As we enter this holiday season, please consider a year-end gift to the Center for Coalfield Justice to support our work in 2018. This past year has been full of precedent-setting victories, transition, and growth. Veronica Coptis, our longtime organizer and a lifelong resident of Greene County became our Executive Director and we welcomed Sarah Martik, a new organizer whose family has lived in Washington County for generations. Our board has also grown with more diverse voices and backgrounds better representing the communities we work with.
Most exciting this year, our legal and organizing efforts to protect streams in Ryerson Station State Park have prevented those streams from being destroyed TWICE. The legal win set a new Pennsylvania precedent making it illegal for a coal mining company to get away with trying to simply build a new stream once the original stream is destroyed.
Our growing power has been noticed by the coal industry. They’ve placed several billboards across the region negatively targeting our organization. This means we are winning! The coal industry is afraid of the power we are building in with rural communities who are standing up for their rights even with the risks that are associated.
Other 2017 highlights include:
- Pushed the DEP Office of Environmental Justice to hold listening sessions across the state to start improving their environmental justice policies.
- The DEP Secretary, DCNR Secretary, and Governor’s Office visited Ryerson Station State Park to see the impacts from longwall coal mining and hear from community members.
- Held an action day in Harrisburg to advocate against gutting protections for streams impacted by coal mining.
- Hosted four organizing trainings to build the skills of people living on the frontlines.
- Helped plan and present at the Climate Reality Project, Society for Environmental Journalism, and People vs Oil and Gas conferences.
- Profiled in the New Yorker and other major media outlets.
- Provided over 20 Fracking in the Coalfields Tours.
- Organized a bus from Washington County to the People’s Climate March in Washington DC.
Our work is only possible because of donations and support from you. Next year, our access to clean water, clean air, and stronger economies will continue to be under attack by the coal industry and out of touch government leaders.
In response, the Center for Coalfield Justice will be ramping up our work by building more leaders and collective rural power in Washington and Greene Counties in order to secure a healthy environment and thriving communities.
Veronica, the Sarahs and our Board of Directors