Buffalo Creek Watershed Association to Hold a Fish Electroshocking Event

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The Buffalo Creek Watershed Association (BCWA) will be hosting a Fish Shocking at Santiago Sportsman Club on Thursday, September 12th.  The location is 749 Lake Road, Claysville, PA, and the event will begin at 5:30 p.m.  Mr. Greg Schaetzle from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy will be conducting the fish shocking.  

Fish electroshocking is a great experience for young folks, anglers, and others to see what species of fish, and approximately how many of them, live in our local streams.  The process may sound harmful, but the fish are only momentarily stunned. The shocking allows observers to see the diversity of fish populations in streams and offers a great opportunity to see them up close!  

This is an exciting opportunity for local residents to come out and interact with a local watershed group and to learn about the local environment and wildlife. There will also be light refreshments and snacks.  Please come and join us!  

Thanks for a Great Member Meeting!


Our July member and supporter meeting was well attended, with plenty food and good conversation. Thank you to all who came; we enjoyed seeing and talking with each one of you! During the meeting, we heard from Garrett Hoover, a graduate student in biology at West Liberty University who is helping us with water monitoring. We also watched a short film on environmental justice, including how it’s tied into other forms of justice and how we can accomplish big, important things when we work together! The post-film discussion was inspiring!

At CCJ, we’re always working to find ways to empower, educate, organize, and advocate for people in the communities we serve, and we look forward to seeing and talking with you soon. We will be tabling at the Washington County Fair in Building 1 all this week. Stop and see us if you can!  Also, don’t forget to add the date of our next meeting to your calendar: August 27th from 6-8 p.m.!

Join PA House Representatives Town Halls

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People represented by PA House Representative Puskaric (District 39) and Representative Jason Ortitay (District 46) should be aware of two upcoming public town halls recently scheduled for next week. If you are unsure what district you reside in, click here. 

CCJ seeks to empower and encourage the residents of those communities to attend these town halls and bring forth questions to their elected officials regarding the health impacts of petrochemical development as well as increased oil and gas development. Although inquiries have been made to increase national research on Ewings Sarcoma, little has been said about the health impacts of the petrochemical development and oil and gas development that is increasing in our communities right now.

In addition, increasing the minimum wage is currently being debated in the state legislature and folks should press these legislators to increase the wage for hard-working Pennsylvanians and to support labor unions in their fight to create and maintain safe, good jobs for the people in our region. 

For the Residents of PA House District 39-

Representative Michael J. Puskaric, PA House District 39, serving parts of Washington and Allegheny Counties, will be holding a public town hall at the Somerset Township Satellite Office, 615 Vanceville Road, Eighty-Four, PA 15330, on Monday, August 5, 2019, at 12:00 PM. CCJ encourages residents to attend. Representative Puskaric serves on the Education, Insurance, and Labor and Industry Committees. He is also the Chairperson for the Commerce Subcommittee on Housing. 

To learn more about the legislation Rep. Puskaric has sponsored and cosponsored, visit his biography here from the PA State Legislature’s website. 

Given that Representative Puskaric is holding his town hall at noon on August 5th, many working Pennsylvanian’s may be unable to attend. Folks unable to attend should use this online form to send a comment to the legislator’s office or call them directly at 412-382-2009. 

For the Residents of PA House District 46- 

Representative Jason Ortitay of PA House District 46, serving parts of Washington and Allegheny Counties, will be holding a public town hall at the Canton Township Municipal Buildin, 1265 W Chestnut St., Washington, PA 15301, on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 at 7:00 PM. CCJ encourages residents to attend.  Representative Ortitay serves on the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee as well as the Gaming Oversight Committee. In addition, he is the chairperson for both the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and the Education Subcommittee on Higher Education. 

To learn more about the legislation Rep. Ortitay has sponsored and cosponsored follow this link to the PA Legislature’s official website. 

For more information regarding these Town Halls, prepping questions for legislators, or to get connected to CCJ, feel free to reach out to us at 724-229-3550, for Nick Hood ext. 104 or and for Heaven Sensky ext. 103 or 

Join Us for our Monthly Meeting on July 30th!

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Please join us for our monthly meeting for members and supporters (that's you!) on July 30th. You are the center of our work; without you, we wouldn’t exist. We want to engage more directly in person with you, and so we are offering more frequent member meetings than we were able to offer in the past. 

Come to the office of the Center for Coalfield Justice at 14 East Beau Street in Washington, PA*, on July 30th from 6:00-8:00 PM. We will be offering potluck dishes (feel free to bring your own!) and showing a short film about climate and environmental justice starting at 6:30 PM, after which we’ll have a brief discussion and conversation.

 If you're coming, kindly let us know on our Facebook page for the event. You can also advise us there if you’re bringing a contribution to the potluck. Alternatively, give us a call at 724-229-3550.

 You’ll also be able to learn about our current work and volunteer opportunities, as well as share with us your ideas about the direction of CCJ. 

 Our communities are the heart of our organization, and we are focused on organizing, educating, and advocating with you. We really look forward to seeing you on July 30th! 

*Accessible entrance to the Center for Coalfield Justice Office is through the Washington Trust Building on 6 N Main St, Washington, PA 15301. Once entering the building use the elevator to go to the basement level, turn left out of the elevator, and go down the hallway. Our office is through the steel doors on your left. (Please let us know if you will be using this entrance)

Thanks for a Great DRYerson Festival!

On Saturday, June 22nd, the staff of the Center for Coalfield Justice held its 13th Annual DRYerson Festival at Ryerson Station State Park. About 100 community members attended the festival and enjoyed the park, the beautiful afternoon, conversation and community, food, door prizes, snow cones and cotton candy, and great music from Bree Otto! We enjoyed seeing each and every one of you! Thank you for coming out! 


The date of this DRYerson Festival marked the 25th anniversary of when Act 54 was passed. For 25 days leading up to the festival, we posted a fact each day on Facebook relating to Act 54. This Act was intended to protect water resources and structures against mine subsidence damage; extend the obligation of coal companies to pay for the damage they cause to homes, land, and businesses; and to enforce greater transparency regarding the impacts of mining. Under Act 54, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) must compile data and give it to a third-party source (researchers at the University of Pittsburgh) who produce a report every five years showing the effects of underground mining on land, structures, and water sources. The most recent report was released in August of 2014, regarding the years from 2008-2013. The report regarding 2013-2018 will be released at the end of August of 2019. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 763, which has been referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, would significantly weaken these protections. We are monitoring this bill and others and will share additional updates and send action alerts as needed.

We are also monitoring the streams in Ryerson (Kent Run, Polen Run, and North Fork Dunkard Fork) and are prepared to take any enforcement action if they experience significant damage that is not promptly restored. Two representatives of CCJ also serve on the Re-envision Ryerson Task Forces and have advocated for the state to be more clear about the timeline and process for improvement projects at the Park. There is another task force meeting scheduled for August and we will share an update afterwards.

Thanks to all of our members and supporters, who help us to continue the work that we do for environmental justice for our communities, and thank you to all of our volunteers for the hard work. We’ll look forward to doing this again next year!

CCJ Organizer Attends Frontline Oil and Gas Summit led by Indigenous Leaders

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The Frontline Oil and Gas Summit took place May 16th through the 18th in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The conference was held in the epicenter of oil and gas development in the battleground state of Oklahoma, only miles from ConocoPhillips 66 massive refinery, and surrounded by fracking operations as far as the eye could see. The conference was led by an Indigenous Ponca Nation elder, Casey Camp-Horinek.

The summit honored the idea that “Environmental Justice means always standing with frontline communities most impacted—and recognizing that the center of the storm is often where innovation and courage meet to propel our movements forward.  We neglect organizing in “sacrifice communities” to the detriment of our movement for meaningful change.”

Casey is a tribal leader within the Ponca Nation, in addition to a movement leader for environmental justice across the entire world. The conference welcomed 160 organizers and activists, 75% of which were living on the frontlines of oil and gas development, including CCJ Organizer Heaven Sensky. Participants spent three days sharing their personal stories with one another and building solidarity across oil and gas frontlines all across the United States, including Alaska. Over the sharing of meals and traditional Ponca ceremonies, participants gained immense power by coming together in support of one another’s work across their widespread places of home.

Casey brought together her immediate and extended family to provide meals and comfort for the guests of the Ponca Nation, who got to share much needed joy from several of her grandchildren as they shared blessed water and laughter with all in attendance.

On the last day of the conference, the Ponca Nation led the summit in a march past the ConocoPhillips 66 refinery to a billboard newly erected by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) foundation. The billboard is part of a larger effort to improve policy and increase awareness around the staggering epidemic that is the murder and trafficking of indigenous women across the United States. The MMIW works in Ponca specifically because the presence of work “man camps” in places of high oil and gas activity is a direct threat to the safety and well being of indigenous women.

As the march passed the refinery, Casey’s son, Mikasi, shared with all of those who participated that their community is ravaged with childhood cancers and increased asthma. Given its closeness to the refinery, specifically within 12 miles, the soil on their entire reservation is legally considered contaminated and unsafe to farm and eat from.

What is happening to the native Ponca Nation of Oklahoma as a result of oil and gas development resonates directly with the multifaceted issues surrounding oil and gas development  in the coalfields of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

For more information about the conference, visit

To learn how to support the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Organization, visit

For any questions or to learn more about supporting others in their fight to protect their communities, you can email Heaven at

Our 13th Annual DRYerson Festival is Just One Month Away!

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We can’t wait to see all of your friendly faces on June 22nd at Ryerson Station State Park! DRYerson is a very special event for us, as much of our work has focused on defending and protecting this beautiful and important piece of Greene County - and its only state park - so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come!

Please join us in Pavilion #2 of the Park, beginning at 1 p.m. A map of the park and its general location can be found here. Check in at the registration table when you arrive to be entered in the drawings for door prizes!

There will be live entertainment with the lovely and talented Bree Otto, and fun and games for both adults and kids.

We will be serving picnic- and cookout-style food and drinks, including snow cones and cotton candy! Reusable foodservice will be provided by Our Children Our Earth: Toys, Silks & Eco-Goods so that we can avoid as much waste as possible.

As you can see on this map, there are numerous hiking trails. Feel free to explore the park while you’re there. You can even bring your furkids, but kindly bring them on leashes so that they don’t disturb other attendees.

Let us know you are coming to the event by registering on this page. Call us at the office (724-229-3550) if you would like to volunteer or want to know more about the event! We hope to see all of you there! Also, stay connected to other event plans at our Facebook event page!

Join Us for CCJ's May Open House


Each month, the staff of the Center for Coalfield Justice looks forward to hosting our CCJ Community Open House because you - our members and supporters - are the heart of our organization. You are why CCJ exist, and you help to guide our plans and actions.

At last month’s meeting, Veronica Coptis, our Executive Director, presented on the history of CCJ and how we approach working with communities. This month, Nick Hood, one of our community organizers, is going to present our new Fracking in the Coalfields Virtual Tour! This tour has been quite a while in the making, and we look forward to watching it with you and hearing your thoughts and comments.

CCJ’s Community Open House is held on the last Tuesday of each month in our office from 6-8 p.m. This month, the date is May 28th, and CCJ will be providing sandwiches and drinks. Any other contributions of food or drink are welcome!

For the month of May, we are making an additional ask of our members and supporters: please bring some nonperishables for the Waynesburg Food Bank, the Corner Cupboard, who has generously agreed to host one of our Economic Workshops in Greene County on June 11th.

If you’re able to join us, please let us know by emailing or calling Lisa DePaoli, our Outreach Coordinator, at or 724-229-3550 ext 101 or commenting on the Facebook event page. As always, our meetings are held in our office at 14 E. Beau Street, Washington, PA.

We look forward to seeing you!

Save the Date for the 13th Annual DRYerson Festival!


Spend the afternoon with the Center for Coalfield Justice and your neighbors and friends  as we celebrate the progress we’ve made in our fight to protect Ryerson Station State Park. The 13th annual DRYerson Festival will be held on Saturday, June 22nd from 1-4 PM at Pavilion 2 in the Park. This year’s celebration will feature live music from Bree Otto (you loved her last year, and so she’s back), games (with prizes), a soaking-wet-sponge toss (all the fun of water balloons with no waste), and other fun surprises! The festival is pet-friendly, and our staff highly encourages you to bring your pooch on a leash (or a cat if your cat will let you put a leash on him/her) to join in on the festivities! Summer classics like hot dogs, pasta salad, and watermelon will be offered throughout the day, but this year we’ll also be serving summertime fun in the form of snow cones and cotton candy. Again this year, in order to speak to our values and support another one of our campaigns, we will limit our use of plastic, so we will have reusable plates, cups, and utensils provided by Our Children Our Earth: Toys, Silks, and Eco-Goods. Worried that you’ll only be able to make it for a brief time? Fear not - we’ll have door prize drawings throughout the Festival for everyone who checks in at the registration table!

Let us know you are coming to event by registering here. Call us at the office (724-229-3550) if you want to volunteer or want to know more about the event! We hope to see all your friendly faces there!