The Adorers are extremely pleased that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit temporarily halted all construction activity by Transco on the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline effective immediately. The Order was a preliminary response to the Emergency Motion for Stay filed by the Allegheny Defense Project and other organizations, including Lancaster Against Pipelines, concerned that FERC improperly evaluated the environmental impacts of the Pipeline. The D.C. Circuit Court’s Order stayed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order approving the Pipeline to allow the Court time to consider the Emergency Motion. The Adorers hope that a permanent stay will be entered because environmental science confirms the development of this massive fossil fuel pipeline will only accelerate global warming and harm God’s sacred earth.
Unfortunately, a significant amount of construction already has occurred on the Adorers’ property. As Transco acknowledged in a recent press release, it rearranged its construction schedule to target the Adorers’ property for immediate construction. This was done even though Transco knew that construction would substantially burden the Adorers’ deeply-held religious beliefs and practices, and in spite of the litigation that is pending in multiple forums that could end or alter construction of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.
The Adorers’ case challenging that Transco’s condemnation and use of the Adorers’ Property violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act remains pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court, and the Court has expedited the case in light of the urgency and importance of the issues. Based on Transco’s original construction schedule, it was anticipated that the Court could enter a ruling on the Adorers’ appeal before any construction commenced on their property. Instead of proceeding under its original construction plan while the Court considered and decided the Adorers’ RFRA appeal, Transco decided to rearrange its construction schedule to commence construction on the Adorers’ property in clear disregard of the Adorers’ religious freedoms and beliefs.