As part of getting excited for the summit, we wanted to introduce you to some of the people who are coming.

Veronica Coptis, CCJHello! I’m Veronica Coptis from Carmichaels, PA

I’m Veronica and I’m working to ensure as coal declines, our community doesn’t fall for the false narrative that natural gas can fill the economic loss. It’s crucial from an economic and climate standpoint that we make the switch to sustainable energy sources and have more control over our economy.

The biggest battle our community is facing right now is ensuring that one of the largest coal mines in the world does not get to mine under our state park and destroy the streams we use for recreation.

In the fight against oil and gas, my proudest moment is when I was organizing with Mountain Watershed Association during the boom in the Marcellus. So many communities were looking for help. I was able to work with them to establish their own community groups and today some of the most active folks protecting our right to clean air and water!

Today, at the Center for Coalfield Justice, I work closely with working class and poor communities in the coalfield to learn about the systems of oppression that make it easier for energy companies to dump their waste in our towns and continue to keep us poor. We’re investing in our local community to build leadership and even employing people directly with CCJ to do local work.

I got started doing this work as a teenager when a coal mine waste dump expanded next to to where I lived. Now I live surrounded by shale gas wells and don’t feel safe giving my daughter our water. Ever since I was young, I’ve been working to stop fossil fuel companies from exploiting our communities because I have no other choice if my family and I want to continue to live in Greene County, PA.

As our region is pushed to be the next petrochemical buildout, I think it’s crucial to be in Pittsburgh. I want to help show that there’s not only strong resistance to this plan locally, but that people across the country putting their lives on the line to stop the oil and gas industry from destroying one more person, community, or region.

Veronica is the Executive Director of The Center for Coalfield Justice

The Center for Coalfield Justice is using a combination of legal and organizing strategies to move people, companies, and legislators. We are directly suing the state and companies when they fail to follow the laws to protect our water and air. We hold public accountability campaigns against companies that are engaging in or investing in destroying our communities. We work on investing in local communities to implement their own campaigns around enacting protective local ordinances from fracking.

It’s not too late to RSVP – if you’ve been on the fence, click here to join Veronica and over 200 other amazing activists in Pittsburgh this November!

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