Monday, July 31, 2017 at 10:11AM
Clark Hill

Catholic nuns who oppose Pennsylvania natural gas pipe line on religious grounds are pursuing legal proceedings to avoid eminent domain.

This Washington Post article discusses an attempt by a group of Catholic nuns to prevent involuntary acquisition of their property for a natural gas pipe line.  The nuns, who are part of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ leadership team, “have made environmental protection and activism a key part of their mission.”  As such, they believe that the use of their property for a pipe line transmitting natural gas obtained by fracking is inconsistent with to those beliefs.  To protest, they have constructed an outdoor chapel in the middle of a farm field where the pipe line is intended to be placed.

They have also initiated a legal battle.  The pipe line company is seeking injunctive relief to obtain immediate possession of the property.  The Sisters have initiated legal proceedings arguing that the use of eminent domain violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (commonly known as RELUPA).

This legal battle is worthy of following.  And it could have more widespread application.  For example, certain religions value worship in natural treed settings and a taking involving clear cutting of their facility or a portion of their facility could trigger application of such a ruling.

This will be a case to watch.

If you have any eminent domain or land use issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Article originally appeared on Clark Hill Property Owner Condemnation Services (
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