Gov. Terry McAuliffe supports the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The project would create jobs, while the pipeline itself would be a safer alternative to rail and roads for transporting natural gas, he explains.

He also recently said on his “Ask the Governor” radio broadcast that even if he opposed the pipeline, he could not unilaterally stop it. The project is subject to regulatory overview, not to gubernatorial fiat.

Opponents must secure statutory changes if they are to prevail.

One of the most challenging arguments regarding energy generally and pipelines specifically is not addressed by secular law. McAuliffe left out the theological implications, to no one’s great surprise.

A tense pipeline debate is occurring in the Dakotas, too. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation opposes the Dakota Access Pipeline, which it says would violate sacred tribal grounds.  It also would threaten the water supply, protesters believe.

The Episcopal Church enjoys a strong presence among the tribes. Michael Curry, the church’s presiding bishop, has visited the region to encourage the Standing Rock Sioux. He cited biblical precedent for Standing Rock’s claim.

Each pipeline must be judged on its merits. Domestic natural gas serves as a welcome alternative to imported fuels.

But energy must be regulated, too. The Sioux make a strong case against the one proposed for their front yard. 

Bishop Curry and tribal members implicitly apply the Christian scriptural account of creation in their brief against Dakota Access. Humankind’s “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” includes neither exploitation nor despoliation.

The Standing Rock Sioux Nation has lessons to teach. Genesis is green.

Adapted from The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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