally sound way to meet them.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace in St. Catherine, the Loretto Community at Loretto and Sisters of Charity at Nazareth have been a steady, insistent voice for a rational energy policy that relies not on pipelines or expanded extraction of fossil fuel but on conservation and increased use of renewable energy resources.
All three orders are in the region around the proposed pipeline path through Nelson County, an area called Kentucky's Holy Land because of the early influx of religious into the area.
In their document, "An Energy Vision Statement from the Heart of Kentucky's Holy Land" the three religious orders call on all of us to examine our stewardship of the earth against the desire for convenience or cheap and quick energy sources.
They were especially concerned with the growing practice of "fracking," or hydraulic fracturing operations that produce natural gas liquids transported by pipelines for processing.
"We stand with those who oppose the widespread risks to natural ecosystems," the statement said.
The document drew widespread support from religious, peace, justice and environmental groups and was vital in mobilizing awareness about the pipeline which would carry natural gas liquids from Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast for processing. ...
The sisters have issued a powerful challenge to all of us about energy and the environment.
Wow! When does a local newspaper say something like this? Not often.
But as I ponder the growing crisis of climate change and its relation to fossil fuels, we need more voices like these everywhere. President Barack Obama would do well to consult nuns before he makes a decision about the Keystone XL pipeline.