April 2023 Coalfield Review

Read our monthly e-newsletter, which will update you on our work, current action items, and upcoming events.

Our Work in the Past Month

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RGGI Funds Should Be Used to Help Transition Homer City Power Plant Workers

By Nina Victoria | April 26, 2023

In July 2022, Pennsylvania officially became a participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cap-and-trade market for carbon dioxide emissions. It requires the operators of fossil […]

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The New Freeport Fracking Incident Timeline and Updates

By Tonya Yoders | April 21, 2023

It has been almost a year since an EQT shale gas well interacted, or “communicated”, with a shallow abandoned well in New Freeport, PA. This resulted in fracking fluid spilling […]

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Opioid Settlement Update: Funds Coming into the State

By Paul Fedore | April 14, 2023

Last year, Governor Shapiro and his team were hard at work claiming opioid settlement money for the state and the rest of the country in his role as Attorney General. […]

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Public Notices

Read all of the latest relevant public notices from the past month for Washington and Greene Counties as of April 28th here.

Take Action

Donate Today to the New Freeport Water Drive

Since June 2022, residents of New Freeport in Greene County, PA have been without safe, reliable drinking water after a nearby EQT fracking operations interacted with a surface well. Residents have had to rely on expensive options like bottled water and refillable jugs for drinking and cooking and many continue to shower with unsafe water. They have reported rashes and oily residue after using the water, unpleasant odors, and tiny, black pellets in their faucets. This community has been awaiting answers and aid from EQT and the state for over ten months.

We have been supporting this community by delivering clean water to folks and need your help to continue doing so until there is a more permanent solution. Last Thursday, we delivered another 60 jugs of water to residents but we need you help to continue providing aid going forward. Donate as little as $5 to fund ongoing water deliveries and show your support for the people of New Freeport.

Sign Our Petition Regarding the Undermining of I-70

The mining company Tunnel Ridge has recently applied to expand their mining operations to go under stretches of Interstate 70 and Route 40 in Washington County. According to the PA Department of Transportation, in 2021 over 40,000 cars use these exact stretches of I-70 and Route 40 every day -- or 1.3 million vehicles per year! Since Tunnel Ridge began mining under I-70 in 2019, there have been lengthy cycles of construction zones and lane restrictions to repair mining-induced subsidence damage.  Generally speaking, these increase congestion and the risk of accidents on these highways.

Sign the petition asking the State Mining Commission to provide an opportunity for residents to share their concerns and respond to residents' comments within 90 days of the public meeting or the close of the public comment period.

The Municipal Primary Is May 16th!

The 2023 Municipal Primary is coming up next month: May 16th is the date to cast your vote. Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm. THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE IS TODAY, MAY 1ST, and the last day to request a mail-in or absentee ballot is May 9th. Visit our voter information blog from Field Coordinator Paul Fedore for all the resources and information you need to vote in this year’s primary!

In Case you Missed it

CCJ traveled far and wide this past month representing southwestern Pennsylvania communities at a wide range of events with various allies, campaigns, and coalitions.

March 26-30: Communications Manager Lisa DePaoli represented CCJ at the Break Free From Plastics Global Meeting in Hoi An, Vietnam to discuss the health and environmental impacts of plastic production, how “upstream” extraction of fracked gas in our area contributes to the worldwide plastics problem, and possible solutions - one of which is to stop unnecessary plastic production.


April 1: We hosted our March Community Meeting which took attendees across Washington and Greene Counties on our Fracking in the Coalfields Tour.


April 22: On Earth Day, Communications Associate Alex Downing joined our friends at the Center for Popular Democracy in Washington, DC to rally and march to the White House in a call to End the Fossil Fuel Era.


April 24-26Field Program Coordinator Paul Fedore and our new fellows Josie and Allie also joined the Center for Popular Democracy in DC to ask lawmakers for expanded Medicaid protections.


April 25Greene County Community Organizer Tonya Yoders (and former CCJ Executive Director Veronica Coptis) had the chance to speak at the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative in Cambridge, Massachusetts about the legacy of coal in our region and the importance of a just transition.

And finally, we wrapped up the month back in southwestern PA with our April Community Meeting on April 25th, the final Seed to Supper class of the year with Firefly Gardens and the Master Gardeners of Washington County on the 26th, and another drop off of 60 jugs of water at the New Freeport Fire Hall in Greene County on the 27th.

Lisa at BFFP
March Community Tour
CDP DC/Medicaid
Earth Day DC
MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative
2023 Seed to Supper
April Community Meeting
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Upcoming Events

Center for Coalfield Justice Events

5/28 — Kids Fishing Day at Dutch Fork Lake

May 28th is a statewide free fishing day when kids and adults can fish all day without a license. CCJ will be set up at the main parking lot by the boat launch at Dutch Fork Lake from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM to provide young beginners with free bait, lure and a fishing pole to keep! We’ll be joined by Buffalo Creek Watershed Association as part of our efforts to highlight and protect Dutch Fork Lake. Poles and supplies are first come, first served for kids of all ages, so please register all family members today so we can try to have enough for everyone to enjoy a Sunday afternoon fishing on the lake!

6/24 — DRYerson 2023

We invite you to join us for food, games, prizes, and community at our 17th annual DRYerson festival on Saturday, June 24th at 1 pm! The DRYerson Festival at Ryerson Station State Park is a yearly festival celebrating the natural beauty of Greene County's only state park while  also bringing awareness to the past and current environmental struggles there. The event is free for attendees of all ages. There will be live music by Dan Baker, free food, snow cones, cotton candy, free shirts for kids to tie-dye, and for a nominal donation adults can get a t-shirt of their own to tie-dye!

Ally and Community Events

5/6 — Running of the Wools

  • 9:30AM - 4PM in Downtown Washington

  • The “Running of the Wools” is a new event being held in downtown Washington, PA, where local farmers take their sheep to Main Street to compete for bragging rights as the fastest sheep in Washington County. The event features a full weekend of activities ranging from a breakfast crawl, vendors and farm artisans, refreshments, contests, and of course, sheep races.

  • More Info

5/19 — Monongahela River Cleanup

  • 4:30PM - 7:30PM at 65 Washington St., Donora, PA

  • Join the Donora Historical Society & Smog Museum, Allegheny Cleanways, Three Rivers WaterKeeper and GASP for a cleanup event on the Mon River. It has been 75 years since the 1948 Donora Smog Disaster. This cleanup will be the kickoff for a series of events hosted by the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum to mark the anniversary and remember the victims.

  • Sign Up Here

5/21 — Common Sense Summit

  • 5PM on Facebook Live

  • Join River Valley Organizing and United for East Palestine for a wide-ranging discussion about train derailments, chemical pollution, a lack of government oversight, and a path towards a clean, safe future.

  • RSVP Here

6/3 — Native Plant Sale

  • 9AM - Noon at The Hill Henderson Civic Center
  • Penn State Extension Master Gardeners of Washington County will have OVER 2,000 native plants PLUS 72 native tree/shrub seedlings available for sale.

  • Learn More

6/10 — Washington Pride

  • 12 - 9PM at Main Street Pavilion

  • The Washington County Gay Straight Alliance hosts its 2nd Annual Pride Day after last year’s successful kickoff event. CCJ will be in attendance with dozens of other vendors, businesses and nonprofits. Come say hi!

  • Learn More

6/24 — Living Near Shale Gas - Community Workshop

Weekly Events

Tuesdays & Saturdays - Greene County Flea Market

Wednesdays (starting 5/17) — Waynesburg Farmer’s Market

Fridays (starting 6/2) — Monongahela Farmer’s Market

3 - 6PM at Chess Park

Second Saturday Monthly — Free Food Pantry

9 AM - 12 PM at Lemoyne Center

You can find community events in Washington County here and Greene County here.

Support Our Work

We could not do this work without the continued support of our members and supporters. Please help us to continue our work to fight for environmental justice in Southwestern Pennsylvania by becoming a member of CCJ. Recurring monthly donations help to best support our work. Any gift made to the Center for Coalfield Justice is 100% tax-deductible.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns by responding to this email or reaching me at the email below.


Alex Downing

Alex Downing

Communications Associate


  • Alex Downing

    Alex Downing is the Digital Communications Strategist for CCJ. He was previously our Communications Associate and an Outreach Fellow. He manages all of our social media and writes our monthly newsletter, the Coalfield Review. Alex was born and raised in Pittsburgh's north suburbs and learned about the importance of nature and conservation at a young age through his father and grandfather’s involvement with preserving parks and hiking trails in the area. He has a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications from American University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Point Park University. Alex currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his partner Lindsey. Outside of work, he enjoys kayaking, watching movies, and rooting for the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. Contact Alex at alex@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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