June 2023 Newsletter

Posted Jul 9, 2023, by Alex Downing

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


DRYerson Festival 2023

CCJ held our 17th Annual DRYerson Festival last Saturday, June 24th, at Ryerson Station State Park. Around 100 attendees gathered in community, commemorated the loss of Duke Lake, and joined us in supporting the continued process of Re-Visioning Ryerson. Attendees enjoyed delicious chicken and potatoes from Fredericktown Butcher Shop and music by the talented Dan Baker. Kids (and kids at heart) got their faces painted and tie-dyed free CCJ shirts with staff and volunteers. And we sold our new merchandise for the first time, featuring hoodies, hats, tank tops, and more. Thanks again to all of our attendees, our amazing volunteers, and everyone who has helped make this event a yearly staple in our community! ❤️

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2023 Dryerson1
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Our Work in the Past Month

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New Proposals Approved for Washington County Broadband initiative

By Paul Fedore | June 28, 2023

Washington County officials are continuing their plan to increase broadband access in our communities. On Thursday, May 18th, the County Commissioners awarded funding to two more broadband projects. One of […]

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What is Environmental Justice, Anyway?

By Nina Victoria | June 27, 2023

The term environmental justice gets thrown around a lot. President Biden talks about it, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has environmental justice policies, CCJ works on environmental justice issues, […]

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Black History in the Coalfields

By Josephine Tarquinio | June 14, 2023

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history” – Carter G. Woodson The African American […]

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North Carolina Supreme Court Opens up a Path for a Potential Threat to Democracy 1

North Carolina Supreme Court Opens up a Path for a Potential Threat to Democracy

By Paul Fedore | June 12, 2023

On June 30th of last year, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could affect congressional redistricting nationwide. This case seeks to answer an important question: […]

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HB 847 Hopes to Address Two Election Concerns, Making the Process Easier for Voters and the Counties

By Paul Fedore | May 31, 2023

A bill with potential to address election concerns has made it through the State Government Committee and has been laid on the table of the House of Representatives.  HB 847, […]

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The Second Project in the Third Phase of the Washington County Broadband Initiative has been Awarded

By Paul Fedore | May 31, 2023

We are currently in phase three of the initiative to bring broadband services to underserved communities all over Washington County, and the second project, which will extend broadband services to […]

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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 June 30th here.

In Case You Missed It


CCJ Joined New Freeport Residents to Deliver an Open Letter to EQT at their Offices in Southpointe, PA

In recognition of the one year anniversary of the New Freeport frack-out, residents, CCJ Staff, and supporters from around the region visited the offices of Washington-based fracking company EQT to make some noise and deliver an open letter listing their demands. You can read more about the action and watch a video of part of the rally here. Residents have spent the past year awaiting answers and solutions after an EQT fracking well communicated with a nearby abandoned gas well and potentially damaged private well water. You can join CCJ in supporting these residents by donating to our ongoing New Freeport Water Drive to provide clean water while we continue to demand test results, DEP determinations, and assurances that the town will be protected from further impacts.

Thanks to Everyone Who Made Our First MAD FACTS Meeting a Success!

Thank you to all of our community members who attended our first MAD FACTS - Moms and Dads: Family Awareness Cancer Threat Spike meeting at North Strabane Park on June 15th. The meeting was a great success and an important step towards bringing awareness to oil & gas concerns in our communities that affect our health and wellbeing. We broke off into small groups to discuss impacts from the oil and gas industry in our community and gave each attendee a chance to voice their concerns and learn from one another. Read more about the meeting here.

Our next MAD FACTS meeting is scheduled for July 26th at 6:30 p.m. at the Borland Pavilion in North Strabane Park. All are welcome to join us in learning more about how we can work together to create a healthier and sustainable community where we can all thrive. Folks in attendance at the first meeting seemed eager to share what they had learned with their friends and family, and we encourage all to bring a friend to our next gathering! You can register here and see more information in the Upcoming Events section below.


Take Action

Tell DOH to Update the Public on the Childhood Cancer Studies

In November 2019, Governor Tom Wolf committed to spending $3 million on a pair of studies to explore the potential health impacts of oil and gas development after families impacted by rare childhood cancers demanded that the state investigate the ties between cases of rare cancers and shale gas development. The data collection for these studies concluded in September 2022. The University of Pittsburgh’s public-facing website for the studies has not been updated since then. And in early October 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh backed out of a public forum to discuss the progress and process of the studies.

Unfortunately, neither Pitt nor the DOH has provided any updates on the status of the studies since the forum. That's why we're collecting as many signatures as possible on our petition for the DOH to provide an update on the status of the studies to the public as soon as possible. We believe that a timely, transparent update on the study is an important step for community inclusion in the research process that will ensure that residents' concerns about the timeline are heard and addressed. The petition already has over 250 signatures. Add your name to make sure the DOH cannot ignore us!

Sign the Petition!

Support EJ Communities: Tell Your Legislators to Vote Yes on HB 652!

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is advancing a bill to help protect EJ communities in the state from disproportionate adverse impacts of industrial activity. HB 652, introduced by Representative Bullock of Philadelphia, provides a broader definition for EJ areas that allows flexibility by requiring the consideration of health, environmental, and socioeconomic data. When demographic and income information are the only factors considered, many communities in our area are often removed from consideration. Under the bill, DEP must use this definition to develop methods to identify EJ areas, designate them, and update them every three years. There is much more in the bill that you can read about in our recap here before signing onto a letter to your representative urging them to vote yes on the bill with the link below.

Message your Representatives

Upcoming Events

Center for Coalfield Justice Events

7/25 — July Community Meeting Opioid Settlement Listening Session

$2.2 billion are coming into the state over the next decade from the nationwide opioid settlements. These funds are to be used to expand harm reduction and treatment services, with a long list of options and strategies to choose from. Washington County is putting together their plan to spend the settlement funds and we are encouraging them to include input from the residents of our communities. If you would like to learn more about the money coming into your community and share your thoughts on how the county should spend these funds, join our Listening Session on Tuesday, July 25th at 6pm and register with the link below.

Register Today

7/26 — MAD FACTS: Moms & Dads - Family Awareness of Cancer Threat Spike

Do you have concerns about the potential health effects of the natural gas industry in our community? Does someone you know suffer from a rare childhood cancer or other rare cancer? We are seeking answers for community members that live in our area, the most heavily drilled region in the state. Our first Mad Facts meeting was a great success and we welcome you back on July 26th at 6:30 pm at the Borland Pavilion in North Strabane Park. If you attended last time and found it informative, bring a friend this time! Dr. Ned Ketyer will be presenting “Fracking Makes People Sick. How Is That?” We will also be discussing how to document what you are witnessing near your home and how to report it.

Register Here
Movie Night 7:2023

7/28 — Outdoor Movie Night w/ Common Ground Teen Center

Experience a free movie night under the stars at Washington’s enchanting Firefly Garden, hosted by CCJ and our partners at the Common Ground Teen Center! We invite community members of all ages to join us July 28th at sunset for snacks, games, and movie magic as we enjoy the summer weather and each others’ company. The movie that will be shown has yet to be finalized, so be sure you are following our Facebook and Instagram pages for the official announcement!

Ally and Community Events

7/6 — Solar 101

7/12 — Plastics & the Future of our Planet: A Conversation with Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert

  • 7 PM on Zoom
  • Join Beyond Plastics for a conversation about plastics and the future of our planet with environmental leader and author, Bill McKibben, and Pullitzer prize-winning journalist, Elizabeth Kolbert, moderated by Beyond Plastics president and former U.S. EPA regional administrator, Judith Enck.
  • Register Here

7/18 - 7/22 — Jacktown Fair

  • Jacktown Fairgrounds (Wind Ridge)
  • You can’t die happy until you’ve been to the Jacktown Fair! Visit CCJ at the oldest annual fair in the country. We’ll be in the parade on Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM and on-site greeting attendees all week. Stop by to say hello and enjoy rides, games, food, music, and fireworks.
  • More Info Here

7/23 — Yough River Float Trip

  • 10 AM - 4:00 PM at Hazelbakers Canoe and Kayak Rental (Perryopolis)
  • Join Mountain Watershed Association for a 4-hour trip down the Youghiogheny River. Tickets are $30-50 per person, there are 50 solo kayaks and 8 double kayaks available for those who register. This is a fundraiser for the Indian Creek Valley Trail, and all proceeds will go toward completing a trail project.
  • Register Here

7/29 — Rain Day Festival

  • 11 AM - 9:00 PM at Waynesburg Fountain & Monument Parks
  • Waynesburg residents have been tracking weather on July 29th for 149 years, and 117 times there has been rain. Visit the annual Rain Day Festival to celebrate this phenomenon with free music, fireworks, and community. CCJ will be there all day long to talk to residents, so be sure to stop by our table.
  • More Info Here

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.

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 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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