Town Hall 6 pm Tonight: 32 Families Speak Out Against Eviction by Aqua for Fracking Profits
Doris Fravel, an 82-year-old widow, faces sudden eviction by Bryn Mawr-based Aqua America. Aqua plans to build a fracking water withdrawal facility where Fravel and 32 other families now live. Fravel will speak out tonight, along with all 32 families facing eviction.
What: Town Hall meeting and vigil
When: Wednesday March 28th, 6 pm
Where: 205 Riverdale Lane Jersey Shore Pa. 17740
Who: Residents of Riverdale Mobile Home Village
Why: Housing is a Human Right. Clean Water is a Human Right. In the words of Doris Fravel, “I am shocked and heartbroken I have to leave my home,”
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission gave Aqua America subsidiary Aqua PVR permission, in a hotly contested hearing on March 15th with a vote drowned out by protesters, to build a water withdrawal facility on the Susquehanna River right where Fravel has been living for 38 years. Aqua plans to sell 3 million gallons/day of river water to fracking corporations. High-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, injects chemical-laced water underground at high pressure — a process with a confirmed current casing failure rate of 6.2% in PA. Environmental violations occur at a rate of 12 per day at Marcellus Shale gas drilling sites in PA. The water returns to the surface bearing toxic chemicals, heavy metals, radioactive materials and volatile organic chemicals, which is why it is often trucked away to be re-injected underground, causing a number of earthquakes. No cumulative impact study regarding the life-cycle impacts of fracking has been conducted anywhere in PA.
New York, Maryland, and the Delaware River Basin (where Aqua is based) have each imposed a moratorium while the controversy rages. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission, in contrast, is giving out multi-billion gallon water withdrawal permits with no examination of cumulative consequences to water, air, land, climate, or human health.
Aqua gave the 32 families an eviction notice with just a few weeks to get out. When Fravel received the eviction notice, it left her shocked and anxiety-ridden. She told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, “I am shocked and heartbroken I have to leave my home,” Fravel said. “It is devastating that, at my age, I have to uproot everything. I could sit down and cry my eyes out.” A number of the families facing eviction have already spoken out on a 15-minute video produced by Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition. Tonight, the families are working to make their voices heard live and in person.
Protecting Our Waters Director Iris Marie Bloom commented, “These greedy corporations don’t care about people — whether it’s kicking elderly people out of their homes or poisoning people’s water, the arrogance of the fracking industry is absolutely consistent. We have seen in Dimock, in Bradford County, and now in Butler County that when people’s water is ruined, fracking corporations deny even the most blatant facts and do not stick around to provide clean, safe water for affected residents. Now, to have Arrogant Aqua kick these vulnerable and innocent families out of their homes, so that they can profit from selling river water to frackers, so that more water can be poisoned and more families’ health and safety jeapordized, is outrageous. We stand by these and all impacted families.”
The Rev. Leah Schade, pastor of United in Christ Lutheran Church, West Milton, has expressed her support and that of the Interfaith Sacred Earth Coalition, a network of over 70 members representing eight different faith traditions. “We see this as a ‘green’ civil rights issue. Not only are the human rights of these families being violated for the sake of corporate greed, the waters of God’s creation are being violated as well. We are standing in solidarity with the families of Riverdale as they fight for their homes. We will continue to demand justice for them and for creation. Like the persistent widow in Jesus’ parable, like David fighting Goliath, like Moses and Aaron confronting Pharoah, like Ghandi, like Martin Luther King, Jr., we know that justice and righteousness will prevail.”
PRESS RELEASE: FROM RIVERDALE MOBILE HOME PARK RESIDENTS and ALEX LOTORTO, released this morning:
Mobile Home Park Residents Threatened With Eviction to Hold Town Hall
JERSEY SHORE, PA – On Wednesday March 28 at 6pm, residents of the Riverdale Mobile Home Village will hold a town hall meeting and vigil to save their homes from eviction by a Marcellus shale drilling water provider. The address is 205 Riverdale Lane Jersey Shore Pa. 17740.
Residents hope to achieve a fair solution with Aqua PVR LLC, the subsidiary of Aqua America that plans to install a 3 million gallon per day water withdrawal facility to service Marcellus shale wells. An ideal solution compensates all 32 families for the full costs of moving or allows them to remain living in the park without the disruption of an industrial water pump. Attorneys for the residents will be present as well as residents available for interview. The park is on the banks of the Susquehanna River.
Kevin June, mobile home owner and resident of Riverdale, said, “There are miles of river up and down from here, but they’re going to put it right here and evict 32 families. Our landlord had the land for sale, but never told us it wouldn’t be a mobile home park. We found out in the newspaper. On top of that, Aqua America is only offering $2,500 to move when they’re going to be making millions on the project. The gas companies always say they have a ‘good neighbor’ policy, but open up your eyes, this is it.”
Bryn Mawr-based Aqua America has decided it will give most residents of Riverdale Mobile Home Village until June 1 to move, offering $2,500 if residents comply. That amount does not cover the market cost of moving a mobile home that ranges between $6,000 and $10,000 dollars depending on size, condition, and additional improvements on the home. Riverdale residents are also concerned that gas worker tenants have displaced and inflated the price of affordable housing and other mobile home options in Lycoming County. A distant relocation of the homes will force longer commute times for residents who work locally and force children to change schools or school districts.
On Thursday, March 15, the company received unanimous approval from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to withdraw up to 3 million gallons of water per day from the site. The SRBC has voting members under orders of the governors of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and President Obama. The water will be transported via pipeline to gas drilling sites located to the north of the township.
For more information on the situation:
Marcellus Shale Reality Tour Part 6 Eviction Notice
Original Story, Williamsport Sun-Gazette: