Monday, January 20, 2014


According to the mission statement:

Shale Justice is a coalition of organizations whose aim is to coordinate our efforts, our regionally specific issues, our visions, our talents, and our hard work to end extreme forms of industrialized fossil fuel extraction which poses serious threats to our air, our land and our water (

Fact is, however, we are so much more. In our first year we have accomplished the things that could be expected from any emergent coalition of organizations united around a single mission--in this case to see an end to all forms of extreme industrialized fossil fuel extraction, including fracking, unconventional oil extraction, tar sands mining, and mountain top removal. We have written organization and membership by-laws, secured nonprofit status from our mother organization OUE (Organizations United for the Environment), written and secured grant funding, recruited member organizations--all the things required to exist as a coalition.

But there's so much more--and more to do We have some of the most committed organizations and talented people in the movement to end extreme fossil fuel extraction. And they have offered these talents--writing, logo design presenting, research, protest orchestration--just to name a few, on their own time, at their own expense, with their own expertise.

Here's one example: we participated--and even had the opportunity to register one proxy vote--for the Democratic Party Moratorium into which Karen Feridun of Berks Gas Truth has put so much time and effort.

But while Shale Justice supports a moratorium, this is not because we think there needs to be "more study" to determine whether fracking is safe.

It's not.

We know it's not, and the moratorium is simply a strategy to buy us organizing time on the way to an outright ban.

Our message to the industry is: go home. Take your rigs, your derricks, your tankers, your chem-trucks, your reckless 'tudes, your money, and all of the rest of your shit, and just go home.

Then, do something else. Because until extreme extraction is banished from everywhere, we cannot disband. But unlike the BIg Greens, we don't exist just to pay our staffers either. We exist to actually accomplish something, and when that's done, we'll go home too.

As one of the founding members and executive committee members of Shale Justice, I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!! to everyone and every organization who has participated in making this coalition work. And to that end, I offer an incomplete, but entirely loving photo-montage of the first year of one of the fastest growing coalitions in Pennsylvania--and everywhere extreme extraction threatens ecological integrity and human rights.


What became the Shale Justice Coalition grew out of a first, wildly well-attended meeting at Bloomsburg University that included a number of organizations, including the Responsible Drilling Alliance (who, at that time, was considering a mission change to Reject Drilling Alliance) the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition (GDAC), and the Interfaith Sacred Earth Coalition, the Pennsylvania Green Party, and Marcellus Earth First--among a number of other groups and individuals.

The work of democracy is hard--but what has emerged from this effort is a coalition of genuine grass roots organizations committed to addressing the specific issues confronting their regions and communities--frack pads, pipeline, compressors, etc--with clear sites set on an eventual ban of all things fracking.

Since that time, we have grown to include a number of other organizations, including Gas Free Seneca, Berks Gas Truth, Fracking Free Ireland, and Frack Off UK among others. We have also forged relationships through the talents of our members with other grass roots organizations including the Climate Change Action Network fighting Dominion's plans to construct an export facility at at Cove Point, Maryland, the excellent activists who successfully thwarted a plan to construct a natural gas pipeline through the sensitive New Jersey Pine Barrens ( and the Stone Crab Alliance fighting the Dan A. Hughes Company plan to undertake unconventional oil drilling in the Western Everglades of Florida (.

We are honored to be of service to these splendiferous activists and organizations. And man-o-man, have we done some stuff and been some places! Just to give you an idea:

Here's Deirdre Lolley, Marcellus Earth First!, waiting in line to speak to the recently resigned CEO of EXCO, the beleaguered Doug Miller. We have been present at almost too many hearings to even count--everyone of them important. We have spoken out against legislation that would vitiate protections for endangered species, make waterways even more vulnerable to contamination, forfeit even more of the rights of communities and provate property owners, allow the industry to use acid mine drainage for frack fluids, make getting information about industry records more difficult--and so much more.

Shale Justice has also been supportive of our fellows from Milford Pennsylvania and the surrounding region fighting to prevent the construction of the Tennessee Pipeline. Indeed, it is our view that pipeline infrastructure is one of the most important front-lines of the anti-extraction movement. From Maine to New Jersey to Pennsylvania to Maryland to Louisiana to Texas to Florida--and everywhere else LNG export facilities are being planned, we say, this is a battleground we must not lose, and we are with you in your fight to prevent that forfeiture of vital ecology and human communities from transpiring--especially when the only beneficiaries are energy giants whose wallets are already fattened with money from the exploitation of your yards, your forests, your waterways, and your public treasures.

And we are simply awed by the work of the Delaware River Keepers, Protecting Our Waters, and the Clean Air Council. It's honestly hard to know where even to begin thanking the folks whose work this past year has been instrumental to this movement, but suffice it to say this much: the vast majority of the grass roots organizers, writers, photographers, and activist of this movement are women--as opposed to the mostly paid, mostly affluent, mostly white men of the Big Greens--like the woefully compromised Sierra Club. It's also impossible to name all of the women and men whose contributions have been so vital--but vital is the only word that describes this unpaid, brain-breaking, crucial labor.

Our members have spoken out at churches, photography exhibits, music concerts, films, Summer craft exhibits--anywhere that we can reach folks whose lives are likely to be impacted by extreme extraction--and, given climate change--that is everywhere. Here, for example, is Shale Justice member Rev. Leah Schade educating an ecumenical audience organized by Protecting Our Waters Iris Bloom in Philadelphia, March 2013.

Here's Gas Free Seneca's Yvonne Taylor (she's in the bright green coat) working to organize a freezing early March 2013 crowd inspired by the civil disobedience of Professor Sandra Steingrabber in Watkin's Glen New York in their struggle to prevent Inergy from utilizing salt caverns on Lake Seneca for LNG storage--a fight so far successful.

The excellent John Trallo, Shale Justice Executive Committee with members of Marcellus Earth First! in front of the Department of Environmental Protection offices in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Earth Day, April 22nd, 2013.

Sue Laidacker, Shale Justice Executive Committee, May 2013 at our nation's capital to support an action organized by Food and Water Watch in Maryland. We cannot really emphasize enough the importance of collective action across state borders, regions, class, ethnicity, religion. If ever there was a struggle in which we all have a stake, ending the monopoly of Big Gas is surely that struggle.

When you look into the faces of these citizens, you see old and young, white, black, the well-to-do, the economically marginalized, women and men--you see America--but also something more, a global ecology poised either to take the plunge into the chaos of global warming or turn back from the global disaster precipitated by forest fragmentation, water and air pollution, community displacement, disease borne of toxic exposure to carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neuro-toxins, and other agents--and war.

As I have put it now a thousand times: if we do not end extreme extraction, we will find ourselves at war over access to the remaining clean water that we destroyed to derive the fuel with which we power the weapons we will use to prosecute that war. And that threat is so real and so palpable, that Shale Justice has been right there with our many sister organizations and coalitions--even standing up to President Obama's pro-frack Big Gas bridge fuel argument.

Moreover, the struggle to end fracking expands to helping communities fight other polluting non-renewable energy sources, for example, the En-Tire tire burning power plant defeated in White Deer Township, Pennsylvania. We have recently joined forces with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF; to sponsor an incarnation of Democracy School at Susquehanna University, and to help empower communities to determine for themselves what is in the best interests of their residents.

The crowds are getting bigger. Consider this audience organized by a number of organizations, including the Shale Justice Coalition, over Anadarko's (Kerr McGee's) plans to frack the Loyalsock State Forest. And our commitments are getting deeper and more resolved. After all, Nelson Mandela didn't settle for a little apartheid. So why on earth should we settle for a little cancer? A little neurological damage? A little childhood asthma? There's no such thing as a little acceptable slavery--and there's no such thing as a little acceptable ecological destruction--not when the necessary conditions of life depend on the air and water the industry is content to destroy.

These examples are merely a sample of the work Shale Justice is crazy proud to have participated in over the past year. We are looking forward to a 2014 that grows our coalition. We now have a speaker's bureau, a wicked busy calendar of events, and a commitment that makes 2013 look like the baby steps of a toddler just learning how to walk.

This year, we're not just walking, we're charging into this struggle to end extreme fossil fuel extraction.

Our mission:


If your idea of a "special place" is the planet, and you'd like to participate in one of the most important and meaningful human rights and ecological stability movements of the 21st century, join us.

Happy First Anniversary Shale Justice!

Wendy Lynne Lee, Executive Committee
Shale Justice/

All photoographs, Wendy Lynne Lee:

Shale Justice Anniversary "It's Going to be a Gas!" Bash:

1 comment:

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

And here's the party pictures!