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Catholic voices raise moral concerns in country's fracking debates

In ongoing national discussions about the mining of natural gas, Catholic voices have emerged to raise significant moral questions while not necessarily taking sides.

From New York to Colorado, from individual bishops to umbrella organizations, Catholic contributions to the discussions have decidedly held up the church's social teaching on the importance of protecting creation and promoting the common good.

Families seek recourse in lawsuits for natural gas wells considered a nuisance

When David and Linda Headley bought their 116-acre farm in rural Fayette County near the West Virginia border in 2005, they thought they were buying their dream property, a place to build a home, raise a family and enjoy the outdoors.

What they ended up with, they told Catholic News Service, was a nightmare.

These days when David and Linda and sons Adam, 5, and Grant, 17, look out from their front porch they see the telltale signs of a natural gas well less than 600 feet away: condensate tanks, vent pipes, pipelines and control valves.

Settlement assures Ohio woman’s wild pets will be home for the holidays

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Ask any animal lover: The best Christmas presents do not always come decorated with silver paper and red bows, but rather sounding with woofs, meows and chirps.

For Carol Deyo of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, her gifts have arrived early this year, in the form of big brown deer eyes, masked bandit raccoon faces and a favorable decision from a government agency of humans.

Sisters choose nature over riches of natural gas lease

With 761 acres of mostly wooded property nestled along the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line, the Sisters of the Humility of Mary feel they have been entrusted with a special oasis.

The land encompasses a 250-acre organic farm, grazing land for cattle and sheep, wetlands and shaded open space where members of the community, employees and visitors can relax, walk and pray, all to gain a deeper appreciation of creation.

Microclimates, closets and Christmas' truth

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Microclimates get a lot of attention from farmers and gardeners. You can grow a good crop on the north side of the property in the global South or on the lean of the hill in the American West.

Christmas is like a microclimate, a time when we are responsive to the seasonal weather. One of my long-term unemployed parishioners wept recently in my office. He said, “It’s hard enough week after week but to have no money at Christmas, it is cruel. Not to mention what Congress is trying to not do for us in extending benefits.” 

Christmas goes green in two new children’s books

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Looking for a last-minute Christmas book to place alongside The Lorax and other environmental “keeper” books on your shelf?

Two new publications -- Christmas Nevermore by Marc Cadieux and Herve Bastien, and Mert the Anxious Evergreen, by Claire Bowman -- revisit the spirit of Dr. Seuss’ cautionary tale about corporate greed and environmental degradation, and all within a holiday-season setting.

Advances in drilling technology led to fracking's rapid expansion

The history of slick water hydraulic fracturing extends back more than 60 years as America seeks solutions to its seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy.

Also known as fracking, the process has been used to extract oil and natural gas since 1947, said Peter MacKenzie, vice president of operations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. He and other industry representatives argued that the process is safe and even when problems occur, companies work to alleviate any concerns.

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