The following campaign involved members of the IWW and Earth First!
By Xian Chiang-Waren - Mother Jones June 22, 2012
When the 32 families of the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, found out that they were losing their homes to the state's latest fracking operation, the news didn't come from their landlord, or an eviction notice in the mail—they read about it in their morning paper.
The February 18 article, published in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, nonchalantly detailed the approval of three natural gas projects in Lycoming County, PA, including a water withdrawal station that would pipe millions of gallons of water from the Susquehanna River to fracking stations in the mountains further north. The article noted that an "added benefit" of the plans was "the removal of mobile homes," which were located in a potential flood plain.
Later that afternoon, Riverdale's landlord came by and confirmed what residents had already read in the paper: The property had been sold to Aqua America, a water company dedicated to fracking. The full magnitude of the blow came days later, when the eviction notices arrived, informing the residents that they had until May 1 to relocate so that work on the site could begin in June. Each family was offered $2,500 if they got off the property by April 1; $1,500 if they moved by May 1; and zero compensation after that. It wasn't nearly enough; lawyers for Riverdale residents later estimated that the cost of moving each trailer was, on average, between $8,000 to $10,000.
For communities on the Rust Belt, it's one of the oldest stories in the book: A new industry comes in and needs to build roadways or pipelines, and poor communities have to get out of its way. "This happens all the time in Pennsylvania," said Alex Lotorto, a Pennsylvania activist and delegate for the union group Industrial Workers of the World. "Industry comes in and uses our skilled labor. Then both government and industry end up abusing us because honestly, nobody even thinks about the people north of I-80."
But in Riverdale, something unexpected happened: People decided they weren't going to go quietly.