RSVP: Action Camp RSVP Form
On the evening of November 18th, nearly 200 Athens County Residents, ranging in age from two to ninety-three, gathered at the Athens Community Center to publicly shame Forest Service and BLM officials who are yet again proposing to open the Wayne National Forest for Fracking. A similar plan was proposed in 2011, but the community blowback against that plan stopped it dead in its tracks.
At Wednesday night’s meeting, the feeling in the room was one of frustration and deja vu, as participants were asked to mill about from table to table in a crowded room where accountability and legitimate information from officials was an impossibility. At one point, Tony Scardinia, Wayne National Forest Supervisor addressed the crowd, confirming that he would not take questions in a public hearing format, but only informally in a one-on-one format. As he spoke, many members of the crowd held up signs that read “NO CONSENT”.
Fed up, one woman finally addressed Scardinia directly, saying, “You say you are here to answer our questions, but we only have one question. What part of No don’t you understand?” Another woman, visibly pregnant (A recent Johns Hopkins study has made the link between fracking and birth defects), said, “I feel like we were just here. In 2012, they tried to frack the Wayne. What did we say?” The crowd responded loudly, “WE SAID NO!”. One man dumped a stack of petitions at the feet of Scardinia, saying “1300 signatures, and they all say no!” The crowd took up cries of “WE SAY NO! WE SAY NO!” and “WE ARE NOT A DUMPING GROUND! DON’T FRACK THE WAYNE!” as they let loose with a cavalcade of paper airplanes flying towards Scardinia. The paper airplanes read “Don’t Frack the Wayne”.
Soon after that, the Forest Service and BLM shut down the event, ending it at least an hour before the scheduled end time of 8:30.
]Adding to the tension was the heavy law enforcement presence, which many attendees objected to as the event was billed as open and welcoming to the public. Though none of the protestors were violent, as the BLM shut down the meeting, one law enforcement officer used his baton to shove people to the door, sparking public outcry.
It should be noted that there were eight counter-protesters there, compared to the nearly 200 community members there to vocally oppose fracking. At least one of the counter protestors was paid to be there by the oil and gas industry.
Appalachia Resist! is sponsoring an organizers training taught by Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival. RAMPS is a non-violent direct action campaign based in the southern coal fields of West Virginia
9:00-10:00 Welcome/Morning Circle
10:00-11:30 Ready Response Brigade Basic Training Want to get a call when an action is happening? Being on this list means that you’ll be alerted to actions that are happening to fight fracking and injection wells in our region, so that you can have the chance to show up and support these actions if you can. This workshop will include more information on the ready response brigade, the basics of non-violent direct action protest etiquette, and a bit about your legal rights at a protest. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the security culture workshop to fully understand why not all actions are advertised ahead of time and to learn how to participate in security culture.
11:30-12:30 Security Culture Do you ever wonder why some protests are publicly advertised, while sometimes you don’t hear about an action until it’s already happening? Learn why and when sharing action information on a need-to-know basis can help make actions more effective. This workshop is about security measures activists can take to protect ourselves and keep the element of surprise when necessary. It will also help explain how to support and participate in actions in a safe and secure way, even when you may not know all the details ahead of time!
12:30-1:30 Lunch provided by Appalachia Resist!
1:30-3:00 How to Form your Own Action Group The more groups we have working on plugging the injection wells and stopping fracking the better! Learn how to form you own action-planning group with people you trust and enjoy working with, so that you can utilize the tactics and strategies you care most about. This workshop will include an intro to running a group with consensus so that everyone gets to be a full participant.
3:00-4:30 How to Plan an Action The nuts and bolts of how to plan an action, including time frames, roles that need filling, media, and other considerations. Will also include direct action success stories.
4:30-5:00 Debrief/Next Steps
To RSVP and for more information email: email@example.com.. Donations will be welcome to help us cover expenses, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please let us know a week in advance if you need childcare.
Pretrial Wednesday July 16th at 8 am
Supporters are welcome to attend the pretrial to lend support to Crissa Cummings, who was charged with criminal trespass for chaining shut the gates at K&H Partners injection well in Torch, Ohio on June 5th. The pretrial will take place on the 2nd floor of the Athens Municipal Courthouse, 8 E Washington St #201, Athens, OH 45701
TORCH, OHIO – An Athens County resident has barricaded the gates of a frack-waste transfer station near the rest area off of HWY 50. No trucks can enter or leave the site, and K&H injection well operations are effectively stopped for the business day. Crissa Cummings, age 42 of Millfield has locked herself to the gate, charging that the recently drilled K&H 2 injection well is operating unsafely. Cummings noted that ODNR reports show that more than 12 tons of contaminated soil and water have been removed from the site since January, and that 410 feet of cement casing has been lost down the injection well shaft, signifying a potentially dangerous situation. “In light of the recent studies that have linked fracking chemicals to birth defects, I feel sick when I think about all the babies and the pregnant friends that were protesting at this site in February, a couple of weeks after the brine spill,” says Cummings.
A banner has been placed over the gates that reads “12 TONS OF SOIL AND WATER CONTAMINATED. K&H2 NOT SAFE”. Supporters wearing white hazmat style suits and ventilator masks are gathering, holding signs and chanting. Cummings herself is wearing a ventilator, noting that at least 4 workers have died since 2010 from exposure to frack waste, which contains high rates of benzene and other chemicals that can sicken people and be fatal when inhaled. Cummings says, “When a community says it does not want injection wells because we don’t believe they are safe, and our public servants ignore the desires of the public and our locally elected officials, the only recourse left to us is to use our bodies to stop the toxic frack waste from being injected into these dangerous wells.”
Peggy Gish, 71, who was an organic farmer in Athens County for more than 30 years, sits alongside Crissa occupying the space in front of the gate. Gish also plans to remain as long as possible. Of her action, Gish says, “I do this because I care about the health and safety of the people living in this region and for future generations who also want clean water, air, and land. Energy companies should not be allowed to make huge profits at the expense of the health and safety of the local people.”
8 people were arrested at this same location earlier this year for protesting the injection of radioactive toxic fracking waste in Athens County, after the ODNR ignored hundreds of public comments as well as the objections of the Athens County Commissioners,.
Through a records request, community members have found ODNR reports showing that in January 2014, the drill rig at the K&H 2 unexpectedly hit saltwater and gas. When the pit overflowed with the fluid, a nearby creek was contaminated. After well operators initially attempted to build a containment wall with the contaminated soil, the company was told to remove up to 20 tons of contaminated soil and water.
Also during January, ODNR reports show that approximately 410 feet (or 200 bags) of cement disappeared down the well shaft during well construction. Though this signifies probable cracks and fissures in the surrounding rock into which the cement may be leaking, neither K&H Partners nor ODNR has completed an adequate follow up investigation.
The local community, including the Athens County commissioners, has repeatedly called for proper seismic testing and geologic characterization at the K&H site. The ODNR has ignored these demands. Now, the accidental spill, coupled with the enormous loss of cement brings up serious concerns about possible contamination of the aquifer. ACFAN and Appalachia Resist! have recently submitted a complaint about the K&H 2 to the federal EPA, charging that the problems and the conduct at the K&H 2 site constitute violations of Ohio Revised Codes 1501:9-1-07, and 1501:9-1-08, which concern prevention of contamination, and safety of well construction, as well as a violation of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
Crissa and Peggy held the space and stopped injection well operations for most of the business day. Crissa was charged with trespassing and released on her own recognizance. Her arraignment and support rally are scheduled for 9am tomorrow (Friday June 6th) at the City Building in Athens. Please stay tuned to our YouTube Channel for videos of today’s action currently being uploaded.
UPDATE: Friday June 6, 3PM
Crissa was arraigned and the pre-trial was set for Monday June 19th at 8am. Feel free to join us to rally in her support. See also, NBC4’s coverage of yesterday’s action here. As well as the print media coverage from the AthensNEWS, The Athens Messenger, and the Akron Beacon Journal.
K&H 2 Frack Waste Injection Well: Not Safe!
12 Tons of Contaminated Soil and Water:
400 Feet of Missing Cement:
Athens community members and the Athens County Commissioners called repeatedly for proper seismic and geologic testing to be done before the K&H 2 was drilled. Such testing was never done. Now, the loss of so much cement down the well shaft, coupled with the recent spill, and the accidental hitting drilling into saltwater and gas indicates dangerous problems with this well. If the well is leaking, the aquifer could become contaminated. Groundwater contamination, especially from frack waste, is very difficult if not impossible to address and can destroy underground sources of drinking.
Frack Waste Injection Wells: Not Safe!
Fracking Chemicals and Birth Defects:
Call the ODNR!
Chief of Oil and Gas Division: Rick Simmers: 614 265 6922
Underground Injection Control: Tom Tomastik: 614 265 1032
Demand that the ODNR:
Athens County residents do not stand to benefit from injection wells. They do not bring jobs or economic gains. However, while we have nothing to gain from these wells, we have everything to lose: These wells pose a threat to our water, our air, and the lives and health of our families and our children.
More information about frack waste injection wells:
To find out how to get involved in stopping injection wells in our community, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org