Pittsburgh Summit: The People vs. Oil & Gas Industry (11-17 to 11-20)

by Duane Nichols on November 14, 2017

The People vs. Oil and Gas Summit in Pittsburgh

The People vs. Oil and Natural Gas Summit will be held from Friday, November 17 to Monday, November 20 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.

This Summit is an opportunity for communities who are fighting back against fossil fuels to gather to share stories, strategies, and skills, as well as to collaborate with other communities who are doing the same kinds of work across the country. Most exciting, on Monday we will taking action at energy companies’ headquarters to make it clear we will not stop fighting for our homes, water, and air.

Hotel rooms in Pittsburgh for the weekend are sold out, but if you’d like to attend the conference and are able to make it into the city, click here to register.


8:15-9:15 Breakfast
9:00 Registration Opens

9:20-10:20 Issue Panels:
-Climate & Infrastructure, -Wet Gas = Chemicals = Plastics

10:30-11:30 Issue Panels:
-Working with Landowners to Stop Fossil Fuel Infrastructure inc. How to Stop Eminent Domain
-Follow the Money: Funders of Fossil Fuel Infrastructure & How to Pressure Them to Stop

11:30-12:45 Lunch

12:45-1:55 Grounding in This Place: A Welcome From Local Pittsburgh Organizers
2:00-2:45 Getting to Know Each Other: Participant Mingle

3:00-4:00 Issue Panels:
-Climate Justice and Jobs
-Indigenous Sovereignty & Fossil Fuel Fights: Legal, Policy, and Communications Strategies
-Womb to Tomb: Gas / Oil Distribution Cycle & Points of Intervention

4:30-5:30 Issue Panels:
-Coal Impacts from Mines to Power Plants – How We Fight
-Drivers of Expansion: Intervening to Prevent the Next Wave
-Rapid Response to Fossil Fuel Disasters
-Communities at Risk from FERC and Natural Gas Distribution Community Destruction

6:00-8:00 Social hour, food, and Conference welcome & overview of why we are here

7:30-8:15 Keynote: Community Impacts of Fossil Fuel Extraction & State of the Movement & Our Fights


8:00-9:00 Breakfast and Welcome

9:00-10:00 Stories from the Frontlines:
-Fracking & Frac Sand Mining, -Oil & Tar Sands Pipelines
-Gas Pipelines, -Oil Trains

10:10-11:10 Stories from the Frontlines:
-Regional Case Studies: PNW / Lummi & Gulf Coast, -Local Impacts in Pittsburgh
-State & Local Campaigns (inc. Local Land-Use Regulations)
-Other Infrastructure: LNG, Power Plants, Injection Wells, & More

11:10-11:30 Break

11:30-12:30 Block 1 Trainings:
-Using Legal Tools to Fight Back, -Recruitment & Leader Development
-Campaign Strategy, -Creative Actions

12:30-1:30 Lunch

1:30-2:30 Block 2 Trainings:
-Monitoring to Defeat Polluters & Hold Them Accountable, -Social Media & Messaging
-Targeting: Who Holds the Power and How to Move Them, -Using Direct Action to Win

2:40-3:30 Block 3 Trainings:
-Legal & Citizen Intervention, -Building Alliances & Networks
-Creating Political Power at the State Level, -Creative Art as a Campaign Tool

4:15-6:00 Collaborative Discussion

6:00-6:15 Announcements and Logistics

6:45-8:45 Dinner and FracTracker Awards Ceremony

More on Sunday & Monday.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Veronica Coptis November 26, 2017 at 11:57 pm

Fracking Protest was peaceful, disruptive in Southpointe

Editorial of the Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA), November 24, 2017

About 100 people protested peacefully in Southpointe Monday morning, marching through the park to show their distaste for natural gas drilling and mining of coal practiced by energy companies with headquarters there. They are concerned about impacts these firms may be having on the region’s environment and roadways.

“Our safety is put on the line by decisions made in these headquarters. They will experience for one day what we feel every day,” said Veronica Coptis, who resides in Greene County and spoke for Rising Tide North America, the organization that organized the rally.

The demonstrators should be commended for standing up for their cause. But their efforts were ill-advised, obtrusive and created a lot of ill will. And the activists were likely ignored by the executives they were targeting.

Although organizers announced their intentions a few days in advance, word apparently did not circulate throughout the mixed-use park in Cecil Township. The rally began around 6:30 a.m., near the start of the vehicular crush, and a number of commuters were surprised when they encountered a small group blocking the intersection of Southpointe Boulevard and Technology Drive – a major crossroads.

Protesters had set up two makeshift tripods there, and three members sat in folding chairs on the street, tethered to one another with the person on either end chained to the structures. Two others sat near the top – and were eventually arrested by Cecil police.

An estimated 13,000 people work in Southpointe, and for more than two hours, traffic was disrupted to some extent for employees beginning their workweek or residents attempting to leave. (Officers from at least three local police departments handled traffic flow.)

There also are two dialysis facilities in the park. Delays could have put patients with appointments in peril.

Marchers strolled in organized fashion, carrying signs and chanting. They comported themselves well, yet they also affected traffic flow. The group stopped on the sidewalk above Consol Energy, listened to one of them speak and chanted some more. Members held hands, formed a circle and danced.

The demonstrators’ timing, from their perspective, was appropriate, for the natural gas industry is ramping up following a two-year slide. But the firestorm of anger displayed on the internet and social media blunted that message. People were upset about being late for work and being rerouted, and questioned how much of a local flavor this rally had. (Two lead marchers are from British Columbia and Nova Scotia and many others carried signs bearing home states outside Pennsylvania.)

The Observer-Reporter’s Rick Shrum covered the rally and his article prompted 32 comments on the website and nearly twice that many on the O-R Facebook page. The vast majority of respondents were opposed to the event. Some referred to the activists as hypocrites, pointing out they arrived and left on large buses and held plastic signs. Others simply don’t like environmental advocates. This is, after all, a region where Marcellus Shale development has led to well-paying jobs.

A number of protesters embraced their cause for good reason: they have been adversely affected by mining and other industries. They should be proactive on the environment. But the rally Monday morning was a misguided response.



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