Collateral Damage in the Marcellus Shale

Collateral Damage in the Marcellus Shale

by Walter M. Brasch
     
 

In February 2012, the 32 families living in the Riverdale Mobile Home Village, Jersey Shore, Pa., were evicted from their homes. For most residents, it was their permanent home; many lived there, in a well-kept village, for two or three decades. Many were elderly or disabled; most were living not far above the poverty line.

Aqua America, which had earned about $711

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Overview

In February 2012, the 32 families living in the Riverdale Mobile Home Village, Jersey Shore, Pa., were evicted from their homes. For most residents, it was their permanent home; many lived there, in a well-kept village, for two or three decades. Many were elderly or disabled; most were living not far above the poverty line.

Aqua America, which had earned about $711 million in revenue the previous year, bought the 12.5 acres for about $550,000 in order to build a water pumping station. Aqua's purpose would be to collect up to three million gallons a day from the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and send it to companies that were fracking the state for natural gas.

Aqua had originally ordered the residents to leave by May 1, but then extended it to the end of the month. It dangled a $2,500 relocation allowance in its eviction. However, the cost to move a trailer to another park is $6,000-$11,000, plus extra for skirting, sheds, porches, and any handicap-accessible external ramps.

About a third of the trailers, because of their age, could not be moved. An additional problem was a lack of housing. Trailer courts were filled or not accepting older trailers; apartments were filled. The reason was the temporary boom in shale gas drilling-landlords were charging three and four times their normal rent to the influx of workers from Texas, Oklahoma, and other states. For the Riverdale residents, most of whom owned their own homes and paid a $200 a month lot rental fee, it just wasn't possible to now pay as much as $1,500 a month for an apartment that was smaller than their mobile home.

For two weeks, residents and environmental activists blockaded the village, trying to draw attention to the forced evictions, and raise the consciousness of the community. Much of that larger community, however, benefitted from the fracking industry, and were vocal in condemning the residents and the activists.

The protest finally ended in mid-June 2012 when the new owner authorized State Police to intervene.

This is the story not just of 32 families, their lives and their struggles, but also of numerous social issues that developed because of fracking.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780942991215
Publisher:
Spectrum Publishers
Publication date:
09/01/2013
Pages:
58
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.12(d)

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