July 2023 Newsletter

Posted Jul 26, 2023, by Alex Downing

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In case you missed it

Reflections on the Small Town Summit, A Gathering of Rural Organizers From Across the Country.

Earlier this summer, our organizers Tonya Yoders and Jodi Borello attended the Small Town Summit in Missoula, Montana. The summit brought together over 200 organizers from 25 states to share their experiences and guide their work shifting narratives in rural communities. Jodi said of one session focused on storytelling, “I learned the importance of telling your own personal story to gain trust with your neighbors. This also helps them to have the courage to stand up and advocate for themselves.” Tonya reflected on the whole experience, saying "It was very valuable, insightful, emotional, and felt like we were growing a community of people all across the country of like-minded folks with big hearts who want to make things better for everyone.”

Read the full recap of the summit here!


Take Action

Washington Co Comprehensive Plan Comment Deadline (Facebook Event Cover)

Make Your Voice Heard - Comment on the Washington County Comprehensive Plan

Washington County recently held a public meeting to discuss the proposed Comprehensive Plan. The plan sets the county’s economic, social, and development goals for the next five years. Those goals inform policy around land use, housing, infrastructure, natural resources, and more. You can read our organizer Paul Fedore and Fellow Josie Tarquinio’s recap and reflections of the meeting here. The plan is currently in draft form and can be viewed on the county's Comprehensive Plan website.

Washington County residents are encouraged to submit comments about what they do and do not like in the plan. 

The 45-day comment period ends on August 9th. You can direct any comments or questions to the Planning Commission at 724-228-6811 or theakstj@co.washington.pa.us. If you would like to submit a comment and need help doing so, please reach out to our Field Program Coordinator Paul at 412-229-7333 or paul@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

Donate Today to the New Freeport Water Drive

For over a year, residents of New Freeport in Greene County, PA have been without safe, reliable drinking water after a nearby EQT fracking operation 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 specks in the water coming from their faucets. This community has been awaiting answers and aid from EQT and the state for over a year.

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. Donate as little as $5 to fund our water drive for ongoing water deliveries in New Freeport.

Public Notices

Read all of the latest relevant public notices from the past month for Washington and Greene Counties as of August 25th here.

Upcoming Events

8/8 — JUST ANNOUNCED: PA Health and Environment Study Results Public Meeting and Community Debrief & Healing Space

The University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are holding a public meeting at PennWest California University in the Natali Student Center on August 15th from 6-7:30 PM. At the meeting, they will release the findings of the PA Health and Environment Studies in Southwest Pennsylvania, a series of studies conducted by Governor Wolf's administration following months of advocacy by CCJ and impacted families across the region. These studies looked at the prevalence of rare childhood cancers, asthma, and low birth weights in proximity to fracking in Southwestern, Pennsylvania. You can find more information about the meeting here.

MAD-FACTS will be hosting a debrief & healing space following the public meeting at the nearby California Methodist Church to discuss the results and be with one another to process what we learn. There will be refreshments available. If childcare, transportation, or financing is a barrier to you or someone you know to attend either the meeting or debrief, please let us know and we will accommodate you.

8/23 — MAD FACTS: Moms & Dads - Family Awareness of Cancer Threat Spike

MAD-FACTS will be meeting for their next monthly meeting of parents and residents from around the region who are concerned about health impacts of oil and gas development. This month, we’ll be joined by Kristina Marusic, an award-winning journalist with Environmental Health News and author of A New War on Cancer: The Unlikely Heroes Revolutionizing Prevention. She'll be discussing the stories of some of the remarkable doctors, scientists, and advocates who are upending our understanding of cancer and how to fight it. The meeting will take place August 23rd at 6:30 at North Strabane Park’s McDowell Pavilion in Canonsburg.

2023 Harvest Festival Cover

9/9 — Harvest Festival

Coming up one week from Saturday is our 2nd annual Fall Harvest Festival! Join us on September 9th from 2-6:00 PM at Mingo Creek County Park - Shelter #1. Bring your excess harvest to share, swap seeds from your garden with neighbors, enjoy free games and kids activities, and connect with community members around a bonfire as we celebrate the start of the fall season together. CCJ will be providing brats, hotdogs, and drinks and we are asking community members to bring potluck style sides. Plus, bring along camping chairs or blankets to cozy up around the fire or hang by the creek. This event is free for all ages and leashed dogs are welcomed, too!

Ally & Community Events

8/6 - 12 — Greene County Fair

8/12 - 19 — Washington County Fair

8/19 - 20 — California Riverfest

CCJ will be in attendance at the county fairs in both Washington and Greene Counties as well as California’s Riverfest this month. Be sure to come say hi, enjoy festival food and attractions, and celebrate our communities with us!

8/15 — Research Study Results Briefing: Mobilizing Towards Climate Justice

  • 2 - 3:30 PM on Zoom

  • CCJ is part of We Make the Future’s Climate Cohort, along with 20+ other climate justice organizations from around the country. The group spent the past several months conducting research into messaging that mobilizes Americans for climate justice. This briefing will reveal

    findings on how to talk to community members about publicly-owned utilities, how to build support for climate crisis solutions that benefit those most impacted by it, and what forms of advocacy people are most interested in taking after climate disasters.

  • Register Here

8/20 — Rock for Recovery Music Festival

EQT Town Halls with CEO Toby Rice

  • 6:00 PM (Locations Vary)

  • EQT, the largest fracking company in Pennsylvania, is hosting a series of town halls in our region featuring CEO Toby Rice. They’ll be discussing news about the company and its operations, plans to expand liquid natural gas production and exports, and will be taking questions from community members. These town halls kick off on August 24th at the EQT Rec Center in Waynesburg and CCJ staff, members, and supporters will be looking to make sure our voices are heard.
  • Interested in attending? Email us at info@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org

Weekly Events

Tuesdays & Saturdays — Greene County Flea Market

Wednesdays — Waynesburg Farmers Market

Thursdays — Main Street Farmers Market (Washington)

Fridays — Monongahela Farmers Market

Second Saturday Monthly — Free Food Pantry

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


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.


  • 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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