The Shalefield Organizing Committee works to cultivate a grassroots movement for healthy people and ecosystems in the shalefields. Through outreach, education, capacity building, and campaign organizing we empower citizens directly impacted by economic injustice and ecological degradation. We demand accountability from those who hold power through community mobilization and direct action.
Our goal is to halt the construction of additional natural gas infrastructure while developing the knowledge and networks necessary to confront threats to our collective well-being and create the kind of communities we want to live in.
At present, our chief objective is to mobilize communities and stop the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. The community campaign aims to achieve this through base building, educational, media based, legal, and direct action strategies.
THEORY OF CHANGE
The mentality of extraction is deeply woven into the fabric of our society and economy. The gas rush is the latest boom-and-bust cycle of extractive industry in Pennsylvania, following the coal industry. These industries exploit communities with promises of wealth but instead leave environmental destruction and broken economies. Many politicians benefit from these industries and support them at the expense of community well being.
Non-violent direct action is necessary to initiate actual change because it works outside of spaces controlled by politics and industry. Residents can be actively involved in creating their own communities instead of deferring action to authorities or other “decision makers.”
We envision a future where communities are self determined through the active participation of their residents.
SOC was founded in 2013 when founders got together to discuss how we could best use our experience, resources and networks to address the emerging problems caused by natural gas extraction and transport. In response to a noticed gap in non-profit support in the region, we wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what rural shalefield communities were experiencing and what needs were unmet.
In our first major program, the Sullivan County Listening Project, we conducted interviews to learn about the complexities of living with natural gas extraction. This project documented varied experiences and attitudes, and highlighted specific needs, directing our organizing resources.
In 2014, the Atlantic Sunrise gas pipeline was proposed in the region. Due to our established organizing infrastructure, we immediately offered support, beginning our second major program, which we referred to in its early stages as “the pipeline campaign”.