Monday, April 22, people from across Pennsylvania descended upon Department of Environmental Protection offices in every district. In Williamsport a group of thirty concerned citizens rallied in front of the DEP office, and eventually a group of ten activists entered the building lobby to request a meeting with DEP officials. This group included those in the area suffering with contaminated water, and natural gas flaring in their communities. Activists held a banner listing the health impacts of natural gas extraction, and asking the DEP to do their job got honks from vehicles passing by. Josh Pribanic, a journalist and director of the film Triple Divide also tried to complete a scheduled record review for the day, but all record reviews were canceled without explanation.
Later in the afternoon a group of people, including activist John Trallo, entered the building’s lobby and asked to speak to Dan Spadoni, Director of DEP Communications in the Oil and Gas Division. Mr. Spadoni would not appear, but a DEP representative listened to the group’s concerns and demands for justice for those harmed by fracking. As concerned citizens continued to hold banners in the lobby and ask for accountability from DEP personnel entering and leaving the building, Mr. Trallo called the official interaction “the same bureaucratic non-responses that has become the standard since the gas industry invaded Pennsylvania.” Last year Spadoni told activists that the DEP has no intention of ever prohibiting any company from operating in Pennsylvania, no matter how egregious the management of their fracking operations. This means that no matter how many have their health ruined by poisoned drinking water, or poisoned air from natural gas flaring, the DEP’s current management is committed to complicity in that suffering.