Last night, I attended a program in Arlington, Virginia about an impending U.S. Forest Service decision on whether to allow fracking and horizontal drilling for natural gas in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. As the organizers of the program explained, fracking in the George Washington National Forest "could threaten a range of resources – including the headwaters of the Potomac River, the D.C. area’s major drinking water source."
Among the speakers last night was Maureen Fiedler -- host of Interfaith Voices, a public radio show, and a Sister of Loretto. Sister Fiedler spoke about her efforts to stop the Williams Company from building the Bluegrass Pipeline. According to the companies involved in developing it, the pipeline would "transport natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shale producing areas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the developing petrochemical market in the Northeast U.S., as well as the rapidly expanding petrochemical and export complex on the U.S. Gulf Coast."
As Sister Fiedler has previously explained:
...this pipeline would carry explosive, toxic natural gas byproducts through the Kentucky countryside. It would carry huge volumes at high pressure, which could leak into the land or the Ohio River. Moreover, this natural gas comes from fracking operations in Pennsylvania, and fracking has been highly criticized for its use of undisclosed chemicals to extract natural gas.
Last night, Sister Fiedler explained how she and other religious communities have organized against the Bluegrass Pipeline, have caused "a lot of negative publicity" for the company, and have brought the pipeline to "something of a standstill in Kentucky, because a lot of property owners have said no...and a lot of people have become organized against it." According to to Sister Fiedler, the battle certainly isn't over, but at least the pipeline has been "delayed...for quite some time." The bottom line, in Sister Fiedler's view, is that "protests...really can work." Here's video of Sister Fiedler's inspiring talk.