protesters block fracking site at PA state forest

July 9, 2012


Protesters blockade access to a fracking site in Moshannon State Forest, PA
//photo by Marcellus Earth First!

Marcellus Earth First!, an activist group fighting fracking operations in Pennsylvania and New York, reports that it has blocked access to a well pad set up by EQT in Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County, about 25 miles northwest of State College, PA.

The group has been posting updates on its website since about 10 a.m., when it announced that it had set up the blockade and that 40 supporters, who turned away a Halliburton truck, were holding a rally nearby. At 7:40 p.m., they reported that the Pennsylvania State Police had ordered the 40 supporters to leave and that “arrests were imminent.”

Drilling operations at the site were set to begin next week. By 10:10 a.m., the protesters reported that they had a slash pile and tree sitters blocking the access road: “The blockade is trying to stop the further destruction of Pennsylvania’s state forests—more than half of which have already been leased for drilling—and call attention to the devastating effects of hydrofracking on the state’s communities. The sitters’ anchor lines are blocking the road by crossing each other and the road, and if an anchor line is cut a sitter will fall.”

By 12:45 p.m., they reported: “SITE COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN. State police had escorted all the workers from the site, the group reported, although later posts indicate that police said 25 more employees were trapped by the blockade. “The workers were very friendly and people talked with them extensively,” the protesters said.

Marcellus Earth First! also included these remarks from farmer Jenny Lisak, who said she grew up adjacent to the park: “Having grown up enjoying Moshannon State Forest in so many ways, I am absolutely appalled at the ongoing destruction. The once narrow and inviting oak-shaded lanes are now being replaced by dust and traffic choked roads for chemical laden trucks – there are no words to describe the injustice of taking public land, meant to provide a source of beauty and wilderness for all and turning it into an industrial zone. Jobs? Those can be found just as readily in the green energy sector. To relentlessly ignore the science is a crime. This extreme extraction method is contributing to the climate crisis and that alone is reason to stop. Having suffered an impacted spring on our own property from a Marcellus well that had violations for the improper use and storage of fracking waste and knowing how the larger community is being harmed though, I know that this activity has too many known and unknown risks to be allowed to continue.”

This is the latest of several recent fracking protests, including a nearly 2-week-long encampment at the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, PA. Aqua America purchased that land to set up a pumping station along the Susquehanna River to supply water to the fracking industry. Also, the Tour de FRACK (Freedom Ride for Awareness and Community Knowledge) bike ride starts July 14 in Butler, PA, and ends at the Stop the Frack Attack Protest in Washington, DC, on July 28. Tour de FRACK will make two stops in Maryland, in Cumberland and Williamsport. To carpool with CCIHC to the protest in Washington or the bike stop and concert July 22 in Williamsport, email More details on these events will be in future blog posts.

–elisabeth hoffman





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