“Fracking vs. Riverdale Mobile Home Park”, A BURN Photo Essay by Lynn Johnson
Residents say the Riverdale Mobile Home Park near Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania was truly a community. People watched each other’s children.
When the property was sold in February 2012 to a company that provides water to the shale gas industry, residents’ leases were terminated, and they had to pay to move their homes to new locations. Some organized and vowed to keep their community.
Deb Eck, with her twin daughters, works long hours managing a retail store. She became a reluctant movement leader.
The kids at Riverdale witnessed their village being emptied, and they absorbed the increasingly tense efforts to keep it intact.
Many community meetings were held at this site after the trailer home was removed.
Eric and April Daniels are former residents of Riverdale who set up a tent on the site to show solidarity with their neighbors. Eric hauls contaminated frack water 12 hours a day to Ohio and back.
As residents were forced to evacuate Riverdale, some stripped valuables such as aluminum siding from their trailers that they could not afford to moved.
As some residents fought their dislocation, they got lessons in civil disobedience from local and regional organizers.
When residents and organizers blocked company access to the park, the new owners, Aqua America and Penn Virginia Resources, brought in their own security team.
Professor Wendy Lynne Lee is a Bloomsburg University environmental philosophy professor. Here she confronts a security man who was documenting organizers’ license plates.
The new owners erected chain link fencing for what was becoming adisputed construction zone. The fence separated the residents who remained from those who had become their advocates.
Finally, resident and movement leader Deb Eck made the decision to move.
By mid-June 2012, the last families left Riverdale Mobile Home Park.
With their trailer moved to a nearby mobile home community, Deb Eck and her daughters cannot escape fracking: there’s a well just over the ridge, and the trucks are up and down her small road constantly.