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No Fracking Evictions: Write Arrogant Aqua

April 17, 2012

Fed up with arrogant, irresponsible, even cruel corporate behavior? Write a letter to Aqua America.

Aqua America’s uprooting of 32 low-income families to build a water withdrawal facility to sell Susquehanna River water to frackers is just the leading, hard edge of the curve as corporations fracture communities across Pennsylvania in their rush to bring extreme fossil fuel extraction to more than half the state.  Some families, such as Stacey Haney’s (Washington County), Carl and Judy Stiles’ (Bradford County), and Ron Gulla’s (Range Resources poisoned his farm so badly they bought him out and bought him a new property) have been made temporarily or permanently homeless due to gas drilling poisoning their land, water and air. A quiet exodus is happening as rural families find their lives turned upside down due to gas drilling; not everyone loves toxic fumes, explosive methane levels, glutaraldehyde or ethylene glycol in their water, or being evacuated in the middle of the night due to disastrous explosions and fires (Clearfield County June 2010; Bradford County 2011, multiple times; Bedford County November 2011; Susquehanna County 3 weeks ago).  A trailer park in Susquehanna County has just been bought by a gas driller for unknown purposes, so another set of families are bracing themselves right now for the expected eviction notice. Always, low-income families are the most vulnerable.

Riverdale, the mobile home park Aqua America has decided to destroy in order to dive into the high-profit fracking business in the  Susquehanna River watershed (where fish are already showing up with black splotches, indicating the river is impaired), needs your help. Aqua has already forced a number of families out, but you can help protect the twenty-five families that remain. Please write right now to tell Aqua America and their Susquehanna River Basin partner, Aqua PVR:

I am writing to urge you not to evict the 25 families remaining in Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania and not to sell Susquehanna River water to fracking corporations.

Surely it’s not worth establishing yourselves as “Arrogant Aqua,” the company which is bull-dozing 25 low-income families, including people with disabilities; elderly people who have lived there for decades; young couples with small children, and people who, because of their unique circumstances, have nowhere to go.

The intergenerational community you are destroying is wonderfully caring: people look after each other’s kids and take care of each other in so many ways. “There is some serious pain here, a lot of tears; it’s traumatizing,” resident Kevin June said on April 12th.

One of the people already forced out, an elderly woman who’d lived at Riverdale for decades, had “a beautiful garden, community, nature, and safety,” said Reverend Leah Schade, whose Interfaith Sacred Earth Coalition has been supporting the families’ fight. Now the elderly woman lives in a tiny apartment, paying double what she’d been paying at Riverdale, from her limited fixed income. Gone: her garden, her community, her access to nature and profound sense of safety. Write now to restore wholeness to this community:

I’m asking you to not directly evict these residents, and also to not destroy their quality of life with unbearably loud machines operating 24/7 to suck out Susquehanna River water for fracking. “They value the quietness, the peacefulness, the safety; they have a great open space where their children play,” said Reverend Leah Schade on April 14th in Riverdale. The residents value their homes, their community, their lives, and the river itself. “There are deer, fox, and fish here; we’re worried about what’s going to happen to our river,” said Riverdale resident Debbie Eck.

Furthermore, fracking (high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling on multi-well pads) is rapidly poisoning water, air, and soil while ripping communities in Pennsylvania apart. Why would you want to sell water to frackers, inevitably poisoning groundwater and surface waters downstream?

Aqua America’s website says that to them, “going green comes naturally,” so why are they extracting over 4 billion gallons of Susquehanna River water to be permanently poisoned by fracking chemicals, toxic levels of salt, arsenic, hydrocarbons and Radium 226 (which occurs naturally in deep shale) over the next four years alone? Write Aqua now to tell them they must turn around:

From this point forward we expect to see Aqua America do an about-face and become an ally to clean water, a support for low-income families, and a friend to intact communities rather than a poisoner of water, a bull-dozer of low-income families, and a big bully that rips communities apart.

Please share the link to the “No Evictions for Fracking ” letter to Aqua America with your friends, networks and allies:  Help American Rivers get 600 more signatures to ban fracking in the Susquehanna River Basin. And, if you can, come on out to Bryn Mawr on Wednesday, April 18th, at noon or 6 pm, to confront Aqua directly:

  1. Dean Marshall permalink
    April 17, 2012 11:25 am

    Boycott or Back off evictions!
    Your choice Arrogant Aqua!

  2. April 18, 2012 10:14 am

    One of the great books ever written in the field of Sociology is called “Everything In Its Path” by Kai Erikson, which is about the Buffalo Creek Mine Disaster in February 1972 – another energy-related disaster briefly told here:

    The real significance of this book is the notion of “collective trauma.” It is not just a recounting of the negligent ways of Pittston Coal and the WV government that failed to regulate them, causing the disaster that left 118 dead and 4,000 people homeless (seven missing forever), but also the aftermath when the resettlement efforts failed to recognize that it was a community that had been traumatized and needed to be relocated, not just a bunch of different families and individuals. How do you relocate an entire community that needs each other in order to recover from collective trauma?

    In the case of these Riverdale folks living by the Susquehanna, they will lose the community they have known, many of them for decades. Yes, they should get whatever they need to move, but no amount of compensation can replace the community they are losing. That aspect of their human lives (which if Aqua officials had any empathy at all they would understand) is being ignored. That makes them truly expendable, sacrificial victims of this gold-rush to drill by which Aqua hopes to reap huge new profits.

  3. April 18, 2012 10:33 am

    From Erikson’s book: Study findings:
    “It is the community that cushions pain, the community that provides a context for intimacy, the community that represents morality and serves as the repository for old traditions. . . . I am going to propose, then, that most of the traumatic symptoms experienced by the Buffalo Creek survivors are a reaction to the loss of communality as well as a reaction to the disaster itself, that the fear and apathy and demoralization one encounters along the entire length of the hollow are derived from the shock of being ripped out of a meaningful community setting as well as the shock of the meeting that cruel black water.”


  1. Activists Stand in Solidarity with Families Facing Eviction by “Arrogant Aqua” « Protecting Our Waters
  2. “Leave the River in Riverdale!”: Residents and Allies Confront Aqua America « Protecting Our Waters
  3. Resistance at Riverdale: “It’s a Huge Blockade” « Protecting Our Waters

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