Tree Sitters in Moshannon State Forest: EQT's Marcellus Fracking Halted

This post was first published on July 8, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.and updated at 7:00 p.m.

May 31, RAMPS announced its Mountain Mobilization for later this month.  For the past week I've been reporting how some activists opposing Mountaintop Removal have stayed close to home here in Southern Appalachia to aid WV Derecho victims.  And that  they've been joined by ohio mtr and fracking opponent Elisa Young. Meanwhile others have traveled to Pennsylvania to to help protests against fracking, a practice which also takes place here. Updates will be here and at twitter at @BethWellington  #Hashtags:  #ClimateSOS #Fracking

Marcellus Shale Earth First!'s tree sit starts  in Pennsylvania's Moshannon State Forest

Since July 1, Marcellus Shale Earth First! has hosted a "rondy" for rendezvous, which sent word to me via a press release that Earth First! has established two tree sits, blocking an access road to a EQT hydro-fracking site in Pennsylvania's Moshannon State Forest where drilling operations were set to begin this week. 

According to a RAMPS activist on the scene, EarthFirst! has erected a "slash pile blockade and two tree sits" blocking an access road to EQT Clearfield County location, halting drilling operations set to begin this week.  The tree sitters' anchor lines are blocking the roadand if an anchor line is cut a sitter will fall. Forty supporters and concerned citizens  succeeded in turning away a Halliburton truck.

As of 7:00 pm the blockade was still up, according to EarthFirst! and dozens of supporters remain.

The purpose of the protest

Protesters are trying to stop any further destruction of Pennsylvania’s state forests—more than half of which have already been leased for drilling—and call attention to the devastating effects of hydrofracking on the state’s communities. 

Farmer Jenny Lisak, 58, of Punxsutawney, PA  speaks up against fracking

USA Today's Dan Vergano interviewed Lisak, who owns a blueberry and apple farm with her husband, Tom for what he termed "the other side of the boom."  He describes the scene:

Amish buggies wait for tanker trucks filled with drilling fluid to rattle past on the country road in front of Lisak's farmhouse. Across the lane is a neighbor's alfalfa field, leased to a drilling company. About a mile away is a deep disposal well, one of only a handful in the state, where leftover fracking fluid goes to be deposited in deep underground rock formations. Lisak, who has no desire to see her farm become a fracking site, sees nothing but downside around her. She says the threat of spills keeps her up at night.

 She told him,

I never, ever, thought about leaving. It was my lifelong dream to be a farmer...Now I have to worry about air pollution and water pollution and life not being normal around here anymore.

Marcellus Shale EarthFirst says Lisak, describes the devastation she has seen in the Moshannon this way: 

Having grown up enjoying Moshannon State Forest in so many ways, I am absolutely appalled at the ongoing destruction. The once narrow and inviting oak-shaded lanes are now being replaced by dust and traffic choked roads for chemical laden trucks - there are no words to describe the injustice of taking public land, meant to provide a source of beauty and wilderness for all and turning it into an industrial zone.
Escalating resistance to destruction

Today’s blockade is the latest in a series of escalating actions opposing hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale. Last May, residents of Butler County occupied the office of State Representative Brian Ellis, demanding accountability for widespread contamination caused by horizontal drilling. 

In June, seven families, along with dozens of supporters, blocked the entrance to the Riverdale Mobile Home Community to prevent their imminent eviction at the hands of Aqua America PVR. Aqua sought to destroy their homes and construct a water withdrawal facility permitted to extract up to three million gallons of water from the Susquehanna River daily for use in fracking. Residents were able to maintain the blockade for 12 days. 

On June 17, 1,000 Ohioans stormed the statehouse in Columbus and passed a “people’s resolution” banning hydrofracking. 

Most recently, a 31-year-old landowner from Athens County, Ohio chained herself to concrete barrels and shut down operations at one of Ohio’s 170 injection wells, which contain about 95% of the toxic and radioactive fracking waste generated from Pennsylvania drilling.  The Atens announced that prosecutors h

Momentum in the anti-fracking battle will continue to build across the Marcellus and Utica shale regions throughout July.  Here are some future actions:

 Ohio to host anti-fracking action camp in Youngstown

Next weekend, residents from Ohio and beyond will gather at an anti-fracking action camp in Youngstown and prepare to enforce the “people's resolution” against fracking. 

 National Stop the Frack Attack  in Washington DC, July 28

July 28, anti-frackers will gather in Washington D.C. for "Stop the Frack Attack," which they hope will be "the largest mobilization against fracking ever."