“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 who couldn’t afford to move their trailers were forced to evacuate Riverdale, some stripped their former homes of valuables, such as the aluminum siding.
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.
Wendy Lynne Lee, a professor of environmental philosophy at Bloomsburg University, confronts a security man who was documenting organizers’ license plates.
The new owners erected chain link fencing around what was becoming a disputed construction zone. The fence residents who remained separated 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 still cannot escape fracking: there’s a well just over the ridge, and there’s constant truck traffic on her narrow road.