A Hare Krishna community in West Virginia is challenging the project on religious grounds, saying that the pipeline’s planned route could cut through sacred lands.
The New Vrindaban community in Marshall County was once America’s largest Hare Krishna settlement, and is home to the Palace of Gold, an ornate temple that has been described as America’s Taj Mahal.
The religious organization, which has been trying to rebuild itself since the 1980s after being rocked by numerous scandals, happens to sit on the gas-rich Marcellus Shale. The commune has more or less welcomed gas leases as a means to repair its crumbling infrastructure and start new projects, and has reportedly netted more than $4.3 million in royalties.
While the religious organization signed leases in 2010 and 2014 to sell the natural gas under its properties, according to its federal lawsuit filed at U.S. District Court in Wheeling on Tuesday, those leases do not allow for any surface disturbances and blocks off sacred areas from outside intrusion.
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