Fight to Defend the Loyalsock: Upcoming Action Camp and Mobilization!
The beautiful Loyalsock State Forest is located in north-central and northeastern Pennsylvania, spanning Lycoming, Bradford and Sullivan Counties. It consists of 114,494 pristine acres, and is one of the last remaining wilderness areas of Pennsylvania. It also sits on top of some productive deposits of natural gas, and is under imminent threat of being further fracked.
Anadarko and Southwestern Energy claim the right to frack the extraordinarily beautiful Clarence Moore Wilderness area within the Loyalsock State Forest, despite widespread popular resistance. And the drilling of a fracked gas pipeline crossing already created a disastrous spill into the gorgeous Loyalsock Creek earlier this summer, as these photos and article by Wendy Lynne Lee show.
The Loyalsock is home to the black bear, native trout, bobcats and some very rare and endangered bird and snake populations including the Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher and the Timber Rattlesnake. In a post by Susan Phillips of StateImpact PA, Paul Zeph of the Pennsylvania Audubon Society explains that these birds are an indicator species of the health of our environment:
We are all scared to death of losing some of these very sensitive birds that depend upon these forest nurseries to reproduce and continue their population. The fragmentation is going to scare birds away. They are not going to be able to nest anywhere else. Birds are an indicator of the health of our environment for people. And when we start to lose the birds, when they are affected by air [pollution], by noise, by water [contamination], by habitat loss, then the humans are affected. They are a bellwether of what is to come for us. – Paul Zeph
Multifaceted Resistance: Tree-Sitting Begins
And yet! There is a movement of resistance afoot to save the Loyalsock. Environmentalists from across the state have joined with local residents and activists to fight the development.
While there are many organizations that have been fighting for the Loyalsock for months, one thread of the resistance began with the work of Marcellus Shale Earth First! (MSEF!) On the morning of September 13th, MSEF! deployed a tree sit in the Loyalsock and the sitter successfully stayed up in the tree for almost one month.
Tree-sitting is a widespread and often successful form of environmental civil disobedience and direct action. The first known tree-sit, in 1978, led to the protection of what is now the now the Pureora Forest Park in New Zealand. Often used by Earth First!, the tactic involves one or more people living in the trees to prevent them from being cut. Tree-sitting has been used successfully to shut down logging of ancient forests for months, even years, at a time.
In his pledge to defend the Loyalsock, the sitter issued a public service announcement on the first day of the sit, excerpted below:
I am currently occupying space, here in the tree canopy of the Loyalsock State Forest. At the last (and only) DCNR “public” hearing Marcellus Shale Earth First! called out the complicit members of the [Pennsylvania] Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. For those not in attendance, members of MSEF! publicly notified the DCNR of our commitment to be in the forest when the trucks rolled in . . . I am not asking the DCNR and Anadarko nicely any more. They are preoccupied in boardrooms and business meetings planning on the next place they will destroy for profit. Defend the Loyalsock at all cost. You [fracking corporations] have our undivided attention, and that is bad luck for you. - Hellbender
Call to Action
Let’s all stand behind, step into line, and link arms around this commitment to save the Loyalsock! In late October – early November, Marcellus Shale Earth First! is hosting an action camp in the forest to train folks on topics from the tactics of direct action to campaign messaging.
Most notably, for those who may only have one day to spare for a trip to the Loyalsock Forest, MSEF! is organizing a a mass mobilization in the forest on November 1st. The Loyalsock State Forest is just 2 hours from Ithaca and Binghamton, New York; about 2 1/2 hours from Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; about 3 1/2 hours from Philadelphia and from Lancaster, PA; about 4 hours from New York City, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.
We in Philadelphia must make our presence known and support this fight on the frontlines. We are all tied to each other for survival and solidarity. Philadelphia is itself rapidly becoming a frontline community, with Bakken Shale fracked oil trains coming right through our neighborhoods; flaring at the refinery due to fracked oil; companies threatening to tunnel a huge 3-foot fracked gas pipeline right under the Delaware River; and the Mariner East Pipeline intended to take highly explosive “natural gas liquids” (ethane, propane) from western Pennsylvania for overseas export from the Delaware River, putting everyone at risk along the way.
This mass mobilization is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the ties between resistance in different regions of Pennsylvania, and it is a pivotal moment for the Loyalsock State Forest and the well-loved Loyalsock Creek. Now is the time to act!
Here is information about the action camp and mass mobilization provided by Marcellus Shale Earth First! :
During the week of October 27th – November 3rd; Marcellus Shale Earth First! invites you to Northeastern Pennsylvania for a week of workshops, trainings, camping, hiking, and a mass forest mobilization on November 1st near the beautiful waters of Rock Run.
Join us November 1st in the forest for a big rally with music, speakers, food and plant hikes. Come out in force! Stop Anadarko in their tracks!
November 1st is a day of significance in the fight to defend the Loyalsock, a campaign that local groups such as the RDA have been fighting for well over a year: it’s the earliest day that Anadarko can begin their destruction of the Loyalsock.
Through community organizing and direct action, and with your help, we will stop them!
Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation’s proposed development would usher 26 fracking well pads, four compressor stations, and many miles of pipelines, access roads, and other toxic infrastructure into the wild and highly revered Loyalsock.
Anadarko’s track record is weak. They spilled 12,000 gallons of carcinogenic drilling mud in nearby Sproul State Forest, repeatedly failed to report faulty well casings, evaded responsibility for the death of eleven workers during the BP oil spill, and has shown an inability to maintain their waste water containment pits. It’s quite clear Anadarko can’t be trusted to maintain the integrity of an ecologically important forest such as the Loyalsock!
Marcellus Shale Earth First! (MSEF!) is composed of regional groups 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 Pennsylvania.
Action Camp Workshops Include:
Cultural sensitivity for region
Know your rights
Blockades/Direct Action training
Map & Compass
See you in the forest!
Marcellus Shale Earth First!
Main contact: MarcellusEF@riseup.net
Media contact: MSEFmedia@gmail.com
Check out the facebook event!
To RSVP for the action camp, e-mail: marcellusef[at]riseup.net
Whether it’s the Timber Rattlesnake that you want to protect, or more generally air, water, climate and health — or your own children’s right to enjoy the spectacular beauty of Rock Run, the Loyalsock Creek and dark-sky nights in the Pennsylvania wilds, now is the time.