Paddle Against Petro, a Monday morning success!

Posted Jun 19, 2018, by Sarah Martik


“Kayactivists” from three states joined together for our first ever Paddle Against Petro. Members of organizations from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia took to the river to protest the Northeast US Petrochemical Construction conference taking place inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, with top executives from corporations like Shell and Chevron as well as Pennsylvania State SenatorCamera Bartolotta in attendance. Kayactivists were joined by some land lubbers who spoke about the effects the petrochemical buildout would have on their lives, from people living near proposed cracker plants in Beaver County, PA and Belmont County, OH to people living in areas where fracking will increase to meet the demands of plastics production in other areas of the world.

“Industry markets this as a mega-petrochemical hub game-changer for our states,” said Dustin White, project coordinator for Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) and resident of Charleston, WV. “In reality, this is a deadly game where out-of-state companies profit while the rest of us lose a chance at a healthier, more sustainable future.

“When it comes to the health and economy of our region, coal companies dug the graves, fracking companies built the casket and now petrochemical companies want to put the nails in the lid,” White added. “We deserve better than a continued legacy as a resource colony where workers and communities have to sacrifice themselves for profit.”

Check out the live stream below: 

More than 60 organizations have added their support to a sign-on letter that was sent out to leaders and legislators in three states. The sign-on letter campaign continues and may be used for the next petrochemical industry conference in the fall. Anyone wishing to add their individual name or the name of a new organization is encouraged to do so.

Here is the link to the organizational sign-on letter:


Here is the link to the individual sign-on letter:


Here is the link to the spreadsheet with organizations that have signed on so far:






  • Sarah Martik

    Sarah joined the CCJ team as a Community Organizer in 2017 after previous work in performing arts and foreign language education, and she has since moved into the role of Interim Executive Director. A resident of Coal Center, PA, she is excited to work on issues related to legacy coal mining and the connection between the Appalachian petrochemical buildout and increases in fracking in southwestern PA communities like hers. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy but often says that her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the California University of Pennsylvania has been more useful in her work than anything else (ask her why sometimes!). When she is not working, Sarah loves spending time with her niece and nephews and going on walks with her "fur kid" Lucy. Contact Sarah at smartik@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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