Community Members and Activists Rally To Defend the Loyalsock

On Monday, November 4th, MSEF! activists hung a banner during morning rush hour on the I-180 bridge over Maynard Street in Williamsport, which read “Don’t Frack Loyalsock Forest! Earth First!”

On Monday, November 4th, MSEF! activists hung a banner during morning rush hour on the I-180 bridge over Maynard Street in Williamsport, which read “Don’t Frack Loyalsock Forest! Earth First!”

Dozens of community members and activists joined together to rally against Anadarko to defend the Loyalsock from fracking.  The event included speakers from Marcellus Shale Earth First!, RDA, and Shale Justice.

Loyalsock State Forest is one of the larger remaining wild places in Pennsylvania, containing two streams of exceptional value, Rock Run and Pleasant Stream. It is also home to several endangered and threatened animals including the yellow-bellied flycatcher and the timber rattlesnake. The area is highly regarded by locals and visitors alike for recreation, containing trails that have been recognized internationally for their beauty.

“If we allow fracking and its polluting infrastructure here, there is nowhere left to call sacred. And when there’s nothing left to conceive as sacred, there’s nothing left,” said Wendy Lynne Lee, an organizer with Shale Justice. ”If we allow fracking here, we have literally no ground upon which to take a stand anywhere.”

Activists held a large banner reading ”No Compromise in Defense of the Loyalsock,” and supporters brought a variety of signs, including some saying ”I pledge to defend the Loyalsock” and “We’re not Leaving.” Speakers emphasized the importance of community organizing, the need for direct action, and how defending the Loyalsock is a winnable goal which represents an important shift in the anti-fracking movement.

“Where I’m from, there are more wells in the county than there are in all of Pennsylvania,” said George Hayduke, a member of MSEF and a former Texan. ”In Fort Worth, they’re still fighting! Here, the fight is just getting started. We’re not going to lose — I don’t like losing, and this is winnable!”

Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has plans to install 26 well pads, miles of pipelines and new access roads, and other associated infrastructure in the wild and highly revered Loyalsock. According to documents recently released by PennFuture following an Office of Open Records request, Anadarko’s plans for Novembers 1st were denied pending input from Southwestern Energy. Southwestern holds the other half the mineral rights for the Loyalsock, and has recently become infamous for ordering a violent police attack against the peaceful Mi’kmaq blockade at Elsipogtog in what is known as New Brunswick, Canada. Moving forward with fracking development on plans from either company would decimate thousands of acres of mature forest ecosystems and other unique habitats such as high-elevation wetlands and streams teeming with trout.

“I have been coming to this forest my whole life,” said Danielle Dietterick, a lifelong Columbia County resident who has been involved in organizing against fracking since 2009. “To quote Emma Goldman, ‘The people are asleep, they remain indifferent, they forge their own chains and do the bidding of their masters,’ but here the people are not asleep,” said Dietterick. “It is Anadarko and the DCNR board of directors who are asleep, and while they’re asleep, the people are awake and we will wait in the forest.  When they come with their machines to destroy the forest, we will be here and we will stop them.”

During the previous week, Marcellus Shale Earth First! hosted a camp from October 27th – November 3rd in a threatened portion of the Loyalsock State Forest, with a focus on education about the forest, fracking, affected communities, community organizing, and using direct action as a means of resistance against the natural gas industry.

1391625_10100424854390579_837996478_n

Press-quality photos of the banner drop are available through the media contact listed below.

Marcellus Shale Earth First! is a regional network of Earth First! members from across the Marcellus Shale, actively involved in direct action to stop shale gas development in Pennsylvania. Members of MSEF! have been working with community organizers in the Keep It Wild campaign for over a year, escalating the struggle to defend the Loyalsock as Anadarko proceeds with its plans to fragment and frack one of the last wild places in PA.
For more information, visit http://marcellusearthfirst.org/

Shale Justice is a coalition of organizations whose aim is to coordinate our efforts, our regionally specific issues, our visions, our talents, and our hard work to end extreme forms of industrialized fossil fuel extraction which poses serious threats to our air, our land and our water.
http://shalejustice.org/

RDA is a grassroots group of dedicated citizens who seeks to educate themselves and the public about deep shale gas drilling and all of its ramifications.  RDA advocates for federal, state and local regulations needed to protect our economy, environment, health, safety and quality of life.
http://responsibledrillingalliance.org

Rally photos:
http://ow.ly/qvIt5

Media Contact:
Gerard Franklin
(570) 995-1082
MSEFMedia@gmail.com

Tags: , , , ,