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Activists Stand in Solidarity with Families Facing Eviction by “Arrogant Aqua”

April 18, 2012

Unfazed by an overcast and drizzly afternoon, over twenty activists gathered outside the headquaters of  Aqua America in Bryn Mawr, PA today at noon to confront the corporation about their “moral deficit.” Aqua is in the process of evicting 32 low-income families from Riverdale Mobile Home Park in order to build a water withdrawal facility to sell 3 million gallons of Susquehanna River water per day, for the next four years and beyond, to the fracking industry. The small Riverdale community in Jersey Shore, PA was rocked by the news of the sudden evictions less than one month ago, after the Susquehanna River Basin Commission awarded Aqua its permit to withdraw water for fracking on March 15th.

Signs of homes urge Aqua America to stop evictions for fracking and demand "justice for the 32 families" as they line the bushes outside of Aqua America's headquaters in Bryn Mawr, PA.

“This is about human beings losing their homes,” said Nathan Sooy of Clean Water Action. “We need to protect families like the family of (Riverdale resident) Kevin June… Aqua is certainly making enough money to treat them right.”

“Aqua America made $143 million net last year; they’re a major corporation, and they don’t need to make more money by poisoning our water permanently through all phases of the fracking process. They certainly don’t need to displace these families and insult their dignity by refusing to even offer them just compensation,” said Iris Marie Bloom of Protecting Our Waters.

Charlie Kratovil of Food & Water Watch said,  “The oil and gas industry promises people that fracking will provide jobs and a thriving local economy, but the truth is, these companies could care less about the communities they are destroying with their actions.”

Vigil Still to Come: This evening, 6 pm, 762 Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr PA 19010.

Photos from today’s press conference:

Marge Van Cleef, Loretta Gary of Protecting Of Waters (POW), Carolyn Auwaerter, Nathan Sooy of Clean Water Action and Charlie Kratovil of Food and Water Watch gather at Aqua America headquarters to demand justice for the affected families.

Nathan Sooy of Clean Water Action gives a rousing speech, declaring, "we need to protect the families that are losing their homes" outside of Aqua America headquaters in Bryn Mawr, PA.

Iris Marie Bloom of Protecting Our Waters and Carolyn Auwaerter stand up for the 32 families of Riverdale and for clean safe water.

Today's "No Evictions for Fracking" Press Conference and Vigil was organized by Protecting Our Waters and co-sponsored by Berks Gas Truth, Clean Water Action, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch, Gas Truth of Central PA, Interfaith Sacred Earth Coalition, Keep Tapwater Safe, Lehigh Valley Gas Truth, New York Residents Against Drilling, PA Alliance for Clean Water and Air (PACWA), Stop Fracking PA, Groundswell PA, Marcellus Protest, Fracking Truth Alliance of Lawrence and Mercer Counties, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Gas Truth of Lehigh Valley, and Elk CARES.

  1. April 18, 2012 3:51 pm

    Great work, Iris, Nathan and all who were there. Now as you rest for the vigil tonight, let me bring forward here the comments I made to an earlier post about this event. In case others had not seen these comments, it is important to undertand (as I am sure was evident this afternoon) that a whole community is being scarificed to the gas rush.

    One of the greatest 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.

    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.”

    • Marguerite permalink
      April 19, 2012 6:00 am

      Loss of community…environmental catastrophe…reminds me of the trauma and lack of compassion in the name of corporate (govt.) greed that occurred in China with the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. Oh yeah, some will say that that it different…it is those idiot communists and a massively ill-conceived engineering ‘miracle’ BUT this is exactly the same thing. It is just the beginning. It is merely a matter of scale. It hides behind the farcical ‘energy independence’ mantra of big O&G and, again, our govt. The entire Marcellus effort is so incredibly short term in nature – short term jobs, short term energy source – it makes me cry. The irony is that the exception is the very long term environmental consequences and the fact that wet gas is so overabundant that this country is now posturing to be a net exporter! It seems we as a nation have lost the capacity for reasoned thought.

      • T.Clements permalink
        April 21, 2012 2:17 am

        Today! someone is bought with gas money, the elected officials taking big dollar rides, the settlements for the lost life spring to familes forever forbidden to speak. Today! Another passer-by learns of the crude fingering of our earth, unseen supposed sleeping slur, the vivid damage done to our communities broken, new fear for our children’s children left with this mess. Today! Louder then! Our voice for the farmer, the families, the blue sky, water, fish and forest! Roiling and powerful the river runs through us,with us!

  2. Judy Muskauski permalink
    April 18, 2012 4:13 pm

    AWESOME!!!! You all ROCK!!!

  3. Dean H. Marshall permalink
    April 18, 2012 4:47 pm

    Wendy and I met many of the residents of Riverdale MHP on April 14,2012. Some of the nicest,hard working, and POLITE folks one can hope to know. None of them deserve the RUDE and Reckless treatment by Aqua America OR Range Resources!

  4. April 22, 2012 3:46 pm

    “Shocking Conflict of Interest: Private Water Companies Partner With Fracking Lobby”


  1. No Riverdale Evictions Yet, Says Aqua’s Kyriss « Keep Tap Water Safe
  2. “Leave the River in Riverdale!”: Residents and Allies Confront Aqua America « Protecting Our Waters
  3. Action Alert: Hands Across Riverdale May 31-June 1 « Protecting Our Waters
  4. Resistance at Riverdale: “It’s a Huge Blockade” « Protecting Our Waters

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