Updates from the Road
Our last substantial blog post was directly after the “Chicago Spring” mobilizations in May, an exciting yet exhausting three weeks of action. In the weeks that followed, we took some much needed R and R and then headed to Western Pennsylvania for the annual Earth First! Round River Rendezvous.
The Earth First! Round River Rendezvous
This year the RRR took place in the Allegheny National Forest in Northwestern PA from July 1-9.
The focus of the RRR this year was stemming the proliferation of natural gas Hydro-Fracturing in the Marcellus shale region, a massive shale formation spanning 5 states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic. The industry is barely a decade old but has exacted an enormous toll on the land and the residents that call this place home. There are thousands of active wells in southwestern PA, most on private land, where mineral rights trump property rights. Hundreds of families have experienced groundwater contamination, serious respiratory and skin conditions and a general reduction in quality of life. Many believe that Pennsylvania is a lost cause, and has become an energy extraction colony to the likes of West Virginia and Wyoming. Nevertheless, there are a multitude of groups working to turn the tide on this disastrous energy boom. We were fortunate enough to immerse ourselves in the issues at this Rendezvous and network with individuals dedicated to bringing direct action campaigns to this part of the country. For recent news on this campaign click here or here.
Ohio Fracktion Action Camp – Youngstown, OH
Immediately after the RRR, Seeds of Peace traveled to Youngstown, Ohio for the Ohio Fracktion Camp, a weekend of direct action trainings, workshops and presentations geared towards Oho organizers and residents. We were able to step outside of our normal food support role at this action camp by facilitating trainings and workshops. It was an encouraging weekend that ended in a spirited action aimed at ODNR and their refusal to test “brinewater,” the slurry that is left over from fracking operations. Ohio is unique in the fracking boom, being one of the main states that accepts waste water from extraction sites and injects it into old wells as a form of disposal. This is posing a massive threat to the region and we feel privileged to have played a small part in supporting the growing resistance to this poisonous industry. That is, however, unless the people of Ohio stand up to the state and demand testing and proper remediation.
Next, its on to West Virginia for the Mountain Mobilization. State tuned!