Gillian Graber is the Executive Director and a founding member of Protect PT which started organizing in December 2014 when neighbors from Trafford and Penn Township came together to resist an unconventional natural gas well pad near their homes. As a mother of two, Gillian is passionate about keeping her children safe from the impacts of fracking. After an experience dealing with air pollution issues in her own home and concerns being ignored by the PA DEP, she knew she had to do something when she found out about a new unconventional natural gas well pad 1/2 mile from her home. So she took action to rally her neighbors and help form what is now a nonprofit well known for protecting the economic, environmental, and legal rights of the community.
Patrick Campbell is our Project and Outreach Coordinator since June 2020. With a Master of Divinity from Wake Forest University School of Divinity, he is excited to share his experience in community organizing and passion for environmental sustainability at Protect PT. Patrick recently moved back home to Western PA with his spouse and children.
Mary Obringer started as our Media and PR intern in summer 2018 and continued working with Protect PT while she finished her B.S. in Journalism at Liberty University in Virginia. She is now our full-time Outreach Assistant. Her background in writing and editing help with newsletters, emails, flyers and other materials.
Kathleen Brosseau is our Environmental Scientist with a background in geology. She has a Masters of Science from Duquesne University in Environmental Science and Management, and several years of consulting experience. She has been with Protect PT since January 2019 and heads our Environmental Monitoring programs.
Tam Swanson, our bookkeeper since October 2019, brings more than 25 years of administrative, financial, and project management experience to the Protect PT team. Passionate about environmental protection and conservation from an early age, Tam studied botany, anthropology, environmental studies, and sustainable living at Connecticut College.
Protect PT (Penn-Trafford) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring residents' safety, security, and quality of life by engaging in education and advocacy to protect the economic, environmental, and legal rights of the people in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.
Protect PT’s Position On UNGD
Unconventional Natural Gas Development (UNDG) is a heavy industrial activity and, as such, should be restricted to industrial zones to ensure the status quo is maintained within residential and agricultural zones. While some critics say that UNDG is compatible with agriculture, we would argue that since UNDG creates a tremendous amount of dust, light, and noise, as well as taking up valuable land that could be used for farming, this industrial process is not compatible with agriculture.
Even in industrial zones, local conditions must be evaluated to ensure that nearby residents are not harmed by the activity. As Pennsylvanians, under Article 1 Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we have the right to:
"Clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."
While municipalities do have the power to use zoning laws to regulate the gas industry, they must apply those laws in a way that is constitutional and follow established legal precedent on zoning laws. Allowing a single type of industrial use, natural gas development, in otherwise non-industrial zones is unconstitutional. By allowing residents to suffer from air, light, noise, and water pollution, local and state governments prioritize a boom and bust industry using precious resources (water) to extract a finite resource for private gain over the life and health of residents who depend on these natural resources and ecosystems to survive.
Our Financial Supporters
Our financial supporters include community member contributions as well as the organizations below that fiscally support our work in a variety of ways. Protect PT Members who volunteer & help fundraise: Click here to learn how you can help.