The ITT List
Fracking Operation Evicts Pennsylvania Families From Their Homes
As the result of a push for the expansion of the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking), members of one community in Pennsylvania were thrown out of their homes Tuesday after refusing to leave when a company with ties to natural gas bought the property and evicted the tenants.
Six families in Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, Penn., were removed from their properties on Tuesday after barricading themselves for 11 days. The families were given notice that their leases would be terminated and that they must vacate the property by June 1 in order for Aqua America to begin seizing the property, according to AlterNet. For 11 days, the families, along with some 50 supporters who came in solidarity, barricaded themselves and hung a banner that read: “We will fight for our homes.”
Aqua America intends to use the property as a water withdrawal site to extract 3 million gallons of water a day from the nearby Susquehanna River. The water would then we transported through a pipeline to fracking sites north of the town. Each of the 37-or-so families that were living in the mobile-home park was offered a $2,500 incentive to leave their homes by June 1, according to AlterNet. The six families that stayed and protested the loss of their homes said they could not afford to move and did not accept the money offered by Aqua America.
On Tuesday the families and their supporters in the barricaded community were notified that state police were coming to remove them for trespassing. It was then that protesters were told they had one hour to vacate the property or be arrested. No arrests were made during the removal. Several of those involved with the protest taped into a live stream.
“The people who live at Riverdale are a small community,” one resident says in a video made by the group, Save Riverdale, “who cannot afford to move, but who are being forced to move. You think about our government and our commonwealth and out rights, and they say we should fight for what we believe in. It used to say on Pennsylvania license plates, ‘you have a friend in Pennsylvania.’ But where are our friends now?”
The community resides in the heart of the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale, where several small areas are facing off with natural gas companies in opposition to fracking. The process has been linked to multiple cases of water contamination and has faced scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency, which is in the final stages of a report on the potential consequences of the practice.
Aqua America is the second-largest “publicly traded and wastewater corporation in the United States.” And it aims “to make several dozen acquisitions a year, the company targets smaller systems to avoid a citizenry armed with resources to fight the takeover. And it pursues systems in states that have fast growing populations, corporate friendly regulatory environments and considerable investment needs,” according to foodandwaterwatch.org.
On Save Riverdale’s Twitter, one post reads: “Once a community; now an active construction site.”