Residents gather at YMCA's Camp Birkett near Silver Lake in Michigan to protest Rover pipeline

Residents fearful for future of their homes, blame nearby drilling

From an Article by Alex Taylor, WTOV News 9 (Steubenville), August 18, 2017

TORONTO, Ohio —Drilling for the Rover Pipeline may be the cause of crippling damage to one road in Toronto and after two weeks and no one taking responsibility, residents are fearful for their future.

“About two weeks ago I started noticing things. Like on August 7th there were two decent size cracks in the wall in the basement and now it seems like there’s two more. I got a total of eight now that weren’t in there before,” says resident Todd McDonald.

Todd McDonald says that’s not all. Crumbling hillsides just feet from his brother’s home and sinkholes in the middle of his parents’ yard, who have lived on this street for the last 40 years

“We grew up out here so we’ve been in the area a long time. My parents built their house about 40 years ago and we played in the hills when we were young,” says McDonald.

Now with the persistent damage, in addition to the landslide that happened two weeks ago, he’s afraid his family is going to have to leave too and more residents fear they are on the brink of being forced out of their homes. Others already left.

“I have a daughter here and my nieces and nephews they all grew up here and my brother and his family had to go somewhere else and I’m getting to the verge. Where is it safe?” says McDonald.

McDonald says he’s never seen it like this until the Rover Pipeline began construction here near his home on Hale Road in Toronto (Ohio) a few months ago. He and his neighbors think the drilling is to blame.

McDonald says he feels that the pipeline is responsible for the landslide and continuous damage and he feels they need to own up to what they’ve done and do what they can to fix the situation.

Initially the pipeline did offer up money for those residents who didn’t feel safe, so that people could leave the area if they chose to, but he hasn’t had any returned calls from Rover in a week.

News9 reached out to Rover numerous times during the week and have not heard anything in response to these residents situation.

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Gas pipeline raises freedom of religion issue in WV

From an Article by Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, March 2, 2017

The Hare Krishna community outside Moundsville, W.Va., signed leases in 2010 and 2014 to sell the shale gas under its properties, but February 28th the community filed a federal lawsuit challenging an eminent domain action that would result in a pipeline on their sacred land.

The lawsuit says Rover Pipeline LLC’s proposed pipeline route is an infringement on its freedom of religion rights and “seeks to take a non-metaphorical bulldozer through the Vrindaban Parties’ property, and in turn, through their most sincerely held holy sites.”

The lawsuit, filed by Eco-Vrindaban Inc. and Iskcon New Vrindaban, part of the Krishna community called New Vrindaban, seeks to block Rover’s legal request for immediate access and possession of the pipeline pathway through two Krishna-owned properties. It was filed in U.S. District Court in Wheeling.

Energy Transfer Partners, the same company that is building the 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, wants to build the 713-mile Rover Pipeline to carry shale gas from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio into Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

Gabriel Fried, an executive agent and board member in the Krishna community, said the company’s proposed pipeline route would cut through properties that hold two of the community’s seven sacred temples.

“These are sacrosanct properties,” Mr. Fried said. “Our goal is to protect these properties. We’re not trying to stop the pipeline or progress. We’re amenable to finding a route we and the company can be happy with.”

On the two Krishna-owned properties, the company wants to build the pipeline on a permanent 50-foot-wide right of way about 3,000 feet long. Energy Transfer has offered the property owners $7,000.

The 26-page lawsuit says that although the community has signed leases to sell the gas under its properties as part of a master plan, those leases do not allow for any surface disturbances. And although that plan defines certain areas where drilling and pipeline activity may occur, it “blocks off other sacred areas from any outside intrusion.”

Energy Transfer received a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on February 3rd that allows it to begin construction and also file eminent domain lawsuits against property owners who don’t want the pipeline on or through their properties. More than a dozen property owners in Washington County in Pennsylvania were subject to the eminent domain lawsuit filed by the company.

The Krishna lawsuit, filed by attorney Thomas Butz of the Washington County firm Smith Butz LLC, states that Rover cannot meet the legal burden of demonstrating a compelling governmental interest for siting the pipeline through New Vrindaban’s holy grounds.

Based on Hindu teachings and texts, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or “ISKCON,” was started in 1965 in New York City. The 200-member settlement in West Virginia was established in 1968 as a sacred and spiritual community “known worldwide for cow protection, simple living, holy pilgrimage, spiritual education and loving Krishna,” according to the lawsuit.

“Rover’s proposed pipeline easements would desecrate the New Vrindaban holy sites and steal sacred pilgrimage areas,” the lawsuit says.

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See also: Residents gather at YMCA’s Camp Birkett near Silver Lake to protest Rover Pipeline

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Why Preserve and Protect the Appalachian Trail?

by Duane Nichols on August 19, 2017

We can find ourselves in the mountains!

Science, Solitude And The Sacred On The Appalachian Trail

From an Article by Adam Frank, 13.7 Blog (NPR), August 15, 2017

This week, you can’t reach me by email, or text, or Tweet. This week, I’m not taking anyone’s calls, either.

That’s because I’m walking the Appalachian Trail — alone. And while I am, without doubt, scared of being eaten by a bear, I’ll be out there looking for that most precious of possibilities: solitude.

Solitude can be hard to find in the modern world. Cities are, of course, exactly about mixing it up with our fellow humans. That’s the source of their potent innovation. So, while you can find places in the city to be alone, it is much harder to find true solitude.

The difference between the two — being alone and being in solitude — is the secret many people find the wilderness teaches. Now, for a lot of folks, the idea of being alone can be discomforting — if not downright terrifying. That’s understandable because we are, by nature, social animals. Evolution tuned us to live in groups and be attentive to others.

But being in the wild without others doesn’t mean being alone; in fact, it can be quite the opposite.

I was raised in some of the denser regions of northern New Jersey. I loved every bit of growing up in that true melting pot of humanity. But I was lucky that my parents sent me to a YMCA day camp 40 minutes south of my industrialized home turf. That was my first experience of the wild (such as it was). I still have vivid memories of finding myself (relatively) alone in the forests around the camp. What I remember of those times is the profound sense of peace and calm that could make its appearance.

I’ve been searching for more of those kinds of experiences ever since. Mircea Eliade, the great scholar of human religion, knew about those experiences. For him they were the root of “sacredness.” That’s a word I’ve written about many times before in thinking about science and “spirituality.”

For me, sacredness is an experience that rises above any particular religion and speaks to those moments when we feel the essential, original and irreducible potency of life. It need not refer to anything anyone would call “supernatural” but, instead, is rooted in our very real and very natural experience of the world. In that way, it is also a root of the aspiration to do science. As Eliade wrote: “The sacred is equivalent to a power and in the last analysis to reality. The sacred is saturated with Being.”

For Elide, the experience of sacredness was the source of religiousness. But that experience came before any of our modern religions. In particular, it first appeared in what we now call “the wild.” In their early travels through the world, our ancestors would come to some glade or tree or cliff and have exactly the experience I had as a kid in the forests of my YMCA camp. Call it “awe” or “an overflowing”: Call it whatever you want, but the wild is its first home.

Going alone into the wild is also an ancient tradition. It makes up a common theme in the class of common myths Joseph Campbell called “The Hero’s Journey.” Taking a long journey anywhere alone can be scary. That’s also what makes it exciting.

But going into the wild alone takes us beyond just adventure. The reason, once again, is solitude. In the wild, in solitude, you’re never really alone.

In part, it’s all the life that’s there already. The pillars of individual trees stretch back into the woods and, after a while, you realize it’s the forest that’s really the organism. And then there are the bird calls in the air and frogs crossing the trail. After a few hours on an extended hike, you become just another of the forests’ inhabitants plodding along on your way. That experience of sacredness is enough for me.

But there is more.

When you come to a clearing where the sunlight makes it to the forest floor, or where a stream has cut a steep ravine into the mountainside, you can sometimes catch a hint of something. I don’t know what to call it. Words fail. But it feels something like a root, a core, an unvoiced song of the world’s own presence.

It’s powerful enough to get etched in your memory if you’re there with other hikers. But if you’re alone — if that moment is just between you and the world — then you are lucky indeed. That is when you can understand what Henry David Thoreau, one of the first great interpreters of American wilderness, meant when he said, “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

I’ve been lucky to have been able to do lots of backpacking trips in my adult life. And in the last 10 years, I’ve become fond of solo hiking day trips. But putting the two together is a new thing for me. So I am both excited and a wee trepidatious about this trip (The bears. I have a thing about bears).

In the end, however, it’s all worth it (unless I get eaten by a bear). As a scientist, I’ve spent my whole life trying to get closer to the world and understand its ways more deeply. That means going to the source. But there is no greater source for science, for the inspiration to do science, than the wild. That is where the sense of sacredness — that I think lives at the root of science’s aspiration — lives.

So, as the great John Muir put it: “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

Now, if only the bears have read Muir.

>>> Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a book author and a self-described “evangelist of science.”

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Upcoming 401 Certification for ACP & MVP in Virginia

August 18, 2017

LETTER FROM BOLD AMERICA REGARDING ACP & MVP The Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently held public hearings for people to express their concerns for both the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Landowners and all those opposed to these unnecessary fracked gas pipelines that threaten waters in West Virginia, [...]

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Our Forests are Under Attack: Fracking, Pipelines and Invasive Species

August 17, 2017

Tree of Heaven Creates Hell for Native Forests From an Article by Kara Holsopple, The Allegheny Front, August 11, 2017 There’s an invasive tree that is becoming a threat to Pennsylvania’s forests. And it’s one that you see all the time. Ailanthus altissima, better known as tree of heaven, is a tough urban tree that [...]

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Invasive Species Spread in Fracking Areas of PA & WV

August 16, 2017

Fracking is spreading invasive, non-native plants, Penn State researchers say From an Article by Leon Valsechi, Centre Daily News, August 4, 2017 Researchers at Penn State have discovered in a recent study that Marcellus Shale fracking activity (adds to) the spread of invasive, non-native plant species. The findings, published in July in the Journal of [...]

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Pennsylvania is Enacting a Severence Tax in Addition to their Impact Fee

August 15, 2017

Gas severance tax won’t have big impact in Pennsylvania, says researcher From an Article by Marie Cusick, NPR StateImpact Pennsylvania, August 10, 2017 The severance tax recently approved by the PA state Senate is unlikely to have a major impact on drilling activity or government revenues, according to a researcher from an environmental economic think [...]

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Rover Pipeline Continuing Despite Disruptions in OH & WV

August 14, 2017

Energy Transfer executives see Rover Pipeline in “home stretch” From an Article by Joe Fisher and Maya Weber, Platts News Service, August 9, 2017 Houston — Energy Transfer Partners’ beleaguered Rover Pipeline natural gas project is expected to be in service by the end of November or early December, with full commercial service in January, [...]

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“Clean Coal” is a Myth and the Coal Industry Knows It

August 13, 2017

“Clean Coal” Is A Political Myth, Says Coal Company Owner From an Article by Steve Hanley, E & E News, July 25, 2017 Robert Murray is the CEO of Murray Energy, America’s largest privately owned coal-mining company. He has met privately with #FakePresident Donald Trump on several occasions to advise him on how to put [...]

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Penneast Pipeline for Marcellus Gas to New Jersey

August 12, 2017

With FERC AT Quorum, Penneast Pipeline Likely to Move Ahead From an Article by Tom Johnson, New Jersey Spotlight, August 8, 2017 After months of setbacks, the PennEast Pipeline is looking to get back on track, and last week’s approval of two new commissioners to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission might be the ticket. With [...]

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Investors Losing Faith in Oil & Gas Industry, High Costs & Low Returns

August 11, 2017

U.S. Fracking Oil Industry in Trouble: Investors Losing Faith? From the Editor of Marketslant, August 10, 2017 Even though U.S. shale oil production continues to reach new record highs, investors might be finally losing faith in the industry that just isn’t profitable. A perfect example of this, legendary oil trader Andy Hall, known as “God” [...]

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