Conference Program

Thursday, September 8th, 2011
Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia,  PA 19123

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8:30 Registration Opens
9:00 – 9:15 Welcome & Introductions

  • Welcome from Rabbi Eli C. Freedman
  • Announcements from Conference Coordinators Lynne Iser & Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

9:15 – 10:30 Opening Plenary

  • Sandra Steingraber, Keynote Address
  • Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper
  • Paul Rubin, Hydrologist & Hydrogeologist
  • Jerry Silberman, Introduction to Moratorium Action Plan
  • A. Allen, Protecting Our Waters

10:45 – 12:00 Concurrent Workshop Session
12:05 – 12:55 Lunch
1:00 – 2:15 Concurrent Workshop Session
2:30 – 3:45 Concurrent Workshop Session
4:00 – 5:00 Closing Plenary

  • Josh Fox, Gasland
  • Barb Jamoska, Responsible Drilling Alliance
  • Moratorium Action Plan Updates

Workshop Schedule


Moratorium Action Plan #1: Power Mapping
When Marching Isn’t Enough: Direct Action to Win a Moratorium on Fracking
Mapping and Fighting Demand for Natural Gas: Power Plants and LNG Exports
Our Aquifers, Our Drinking Water: Casualties of Gas Development
Media Savvy Framing and Messaging
Drilling Through Loopholes: How Exemptions Fuel the Industry and Fail the Public


Moratorium Action Plan #2: Developing the Message
Developing Organizing Strategies to Stop Fracking
Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism
Legal Strategies to Fight Fracking
Working With Faith Based Communities
Marcellus Shale and Pipeline Infrastructure: What You Need to Know and Why


Moratorium Action Plan #3: The Plan and the Strategies
Electoral Strategies: Fracking as a Wedge Issue
Online Organizing and Internet Strategy
Woods or Wells: The Pennsylvania Wilds meets the Marcellus Shale
The Health Impacts of Fracking
What to Do When You Suspect Contamination

Plenary Speakers

Sandra Steingraber

Ecologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority on the environment links to cancer and human health.

Called “a poet with a knife” by Sojourner magazine, Steingraber has received many honors for her work as a science writer. She was named a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year and later received the Jenifer Altman Foundation’s first annual Altman Award for “the inspiring and poetic use of science to elucidate the causes of cancer.” The Sierra Club has heralded Steingraber as “the new Rachel Carson,” and Carson’s own alma mater, Chatham College, selected Steingraber to receive its biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award. In 2006, Steingraber received a Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund and, in 2009, the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.

An enthusiastic and sought-after public speaker, Steingraber has keynoted conferences on human health and the environment throughout the United States and Canada and has been invited to lecture at many universities, medical schools, and hospitals—including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and the Woods Hole Research Center. She is recognized for her ability to serve as a two-way translator between scientists and activists. She has testified in the European Parliament, before the President’s Cancer Panel, and has participated in briefings to Congress and before United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland. Interviews with Steingraber have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, on National Public Radio, “The Today Show,” and “Good Morning America.”

The final chapter of Steingraber’s new book, Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, covers the crisis of high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing. Also, see her excellent article on the subject: The Whole Fracking Enchilada: Violating the bedrock, the atmosphere, and everything in between.

Josh Fox

Josh wrote and directed GASLAND as his first documentary feature. The film is now an infamous account of how the largest natural gas drilling boom has swept across the United States. What is uncovered is truly shocking–water that can be lit on fire right out of the sink, chronically ill residents of drilling areas from disparate locations in the US all with the same mysterious symptoms, huge pools of toxic waste that kill cattle and vegetation well blowouts and huge gas explosions consistently covered up by state and federal regulatory agencies. Gasland was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2011 Academy Awards and among many other awards, has won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance and at the Sarasota Film Festival.

Josh has toured the country showing Gasland, is an engaging speaker, and a tireless champion of the movement to stop fracking.

Paul A. Rubin

Paul A. Rubin is a hydrologist and a hydrogeologist. He provides hydrologic, geologic and land use technical consulting services to environmental groups and municipalities. He assists groups in identifying issues and developing strategies designed to protect groundwater and surface water resources, community character, and wildlife habitat. Recently he has presented educational programs on the impacts of natural gas development and has provided consulting services related to several ongoing policy and legal matters involving gas exploration, extraction, and production in shale formations. Two recent fact sheets have focused on aquifer protection from gas development, seismic hazards, and hydraulic fracturing impacts, produced for Delaware Riverkeeper Network: What the experts have to say about … Natural Gas Drilling & Aquifer Protection and What the experts have to say about … Natural Gas Drilling, Seismic Risk & Aquifer Degradation. In June, 2010, he presented to the Town of Sullivan Town Council, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Planning Board in Chittenango, New York (Madison County): Hydrologic Considerations Relative to Mining in a Karst Terrain & Contaminant Risks to Fresh Groundwater Supplies Stemming from Hydraulic Fracturing.


Our Aquifers, Our Drinking Water: Casualties of Gas Development Paul A. Rubin

This workshop exposes the truth about the impacts of gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Our aquifers will inevitably be polluted if gas exploration and development proceeds as the industry and regulators plan. There is an urgent need for informed and truthful discussion about the impacts to aquifers and our water supplies. This workshop will arm you with the facts you need based on research and analysis done by hydrogeologist Paul Rubin.

Drilling Through Loopholes: How Exemptions Fuel the Industry and Fail the Public Nadia Steinzor

The natural gas industry is exempt from many of the nation’s bedrock laws that protect health and the environment. This workshop will describe the role that federal loopholes and lax state regulation & enforcement play in the mad rush to drill—and why changing this can help ensure corporate accountability, re-balance power in the nation’s energy decisions, and protect communities.

Nadia Steinzor is the Marcellus Regional Organizer for Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project. Nadia provides landowners and groups with information on shale gas development in the eastern U.S. and helps advance state and federal policy reform. She has a background in communications, research, and policy on issues such as land protection, endangered species recovery, and human rights.

Developing Organizing Strategies to Stop Fracking Jim Walsh

Stopping the gas companies’ assault on public health and the environment will require campaign strategies that will build power to overcome the moneyed influence of this dangerous industry.  A strategy is more than a plan, it is an overall assessment of your campaign goals, allies, resources, targets and tactics that will build a powerful movement to stop the frackers in their tracks.  In this workshop we will discuss how the elements of a strategy fit together into a comprehensive strategy. Following the discussion participants will practice developing a strategy to pass a local or statewide resolution against fracking.

Jim Walsh is the Eastern Region Director for Food & Water Watch where he oversees and implements a regional strategy to ensure that the wellbeing of the public triumphs over private interests who profit from the exploitation of the essential resources of food and water.

Jim is a dedicated political organizer with over ten years experience working in local and national movements to empower communities to work for social, racial and economic justice. Prior to working for Food & Water Watch, Jim worked as the Program Director for New Jersey Citizen Action, the state’s largest citizen watchdog coalition. In this capacity, he would oversee education and public policy campaigns focused on a variety of social justice issues ranging from health care for all to ending the war in Iraq and ensuring our state and federal governments pass moral budgets that address the needs of people rather than those with money and power.

Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism Traci Confer & Desire Grover

What is environmental racism?  Isn’t it just about class?  Learn about the realities of environmental racism and how the natural gas industry takes advantage of low-income and minority communities.  This workshop discusses the principles of environmental justice and what is means to be involved in the environmental justice movement.

Desire Grover is a community organizer for the Energy Justice Network working in the City of Chester, PA. In coordination with the DelCo Alliance for Environmental Justice, she works to build youth and community involvement to combat the long-standing environmental racism in Chester.

Traci Confer, Co-founder, Energy Justice Network

When Marching Isn’t Enough: Direct Action to Win a Moratorium on Fracking Daniel Hunter & Kaytee Riek

Whether it be nonviolent uprisings in Egypt or casino-slaying in Philadelphia, people around the world turn to direct action when institutions fail.  In this workshop, we’ll hear stories of success and brainstorm about how to use direct action strategy to work towards a moratorium on fracking.

Daniel Hunter has led multiple direct action campaigns, including Casino-Free Philadelphia’s winning against Foxwoods casino.  He is currently a full-time trainer with Training for Change, teaching strategy and direct action to a wide range of groups, including Algonquins stopping mining, Quakers against mountaintop removal, and Canadian unions defending public institutions.
Kaytee Riek is on staff with Training for Change and the director of Casino-Free Philadelphia. She’s been part of dozens of direct actions, including leading a grassroots campaign to win legislation authorizing $48 billion over five years for global AIDS. She also volunteers with ACT UP Philadelphia.

Electoral Strategies: Fracking as a Wedge Campaign Issue Adam Garber & Erin Casey

With most of the Pennsylvania Legislature headed to the ballot box in the fall of 2012, the community organizing on Marcellus Shale has an excellent opportunity to educate and engage voters around the impacts of drilling and the stances of different elected legislators.  The session will include a discussion of how to educate voters on Marcellus Shale issues and use elections to push candidates to address policy solutions including a moratorium on gas drilling.

Adam Garber is the field director for PennEnvironment. Adam helps to coordinate PennEnvironment’s efforts to educate the public about the state’s most pressing environmental issues, increase civic participation, and garner media coverage to inform concerned Pennsylvanians.

Before joining PennEnvironment in the fall of 2007, Adam worked as the energy and consumer associate for the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG).  During his tenure at NJPIRG he helped to pass one of the nation’s strongest renewable energy standards, promote energy efficiency, and promote clean, safe energy production in New Jersey.  In addition, Adam has run citizen outreach office in New Jersey and Georgia to mobilize citizens around environmental issues.

During the 2008 elections, Adam helped coordinate voter registration, voter persusasion, and GOTV efforts in Pennsylvania and Virginia, organizing grassroots efforts to educate tens of thousands of undecided voters about the environmental records in a number of federal races.  In 2010, he ran a statewide volunteer election effort, turning out thousands of voters in 4 key state legislative districts.

Erin Casey is the State Director for Pennsylvania Voice, a coalition of 45 participating partner organizations working together at the state level.   Their mission is to engage underrepresented communities in the democratic process, to develop new leadership within these constituencies, and to take collective action on important policy issues in Pennsylvania.

Erin has over eleven years experience in running and managing volunteer and field campaigns on the national and state level.  Prior to joining the State Voices team, Erin was the Organizing Director with Grassroots Campaigns where she worked with a variety of organizations to develop and run field campaigns.  During the 2008 elections, Erin was the Pennsylvania State Director for a youth voter registration drive that registered over 30,000 young voters in the 8 weeks before the voter registration deadline.  Her other work included directing and managing the recruitment and logistics for Powershift 2007 which successfully brought together 7,000 student activists nationally for a conference and training on global warming.  In addition, she worked to develop a volunteer organizing model in partnership with various environmental organizations.

Working With Faith Based Communities Rabbi Mordechai Liebling & Cheryl Pyrch

We will learn and discuss the steps to get congregations involved in protecting communities from fracking.  We will look at and discuss some of the faith based principles for environmental protection. This workshop is for people who want to get their own congregations involved and for activists who want to reach out to congregations.

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling directs the Social Justice Organizing program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Previously he served as the Executive Vice-President of Jewish Funds for Justice.  He was the Executive Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation for 12 years. He has been a congregational consultant for 25 years. He has served on the boards of national  and international non-profit organizations. Currently he is on the boards of the Faith and Politics Institute, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America, is the President Emeritus of the Shalom Center and is active in the movement for environmental justice.  His family was the subject of the award winning documentary Praying With Lior.

Cheryl Pyrch is the pastor at Summit Presbyterian Church in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia and on the Board of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light. She has an M. Div from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and has also been active in the movement for full inclusion of GLBT people in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Mapping and Fighting Demand for Natural Gas: Power Plants and LNG ExportsMike Ewall, Aaron Kreider & Amy Wilson

30% of our natural gas is burned up in gas-fired power plants.  10-15 years ago, Pennsylvanians fought off most of the 50+ gas-fired power plants proposed for our state, but proposals for new power plants are back, threatening to further grow the demand for gas production.  Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals also threaten to drive demand further by exporting gas to other nations.  Learn what we’ve done to stop natural gas power plants and LNG terminals in Pennsylvania in the past 15 years, and how you can help stop this misguided trend.  This workshop will also demonstrate Energy Justice Network’s interactive mapping project, where you can find existing, proposed, closed and defeated power plants and LNG terminals and connect with the grassroots activists fighting them.

Mike Ewall, Founder & Director, Energy Justice Network
Aaron Kreider, Programmer, Energy Justice Network
Amy Wilson, Energy Justice Network

Legal Strategies to Fight Gas Drilling Jordan Yeager

Learn about preventative strategies, including drafting local ordinances to limit the reach of drilling into our communities. We will discuss litigation strategies for challenging regulatory agencies, such as the DRBC, to perform cumulative environmental impact studies and to block weak regulations. We will also address fighting conditional use and special exception applications, appealing DEP permits, defending local zoning ordinances, and bringing citizen suits against polluters.

Jordan Yeager is a partner in the law firm of Curtin & Heefner LLP, based in Bucks County, where he is chair of the Environmental and Public Sector practice group. Jordan serves as a Solicitor and Special Counsel to municipal governments, and also advises and litigates on behalf of community groups, environmental organizations and private parties in environmental and land use matters. Jordan is a graduate of Cornell University and the American University, Washington College of Law.

What to Do When You Suspect Contamination Dana Dolney & Jeremiah Compton

Hear a first-hand account of damage from Marcellus Shale exploration. The presentation is focused on a clear understanding of shale gas development’s impact on one property in Tioga County, PA. Topics include early warning signs of contamination, best practices in responding to incidents of contamination, the organic science of isotopic analysis, and navigating relationships between DEP and gas companies.

Jeremiah Compton is a PhD candidate at Penn State, studying adult education and rural jails. His session is based on experiences at his parents’ property during 2010 and 2011. More information can be found on his dog’s blog.

Dana Dolney is an organizer and fractivist with Marcellus Protest. Dana is part the small group that organized the first, large scale protest against the shale gas industry Pittsburgh. She also provided leadership in winning Pittsburgh’s landmark ban on gas drilling. As a long time volunteer, creative fundraiser, and cancer survivor, Dana now teaches others how to get involved at the local level, educating people about the risks and dangers of exposure to environmental contamination from oil and gas drilling.

Her current project is THE-LEAGUE-OF-ACTIVISTS, a site devoted to educating, empowering, and engaging average citizens by encouraging them to understand and get involved in local politics and public discourse while simultaneously raising funds for families that suspect and face contamination of their air and water.

Media Savvy Framing and Messaging Katie Krauss

Online Organizing and Internet Strategy David Meieran

The Health Impacts of Fracking Dr. Pouné Saberi, Dr. Walter Tsou & Dr. Carla Campbell

Dr. Pouné Saberi is participating in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine program at University of Pennsylvania. She is also a clinician at B.L. Johnson Sayre Health Center and faculty member of the Family Medicine and Community Health Department. Her passion is learning and teaching about the effects of environmental factors and toxicology on personal health. She is currently undertaking a study at the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology about the health impacts of unconventional natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. As an environmentalist advocacy for safe air and water brings her personal philosophy together with her career goals.

Walter Tsou, MD, MPH is a nationally known consultant on public health and health care reform. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches health policy at their Center for Public Health Initiatives. Dr. Tsou is the president of Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Dr. Carla Campbell teaches in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Drexel, and has long focused on lead poisoning prevention for children. She is an attending pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Woods or Wells: The Pennsylvania Wilds meets the Marcellus Shale Kevin Heatley

The proposed level of development envisioned by the gas industry for the Marcellus Shale will have dramatic, landscape level impacts on the ecological integrity of Pennsylvania’s forests. The network of pads, roads, and pipeline right of ways, all of which are essential to economic gas extraction, will result in massive forest fragmentation and a multiplicity of cascading, and largely irreversible, ecological effects. As this landscape conversion from rural woodland to industrial land use is proceeding without a comprehensive land use plan, it is critical that the citizens of Pennsylvania understand these consequences in order to more effectively weigh the true societal costs of this industry.

Kevin Heatley is a senior scientist with Biohabitats Inc., a national ecological restoration company. His professional focus includes landscape sustainability, invasive species suppression, and conservation biology. He also serves as a technical scientific consultant to the nonprofit Responsible Drilling Alliance in Williamsport, PA. The RDA is committed to understanding the full ramifications of the Marcellus natural gas industry, both for PA. and for the nation. As a function of that position, he has conducted numerous public educational sessions throughout the Marcellus Shale region. Kevin is a graduate of Penn State with a Masters in Environmental Science.

Marcellus Shale and Pipeline Infrastructure: What You Need to Know and Why Lynda Farrell

Marcellus Shale Gas will be carried to customers by pipeline systems traversing below farms, forests, streams and perhaps your property. This workshop will explain what you need to know about gas pipelines, and why. A tutorial of the types of pipelines, differences in siting and safety process and regulations will make it clear that proactive participation in this cradle to grave process of delivering Marcellus Shale fuel is every citizen’s right and responsibility.

Lynda Farrell is the Executive Director of the Pipeline Safety Coalition. Lynda was introduced to gas pipeline safety when the rumble of an unannounced “smart pig” shook the earth below her farm. She “Ran like Hell”, unaware she was practicing Industry dictated protocol. She became a grass roots advocate for pipeline education and safety when the same gas pipeline led her and four neighbors to federal eminent domain proceedings in efforts to protect their land, steep slopes and the historic Brandywine Creek. Dubbed “The Brandywine Five” by a Federal Judge, the five won their case, fended off eminent domain in a landmark Federal Court decision and were awarded attorney fees. Realizing that pipelines and her farm were not compatible, Lynda combined a diverse background to provide environmental/agricultural consulting and grant writing over a decade. Her efforts are now focused on improving public, personal and environmental safety in pipeline issues through Pipeline Safety Coalition (PSC), a Pennsylvania Non Profit, created: “To gather and serve as a clearinghouse for factual, unbiased information; to increase public awareness and participation through education; to build partnerships with residents, safety advocates, government and industry; and to improve pubic, personal and environmental safety in pipeline issues”, Pipeline Safety Coalition was first conceived by twenty landowners disenfranchised in their attempts to find accurate information in a 2008 Chester County pipeline project. In 2009, the twenty formed an ad hoc community group, Citizens Coalition for Environmental and Property Protection in Pipeline Operations, volunteering time, lessons learned and personal expense to provide all citizens equal access to factual, unbiased information in pipeline safety issues. They vowed to one day form a dedicated coalition so that others would not endure the years of frustration and hardship they had faced.

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