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Wild Idaho Rising Tide
Missing Oregon/Idaho Megaload
In response to the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) atypical early warning on Friday, February 14, that an Omega Morgan tar sands megaload would cross into Idaho during the ensuing, usual dearth of weekend media information, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) reluctantly composed a call-to-action for southern Idaho on February 16 . We remembered the last time that WIRT proclaimed that this could be the “last chance” to protest megaloads on a certain route, in that last case, Highway 12, as the first Omega Morgan shipments rolled in October and December 2012. WIRT and allies assumed that Idaho Rivers United would win their federal court case during the following February, which they did. But Omega Morgan nonetheless tried to access Highway 12 again in August 2013, and the world knows what happened next. Of the eight to ten loads that the hauling company originally proposed for Highway 12 since last summer, one entire load crossed Highway 12, another traversed Highway 95 in five parts during October and November 2013, and three core pieces have launched from Oregon. WIRT is wondering where the other three to five Omega Morgan shipments went. Do the three latest transports really signal the conclusion of eastern Oregon/southern Idaho route use, or will tar sands infrastructure haulers keep coming, not to mention through the Highway 95 sacrifice zone? Although we understand the difficulty in turning from the dead-end, destructive, fossil-fuel path that currently careens the world into climate chaos, we are amazed at how much money corporations keep investing in these ridiculous megaload maneuvers, as activists work to correct their course.
WIRT received news on Monday, February 17, that the third Omega Morgan tar sands megaload originating at the Port of Umatilla was still in Oregon . We suspected that our press release on the previous day nudged the regional media into keeping citizens informed about this issue. But during its emergence from a media blackout, the transport left John Day and traveled during daylight hours, to avoid possible night-time ice and fog over Eldorado Pass. As during Oregon passage of the first two Omega Morgan megaloads, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) again allowed the heavy hauler to change its permit and thus compromise the safety and convenience of daytime travelers without advance notice . To accommodate Big Oil profits, state governments apparently work for the corporations or higher government, not the people. WIRT and allies once more encouraged Oregonians to call or email ODOT director Matthew Garrett in politely forceful protest of this policy, based on information provided by All Against the Haul, a partner group that has mobilized Montanans and helped Act on Climate initiate the Oregon lawsuit against megaloads .
On the same day, February 17, the Mountain Home News declared that the third shipment, using the same route and schedule as previous loads, could pass through its city in Elmore County on either Tuesday or Wednesday nights that week, depending on how fast it moved after entering southern Idaho . But protesters did not anticipate the megaload arriving in Idaho until these nights, particularly if weather and road conditions slowed it down. While constantly and tentatively updating our event announcement and postponing the schedule of the first, soonest possible demonstration in Marsing among successive Idaho protests, WIRT experienced difficulty locating the Omega Morgan transport, likely still in eastern Oregon. We contacted a Boise news agency that said the megaload was last reported in Vale, Oregon, but neither Vale nor Marsing area businesses had seen it yet. Finally, on Wednesday, February 19, a Wood River Valley newspaper reported that:
The megaload…was parked Tuesday afternoon alongside U.S. Highway 26, about 23 miles southeast of Unity, Oregon, and about 45 miles northwest of Vale, Oregon… Wild Idaho Rising Tide and other environmental groups have staged numerous protests, including at Timmerman Junction, as the megaloads travel toward Athabasca. The organization announced in its news release that a protest is planned for Timmerman Junction when the third megaload passes through… The organization and other environmental groups claim they oppose the shipments because of the potential for road and bridge damage and because the Athabasca tar sands operation causes irreversible environmental damage, leads to large emissions of greenhouse gases, pollutes both ground and surface water, ruins wetlands for numerous species of migrating waterfowl, and violates treaty agreements with Indian tribes in both the U.S. and Canada .
Growing Eastern Oregon/Southern Idaho Resistance
On February 19, as the tar sands megaload convoy approached the contested county road, Clark Boulevard, and the prohibited Nyssa city streets in eastern Oregon, WIRT sent a long overdue message to the Argus Observer editorial board in Ontario, Oregon, the Nyssa city manager and councilors, and other concerned citizens . We extended our gratitude for their “recent expressions of concern about possible road damages and jurisdictional discrepancies imposed on eastern Oregonians by permitting and passage of three Omega Morgan-hauled ‘megaloads,’” and offered our “solidarity with their positions on this issue” and support of their “endeavors to inform and protect [their] communities from corporate abuses of public infrastructure and shared climate.” WIRT also circulated a second, duplicate media release about impending southern Idaho megaload protests and alerted an eastern Oregon newspaper of the nearby transport. This outreach instigated on-the-scene coverage of megaload movement that night, as the load “headed east on Highway 20-26 to Clark Boulevard, where it turned south to connect with state Highway 201 spur, and then traveled into Idaho reaching Marsing” . The article noted that Omega Morgan utilized “the same trailer that was used on the first load,” and that, “Unlike the first two convoys, there were three pusher trucks on this one, to get it over the passes.”
Throughout the week, WIRT continued to call on Boise area, Wood River Valley, and southern Idaho comrades to rise up against the upstream source of potential Keystone XL pipeline oil in their collective backyard, to scout the megaload’s progress, and to populate the front lines of resistance to tar sands mining, in Marsing, Mountain Home, Timmerman Junction, Arco, and Salmon, Idaho, and in Missoula, Montana. We provided a letter-sized, color, PDF version of the megaload protests flyer, available on the WIRT website for profuse printing and posting, and a map describing the locations of Omega Morgan’s Idaho megaload route and usual parking spots from Marsing to Lost Trail Pass . The Boise Weekly ran an online Friday story stating that, “The environmental activist group Wild Idaho Rising Tide has already announced a series of protests to greet the mega-load” .
As battles ebbed and flowed against various dirty energy transportation corridors and terminals, colleagues in contact with newcomers to the megaload conflict said that WIRT’s efforts and truth motivated the awakening Boise population. WIRT has led a determined struggle to convince southern Idahoans that they can shake the power structures that are starting to panic. Even while Nature raged against megaloads, much better than Idaho activists ever could, volunteers failed to meet other protest participants at the Boise convergence point for carpools on both Friday and Saturday nights, February 21 and 22, for respective Marsing and Mountain Home protests. So WIRT set our sights on opportunities and logistics to strongly confront tar sands infrastructure in eastern Idaho, where ITD plowed human waste, debris, sand, and snow and ice tainted with gallons of de-icer left in an Omega Morgan pullout onto a steep bank of the North Fork of the Salmon River . Only a few weeks earlier, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes released a statement denouncing the lack of tribal consultation before ITD megaload permitting and passage and expressing deep concerns about possible adverse megaload effects or accidents near the rivers and tributaries of their aboriginal homelands, where they practice treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather . Whether the tribes will insist on “full and complete mitigation of any damages or incidents that may impact the environment in the shipping corridors” remains to be seen. To further assist eastern Idaho megaload protesting and monitoring activities, a Portland activist flew into the Salt Lake City airport on Friday evening, February 21, and offered to drive Utah and Pocatello tar sands activists to Idaho Falls and beyond. Rising Tide members greatly appreciate the gracious hospitality and temporary headquarters that our wonderful Wood River Valley and Idaho Falls friends provided over the course of a week.
Five Megaload Protests in Two Nights
On Friday night, February 21-22, activists successfully held the first ever tar sands megaload protest in Hammett, Idaho, and a second demonstration since January 6 in Mountain View, obtaining photos and videos of the Omega Morgan-hauled transport running off the pavement in both locations [13, 14]. Like the first of three shipments originating at the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, ‘Mighty Matt,’ served as the lead pull-truck of the third Omega Morgan megaload, the same vehicle to which two brave Oregon comrades famously locked themselves and delayed transport departure by one night on December 1, 2013. At the Hammett intersection of Idaho Highway 78, old U.S Highway 30, and Hammett Hill Road, as its driver cleared a sharp S-turn and encountered a roadside protester staring down his headlights, he waved and shouted out the semi-truck window at the WIRT activist: “You are like my biggest fan. You’re everywhere I go!” [15, at 10:47 in the video] Departing the crowd of a few dozen local observers, one protester and one independent media reporter, both doubling as monitors gathering damning evidence, followed the multiple vehicles in the megaload convoy with flashing, glaring lights to the nearby Interstate 84 Exit 112, where they documented the transport entering the highway on an off-ramp and moving west in the two eastbound lanes for a quarter-mile. While parked on the nearby roadside, they also viewed and videotaped the 794,000-pound load precariously crossing over to the I-84 westbound lanes, through an emergency turnaround in the median . On its way to Mountain Home, the convoy let other vehicles pass too closely to the megaload traveling slowly on Interstate 84 .
The industrial parade drew a similarly sparse convergence of onlookers behind the chain link fence of the Pilot Travel Center, as the 382-feet-long, 23-feet-wide, 19-feet-tall behemoth barely squeezed around the Interstate 84 Exit 95 off-ramp turn onto U.S. Highway 20 in Mountain Home . The accompanying pilot and flagger vehicles and a dozen or more Idaho state, Elmore County, and Mountain Home police cruisers clogged the intersections and access areas in and around the truck stop. Again, just a few protesters crowded the cumbersome transport struggling around the corner and up the gradual incline toward Bennett Mountain on six miles of the Oregon Trail Backcountry Byway. As the convoy lumbered into the adjacent high country and police dispersed, monitors followed and recorded its movements . The procession unsafely re-routed trailing traffic around the moving megaload once more, to purportedly limit delays to only 15 minutes, although its permit only considers the full stops of other vehicles as delays, not their slowed speeds.
After passing the transport at around 2:15 am, monitors noticed several support vehicles parked in pairs ahead of the course of the megaload. Immediately after its usual parking spot, roads were visibly less maintained by the private contractors that Omega Morgan hired to clear them, with drifting snow covering the surface of the otherwise dry roadway ahead of the transport. At about 3:30 am on Saturday, February 22, convoy personnel turned off all lights and motors and abandoned the tar sands transport at the Gold Mine historical marker between U.S. Highway 20 mileposts 126 and 127. One pickup truck guarded the megaload and Mighty Matt at that pullout, while the push trucks sat unwatched at the Pine-Featherville Road intersection, across from the highway department equipment and materials site, about two miles away and all 50 miles west of the Saturday night protest at Timmerman Junction.
After too little and belated sleep, plenty of campaign disclaimers became apparent on Saturday afternoon, despite a productive night of protesting and monitoring efforts. Convoy workers behaved too nicely, and dangerously allowed supporting and opposing gawkers to approach the transport too closely. The few megaload protesters traveling and risking arrest the most encountered limited access to local communities, internet connections, and basic resources, thus impacting information distribution abilities, sleep, energy, and funds, etc. Conversely, the perpetrators of this megaload madness killing the world apparently enjoy a surplus of labor and capital. Although we are growing as a movement, we could do so much better in stopping this onslaught and forcing its minions to find other life-sustaining work developing clean, alternative energy. Until then, megaload movers will gain even more familiarity with the activists who can foresee nothing but wrong in their endeavors.
On the following evening, February 22-23, southern and northern Idaho and Oregon women staged three Saturday night protests of Alberta tar sands mining infrastructure using a scenic byway through a national monument to ultimately extract extreme energy . Meeting at 10 pm at the Timmerman Junction rest area, near the junction of U.S. Highway 20 and Idaho Highway 75 within the Wood River/“Sun” Valley, megaload protesters averted typically cold and windy circumstances during the few hours waiting for the convoy to arrive at around midnight. Most of the local resistance waved signs and stood under street lights along Highway 20, when the load approached. But two courageous protesters stood in the road against the onrushing, almost 800,000-pound, Omega Morgan monster, waving and hesitantly stepping aside when the tar sands megaload honked, slowed down, and passed nearby . State police who had earlier talked with the crowd never left their vehicles, as two generations of women reminded the Mighty Matt pull-truck driver that WIRT activists and allies are not his “biggest fan,” as he stated in Hammett on Friday night.
Intent on another protest in the ample ambient light of Carey, Idaho, only 18 miles east, three carloads of megaload opponents drove quickly on back roads to circumvent the road-blocking convoy, pass it, and set up another demonstration of citizen dissent against the national fossil fuel agenda. However, the convoy sped past, as we reached the reconnecting Highway 20 intersection. After following the flashing-lights fiasco for several miles on the Peaks to Craters Byway, the longest scenic byway in Idaho at 140 miles, a state trooper inexplicably parked his car in the middle of the thoroughfare and asked the drivers of our three trailing vehicles if we were experiencing an emergency and if the megaload could delay our travel for 15 or more minutes [21, 22]. We warned the officer against such an impediment and eventually, riskily overtook the convoy on the way to Carey, where no protest occurred. But state police nonetheless pulled over behind us, when we stopped to regroup in town, and briefly detained and requested the identification of one of the opposition drivers, when we resumed travel.
Within the 24 miles that U.S. Highway 20/26 snakes through Craters of the Moon National Monument, tar sands megaload protesters confronted the convoy again . Under fresh, starlit skies and surrounded by otherwise quiet, dark, roadside wilderness study areas and a core 43,000-acre wilderness, one of the first designated in the national park system, we vigilantly waited for the flashing lights, diesel fumes, and noisy engines to break the cold silence. To further expose megaload misuse of a national ecological treasure, we illuminated a monument road sign and our protest pickets with the headlights of three vehicles parked on a gated, dirt, back road. The tar sands mining equipment weighing almost a million pounds rumbled within a few feet of fragile lava formations, as it swiftly drove past our brief protest.
In Arco, Idaho, a few megaload protesters converged in the street and on the corner of U.S Highways 20/26 and 93, to gather photos and videos of direct resistance of the interloper, as it stopped and then crawled through the primary T intersection. A state police officer stood near the transport and its three opponents and noted that snow in the Salmon, Idaho, area would probably delay its movement north on the next night. After the convoy continued east on Highway 20/26, the protesters viewed historic downtown buildings and posed in front of the unique, stone-covered, city office building. Following the convoy, megaload monitors observed its multiple vehicles pulling into the former weigh station at the junction of Highways 20/26 and 33, to park for the day east of Butte City, Idaho, at about 3:30 am on Sunday morning, February 23.
Stranded & Restarted Megaload
Thanks to the strongest megaload blockaders – winter storms, heavy snow, and difficult driving circumstances – and according to several sources, the third Omega Morgan tar sands transport to traverse eastern Oregon and southern Idaho has remained stopped near Butte City since Sunday night, February 23. Monday, March 3, marked the one-hundredth day since Omega Morgan first intended to depart the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, on Sunday, November 24, with its first of three tar sands shipments. On its first possible night of movement after Idaho protests, February 23, a winter storm warning and avalanche risks closed the previous Highway 12 megaload haunt between Lowell and Powell, Idaho, currently blocked by a temporary federal injunction necessitating Omega Morgan’s detour over similarly treacherous Lost Trail Pass. Over the following week, the transport was not expected to budge for a while, as down-road Montana endured some record-setting harsh weather for at least the second time in a month. Although WIRT never claimed that this gargantuan tar sands invasion was sensible, Omega Morgan would be crazy to head into such a wall of winter, to reach its northern Alberta destination.
Perhaps due to prolonged snowpack and ice around the 7,000-plus-feet-high elevations of Gilmore Summit and Lost Trail Pass and the possibility of another, subsequent, pullout and river pollution snafu, transporters appear to be waiting for three consecutive nights of favorable weather and road conditions, to move into Montana. Once the stranded megaload finally re-starts its journey, it would travel northeast on Idaho Highway 33, then northwest through the Lemhi Valley on Idaho Highway 28, transforming the beautiful, federally designated 105 miles of the Sacajawea Historic Byway and two miles of the Lewis and Clark Backcountry Byway into an industrial corridor for dirty energy extraction and transportation . From six miles south of Salmon, Idaho, where the transport parks next to the Salmon River, it would cross and risk a few older, decrepit bridges during harsh, brittle, winter conditions at Salmon and Carmen, then pummel 46 uphill miles of the Salmon River Scenic Byway on U.S. Highway 93. From another location besides its infamously trashed parking spot ten miles below Lost Trail Pass, the convoy would cross the state border to stop for the day south of Darby, Montana. After a trip down the Bitterroot Valley to Lolo, the third Omega Morgan transport would pass through Missoula to Bonner, where workers would reconfigure its trailer for Canadian highways. But it could face a similar fate as the first megaload, still languishing in Bonner while awaiting a smaller trailer, perhaps the second load’s leased Emmert trailer returning from Fort McMurray . And although heavy hauling companies prefer the better weight-bearing, frozen ground and minimal traffic of winter routes, spring thaw will impose additional challenges, such as avalanches, rock slides, and flash floods. Omega Morgan does not run the smoothest, fastest, or cheapest operation, in case it is trying to impress customers or permitters.
After two nights of five protests and three nights of megaload non-movement, a Wild Idaho Rising Tide activist videotaped the transport in daylight and optimal weather conditions near Butte City, during a return trip to Boise on Wednesday morning, February 26 . An in-person conversation with sympathetic Craters of the Moon National Monument staff shared megaload objections. A National Park Service employee said that the Idaho Transportation Department never notified or asked the monument about oversize equipment using Highway 20/26, where numerous triple semi-trailers laden with hay travel westward and exacerbate frost heaves in the road surface. Non-human park residents suffer most from this traffic that impedes their movements and risks their demise. This staffer expressed concerns about escalating megaload traffic, especially during warmer tourism and recreation seasons, when the mammoth rigs would significantly impact park visitor opportunities for wilderness solitude, with increased noise, air, and light pollution deep in remote monument areas. Observations of the park landscape and maps revealed that northern mountainous shoulders beneath Highway 20/26 elevate it above the wide, open, lava flows spilling south toward the Snake River Plain, causing roadway sounds, emissions, and lights to carry great distances. In many places along the 24-mile highway-monument interface, park service land and wilderness study areas, managed for the same characteristics as wilderness in anticipation of future Congressional designation as such, border both sides of the road. Jurisdiction of the right-of-way varies with the monument inclusion date and terms of the parcels along the highway.
If patient proximity, earnest vigilance, and challenge readiness have served as physical sacrifices imploring Nature’s mercy, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allies in eastern Idaho have been blessed with ten nights of stalled tar sands mining infrastructure. But, according to Idaho State Police personnel, the third Omega Morgan tar sands megaload out of Oregon rolled from its Butte City parking spot at 10 pm on Wednesday night, March 5. After concerned citizens and groups lodged formal complaints with federal and state environmental, wildlife, and fisheries agencies, the heavy hauler agreed with the Idaho Transportation Department to not park at the turnout where it dumped commercially obtained de-icer, human waste, and other debris above the North Fork of the Salmon River, ten miles below Lost Trail Pass in Idaho. WIRT would love to see a crowd of tribal and climate activists protecting the nearby critical habitat of federally listed salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations and defending surrounding national forests and Shoshone-Bannock homelands from such industrial abuses. However, Nature has again displayed its superior force, with a rock fall onto the southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 93, blocking and reducing the roadway to one lane between mileposts 344 and 348 . Can the third Omega Morgan megaload squeeze around this obstacle five to eight miles below Lost Trail Pass and a few miles above its former, degraded, layover spot near Twin Creek Road?
WIRT organizers will continue to inquire nightly about transport movement, offer ongoing updates of regional megaload protest schedules, and network and coordinate demonstrations of resistance and solidarity with allies. We encourage everyone to together participate in upcoming, earliest possible protests in Salmon, Idaho, on Thursday, March 6, in Missoula, Montana, on Tuesday, March 11, in other Idaho and Montana locations and, as the Mighty Matt driver exclaims, “everywhere”! Please see the Round 3: Idaho and Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! event descriptions on WIRT website and facebook pages for current, tentative protest dates, times, and places.
 Round 3: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (February 16 Wild Idaho Rising Tide) (facebook event)
 Megaload Ready to Move Again in John Day (February 17 Blue Mountain Eagle)
 WIRT Newsletter: Friday Southern Idaho Protest, First Oregon Megaload Travails (December 25, 2013 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Call to Action: Tell ODOT that Sacrificing Public Safety for Big Oil’s Profit is Not Acceptable (December 18, 2013 All Against the Haul)
 Third Megaload Shipment to Pass through County (February 17 Mountain Home News)
 Third Megaload Moves Toward Valley (February 19 Idaho Mountain Express)
 Letter to Eastern Oregonians: Megaload Road Damage Information and Solidarity (February 19 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Third Megaload Drives through Vale (February 20 Argus Observer)
 Southern Idaho Megaload Route and Stops (February 18 Google Maps)
 More Mega-Loads to Roll Across Idaho, Both North and South (February 21 Boise Weekly)
 Mega Mess Left at North Fork (January 24 Post Register)
 Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Concerned of Megaload Shipment (January 2 Idaho State Journal)
 ID & MT Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Hammett & Mt. Home 2-21-14 (February 21 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)
 Mountain Home Mega-Load (February 21 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Hammett, Idaho 2-21-14 (February 21 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 Third Omega Morgan Megaload Crossing East to West Interstate 84 Lanes, Hammett, Idaho 2-21-14 (February 21 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 Passing Third Omega Morgan Megaload on Westbound Interstate 84, Hammett, Idaho 2-21-14 (February 21 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 Passing Third Omega Morgan Megaload on Eastbound Highway 20, Mountain Home, Idaho 2-21-14 (February 21 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 ID & MT Tar Sands Megaload Protests! T.Jct, Craters, Arco 2-22-14 (February 22 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)
 Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Timmerman Junction, Idaho 2-22-14 (February 22 Wild Idaho Rising Tide ally video)
 Peaks to Craters Byway (Idaho Department of Commerce)
 Passing Third Omega Morgan Megaload on Eastbound Highway 20, Carey, Idaho 2-22-14 (February 22 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho 2-22-14 (February 22 Blair Koch video)
 WIRT Newsletter: Megaload Calls to Action on Tuesday in Moscow, Missoula, and Beyond (January 21 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Three Megaloads – Largest Yet – Prepare for Trip from Idaho to Great Falls (February 21 Missoulian)
 Third Oregon Omega Morgan Megaload near Butte City, Idaho 2-26-14 (February 26 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 U.S. 93 Southbound: Rock Fall (March 6 Idaho Transportation Department)
Filed under: Oregon Resistance
On Friday afternoon, February 28, at the Wellness Center in Plummer, Idaho, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) organizers are holding an inter-community discussion among Coeur d’Alene and Nez Perce tribal members and Coeur d’Alene and Moscow activists about three of the heaviest, longest, and widest megaloads to ever travel on Highway 95 through Moscow and the Coeur d’Alene Reservation and on Interstate 90 and East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive.
Dutch heavy hauling company Mammoet plans to move the 1.6-million-pound, 441-feet-long, 27-feet-wide, industrial transports to the Calumet-owned Montana Refining Company in Great Falls sometime in March or afterwards . At this closest U.S. refinery to Alberta tar sands mining operations, these shipments would contribute to tripling refinery conversion of 10,000 barrels per day of Canadian tar sands crude into Rockies transportation fuels. Per National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is currently reviewing this transportation project, called the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route, before Mammoet and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) can construct the likely reusable “temporary” Interstate 90 on-ramp near Higgens Point, which would accommodate megaload passage while endangering natural resources and public infrastructure.
On February 6, as Oregon colleagues prepared to file a lawsuit against megaload permits issued in their state, five regional conservation- and climate change-oriented groups co-wrote and sent a letter of concern about these proposed Mammoet megaloads to the FHWA, ITD, and other responsible city, county, state, and federal agencies and representatives . Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition strongly recommended that these agencies “better consider and act to prevent the implications of this proposed Mammoet move and on-ramp construction for air and water quality, wildlife and habitats, the regional environment and inhabitants, and global climate.” The organizations formally requested that the appropriate cooperating agencies comply with NEPA mandates, extend and expand their project review and public involvement processes and periods, and delay and deny project approval based on further analysis.
This Friday meeting could feature a tar sands/megaload discussion, regional issue slide show, documentary screening, or action-planning session, depending on participant interests. Event planners ask everyone attending to bring and enjoy potluck snacks and beverages and to assist and coordinate this and future similar endeavors. As WIRT activists and allies have admiringly witnessed across the four-state region, the will to rise up against dirty energy facilitating corporate and government ventures must come from within individuals and groups, so event organizers do not intend to pressure this campaign without local initiative. Coeur d’Alene Chief Allan’s letter denouncing megaload traffic through indigenous homelands greatly encourages us, so we are eager to together support further resistance and to stand with Coeur d’Alene tribal members in protest and protection when the time comes .
Please share this message with potentially interested family, friends, co-workers, associates, and local media outlets, and join concerned tribal members and climate activists for this free event on Friday, February 28, from 3 to 5 pm at the Wellness Center conference room A at 1100 A Street in Plummer, Idaho. WIRT welcomes all participants to ride and/or drive with activists attending a non-violent direct action workshop hosted by Indian Peoples Action, from 9 am until 3 pm on Sunday, March 2, at the University of Montana in Missoula . We appreciate your involvement and gratefully anticipate your questions, suggestions, and ideas about any of these events and issues.
 Mammoet 2014 Megaloads (Wild Idaho Rising Tide website category)
 Concerns and Comments about the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route (February 6 Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allies)
 Coeur d’Alene Chairman Allan Letter to ITD Director Ness 12-30-13 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide website post)
 Indian Peoples Action (Indian Peoples Action facebook page)
Filed under: Events, Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
The Monday, February 24, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features the entire recording of the January 15, 2014, public workshop hosted by the City of Moscow about Dutch hauling company Mammoet’s plans to ship the heaviest, longest, and widest ever megaloads in the region on Highway 95 and Interstate 90, through Moscow and Coeur d’Alene. Representatives of Mammoet, the Idaho Transportation Department, the Idaho State Police, Latah County Sheriff’s Department, City of Moscow Police, and elected officials discussed plans to move the 1.6-million-pound, 441-feet-long, 27-feet-wide industrial transports to the Calumet refinery in Great Falls, where they will triple production of Alberta tar sands heavy crude oil. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.
Filed under: City of Moscow, Climate Justice Forum, Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
On the way to southern and eastern Idaho megaload protests starting on Thursday night, please accept Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) apologies for the lateness of overdue newsletters about months of megaload, Idaho gas drilling, oil and coal export, and Keystone XL pipeline updates. As always, the intensity of regional campaigns carrying our shared resistance work forward overwhelms the few, much appreciated organizers who consistently give their all. We offer our unconditional gratitude to the WIRT and allied activists who have provided physical and/or fiscal support over our three years together. But WIRT needs to function more like the collective it was intended to be, as the few shouldering most of the necessary tasks are years past burn-out and are eager to establish a balance between outgoing and incoming energy and resources. Please contact WIRT to lead, assist, and/or participate in one or all of these activities:
Based on the ever-changing schedule of transports in transit, WIRT will regularly update the tentative dates, times, places, and carpool arrangements of these events on the WIRT website and facebook pages.
* Third Thursday Monthly WIRT Potluck and Meeting
Thursday, February 20, 7:00 pm
The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho
WIRT needs a second email contact person to step forward, to assist the regional organizing efforts of Northwest Rising Tide groups, not to mention invest some work in WIRT endeavors.
Thursday, February 27, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE) Room 202, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington
Six local participants in the Tar Sands Healing Walk will share a presentation and audience discussion connecting Alberta tar sands development with local and regional megaloads, huge pipeline projects, impacts on people and places, and overarching climate change, cultural, and ethical issues.
* Tribal and Climate Activists Gathering about Mammoet Megaloads
Friday, February 28, 3:00 to 5:00 pm
Benewah Medical and Wellness Center, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho
As described in a January 29 message to core WIRT and Nez Perce activists, a few of us have been talking about holding a meeting and maybe a tar sands/megaload teach-in, film screening, or action-planning session on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, involving Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene tribal members and Moscow and Coeur d’Alene activists. Because three 1.6-million-pound Mammoet megaloads, for a Great Falls tar sands refinery tripling its capacity, could roll up Highway 95 sometime in February, WIRT activists and allies need to arrange resistance soon, to stand with Nez Perce, Coeur d’Alene, and other tribal activists in protest and protection when the time comes. All meeting participants are welcome to drive and/or ride with activists attending the following Missoula convergence.
* Non-Violent Direct Action Workshop
Saturday and possibly Sunday, March 1 and 2, times and places to be arranged
Indian Peoples Action and Rising Tide North America are coordinating a rare, interior Northwest weekend of direct action trainings in various skills such as blockades and media outreach.
Saturday, March 1, 10:00 am check-in and line-up
Eagles Lodge, corner of Main and A Streets, Moscow, Idaho
* Keystone XL Public Comment Period Deadline
Friday, March 7, 11:59 pm
(Numerous Big Green talking points, form letters, petitions, etc. on various websites)
Although trained as trainers, WIRT is still ambivalent about staging a workshop and action to support the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, while tar sands infrastructure rolls relatively unchallenged through regional communities.
* Northwest Rising Tide Groups’ Regional Direct Action Training
Mid-March 2014, times and places to be arranged
* Grabbing Back Contributors Panel Discussion at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair
Saturday, March 22, time to be arranged (facebook event)
The Crucible, 1260 Seventh Street, Oakland, California
Thanks to Earth First! Journal editor Alexander Reid Ross (‘Sasha’), regional tribal and climate activism will appear as “Resistance to Alberta Tar Sands Megaloads in Idaho and Beyond” by Helen Yost of WIRT and Sasha of Portland Rising Tide, in Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab, published by AK Press this spring. This powerful and insightful (incite-full!), grassroots anthology tells the stories of global, frontline, community struggles to resist the ongoing onslaught of corporate colonization and industrial destruction of the people and places we together love and protect.
Saturday, March 29, 7:00 pm to midnight (2013 event notice)
1912 Center Great Room, 412 East Third Street, Moscow, Idaho
For voluntary admission donations, revel in a benefit concert along with a potluck, beer and wine, and a slide show and videos to savor the successes of the Moscow group whose exuberant activism confronts the causes of climate change. WIRT still needs musicians, donated auction/raffle items, bartenders, flyer designers, organizers, etc. for our annual anniversary fundraising party.
Saturday, April 12, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
East City Park, 900 East Third Street, Moscow, Idaho
* Northwest Rising Tide Groups’ Coordinated Regional Actions
Late May/early June 2014, times and places to be arranged
Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington
* Third Annual Tar Sands Solidarity Journey
Wednesday to Tuesday, June 25 to July 1, times and places to be arranged (2013 event notice)
Moscow, Idaho, and other locations to Fort McMurray, Alberta, and back
Carpools and caravans to the fifth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk
* Fifth Annual Tar Sand Healing Walk
Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, times and places to be arranged
Anzac and Fort McMurray, Alberta
An indigenous-led pilgrimage of healing and resistance through the heart of tar sands development north of Fort McMurray, Alberta
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
Filed under: Newsletters
Nyssa City Manager and Councilors, Argus Observer Editorial Board, Mr. Allison, and Mr. Moore,
Although this message is long overdue, your north Idaho neighbors are nonetheless grateful for your recent expressions of concern about possible road damages and jurisdictional discrepancies imposed on eastern Oregonians by permitting and passage of three Omega Morgan-hauled “megaloads” [1, 2, 3]. As a correction to an excerpt of the second cited article below, “This is largely the same route that ExxonMobil used in 2012. The number of those shipments in 2012? Thirty-two.”, we would like to note that over 70 megaloads weighing up to 415,000 pounds traversed Highway 95 and Moscow between July 15, 2011, and March 6, 2012. They originally numbered 33, but Mammoet split their 30-foot heights in half, to accommodate their movement under interstate overpasses.
A few weeks ago, just before the latest Oregon megaload onslaught and citizen resistance in the courts and streets that has kept us busy, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and four Moscow and Coeur d’Alene conservation- and climate change-oriented groups sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration and other state and federal agencies, describing our concerns about the three 1.6-million-pound, Mammoet-hauled megaloads proposed for transport, via Highways 95 and 200 and Interstate 90, to a tar sands refinery tripling production in Great Falls . We plan to circulate a media release about this statement soon and trust that you will find the following excerpt useful. Please see the original letter for citations and links, especially to photos of Highway 95 road damage inflicted by ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil megaloads, also carried by Mammoet.
Between April 11, 2011, and March 6, 2012, Mammoet hauled over 70 transports weighing up to 500,000 pounds on U.S. Highways 12 and 95 and Interstate 90 through northern Idaho, between the Port of Lewiston and Lolo or Lookout Pass and into western Montana. Until June 2012, it transported another 280 modules across Washington, Idaho, and Montana, from Interstates 5 and 405 or U.S. Highway 395 onto Interstates 90 and 15. All of these 350 megaloads passed through the Coeur d’Alene project area. Expensively and dangerously facilitated by the Idaho Transportation Department, state police, and private contractors, Mammoet’s Imperial Oil shipments imperiled the safety and schedules of travelers, while delaying, confusing, and blocking public highway access and traffic with their 16- to 24-foot, two-lane widths and lengthy, glaring cargoes and convoys. Transport operations caused personal injury and property damage through numerous accidents and collisions with vehicles, tree branches, and power lines, as they degraded highways with washboard ruts in lane centers, and pummeled saturated road beds, crumbling shoulders, and outdated bridges. Concurrent, colossal, transportation ventures through the region, imposed by other haulers, crashed into cliffs and impeded public and private emergency services. Most recently – and potentially significantly for water quality along the proposed Mammoet Coeur d’Alene lakeside megaload route – ITD authorized application of 1000 gallons of de-icing fluid of unknown chemical composition, to assist the re-start and summit passage of an Omega Morgan shipment hindered for weeks by weather and permit complications on the Idaho side of Lost Trail Pass.
Citizens concerned about the lax state oversight and myriad impacts of these overlegal loads, who have monitored, documented, and protested dangerous convoy practices and conditions, have additionally faced unwarranted targeting, surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and arrest by state troopers and county and city police sworn to serve public safety, but who instead protect corporate interests that challenge Idahoans’ civil liberties and risk the health and wellbeing of people, places, and the planet. To date, police have arrested 61 Rising Tide allied climate and tribal activists and cited four more during over one hundred direct protesting and monitoring confrontations of this corporate take-over of public highways. They and thousands of regional community members can attest that Mammoet’s operations are anything but safe, as private profit consistently usurps public interests. During one fiscal year, Imperial Oil transports cost the Idaho Transportation Department $645,000 in administrative costs not covered by megaload permits, not to mention the millions of dollars that American taxpayers spend to repair public transportation infrastructure damaged by tar sands shipments.
We offer our support of your endeavors to inform and protect your communities from corporate abuses of public infrastructure and shared climate. As requested by the Argus Observer, our latest media release is also included below . Please forward this message to pertinent city and county officials and citizens, as our expression of solidarity with their positions on this issue.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
 Can Clark Boulevard Handle the Megaload? (December 15, 2013 Argus Observer)
 Not So Quick to Embrace Megaloads (January 2, 2014 Argus Observer)
 Council Won’t Let Megaloads Use Nyssa City Streets (February 12, 2014 Argus Observer)
 Concerns and Comments about the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route (February 6, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Allies)
 Round 3: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (February 16, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
Filed under: Oregon Resistance
The Monday, February 17, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features Oregon megaload and coal export opponent and activist Peter Goodman of Act on Climate. With Walla Walla Chief Yellow Bird, Carl Sampson, Peter filed a Petition for Review of Agency Order against the Oregon Department of Transportation on Tuesday, February 11, in Marion County Circuit Court in Salem. Carl and Peter are asking the court to require ODOT to follow state laws obliging it to act in the public interest and thus consult the Umatilla tribes and Oregonians before issuing permits to Omega Morgan tars sands megaloads that cause multiple harms and hasten global climate change. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Wild Idaho Rising Tide, 350 Boise, and Occupy Boise are again organizing megaload protesting and monitoring activities at Marsing, Mountain Home, Timmerman Junction, Arco, and Salmon, Idaho, and supporting blockades organized by Indian Peoples Action, Blue Skies Campaign, and Northern Rockies Rising Tide in Missoula and other Montana locations [1, 2]. Based on the ever-changing schedule of transports in transit, WIRT will regularly update the tentative dates, times, places, and carpool arrangements of these events on the WIRT website and facebook pages. Please bring your family, friends, and neighbors, and come prepared with protest signs, banners, and equipment, musical instruments, voices, and chants, audio and video recorders, cameras, notepads, and your spirit of solidarity, regional resistance, and freedom of expression.
* Boise carpools to Marsing and Mountain Home: Contact Ann Ford of 350 Boise at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-344-4675. Meet at the Shopko sign/parking lot at 2655 South Broadway Avenue, at 8 pm MST on Sunday, February 16, for Marsing carpools, and at 9 pm MST on Monday, February 17, for Mountain Home carpools.
* Marsing protest: Also meet at the Marsing Elementary/Middle School parking lot, 205 Eighth Avenue West, Highway 78, at 9 pm on Sunday, February 16.
* Mountain Home protest: Also meet at the Pilot Travel Center, 1050 Highway 20 at Interstate 84 Exit 95, at 10 pm MST on Monday, February 17.
* Wood River Valley/Timmerman Junction protest: Meet to carpool in the Atkinsons Market parking lot, 757 North Main Street in Bellevue, at 9 pm MST on Tuesday, February 18, or at the Timmerman Junction rest area, on the southwest corner of the U.S. Highway 20 and Idaho Highway 75 intersection, at 10 pm MST on Tuesday, February 18.
* Pocatello/Blackfoot area carpools to Arco: Contact Levi Shoemaker at Facebook.com/Levi.Shoemaker2. Meet at the Big Kmart sign/parking lot at 3945 Pole Line Road in Pocatello, at 8 pm MST on Tuesday, February 18.
* Salmon protest: Meet at the Skate Park in Island Park, at 10 pm MST on Thursday, February 20.
* Missoula protest: Meet at the Rosauers parking lot at 2350 South Reserve in Missoula, at 12 midnight on Tuesday/Wednesday, February 25-26.
* Spokane, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho, carpools to Missoula and Montana actions on Tuesday, February 25: Contact Terry Hill of Spokane Rising Tide at Facebook.com/Terry.Hill.509. Montana activists have arranged lodging for participants visiting Missoula.
* Megaload monitoring at various locations: Contact WIRT at 208-301-8039 and email@example.com.
* Contributions for organizer, monitor, and protester travel and potential legal expenses: Donate through WePay at WePay.com/Donations/907347297and via mail to P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, ID 83843.
The next week offers perhaps the last opportunity for southern Idahoans to rise up against looming tar sands megaloads within 50 miles of their homes, engaging minds, hearts, and bodies on the frontlines of a continental struggle against expanding production and use of tar sands and other fossil fuels currently brewing climate chaos in every region of the Earth. On Friday, February 14, Big Oil sweetheart, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), sent Oregon-based megaload hauler Omega Morgan a valentine, as its third tar sands transport skates across above-freezing road conditions in Oregon, without a court injunction or road-blocking activists to stop it . The first two shipments of mining equipment slipped hundreds of miles through Idaho and Montana since December 23, encountering six protests in Marsing, Mountain Home, Timmerman Junction, and Missoula . The size, strength, and duration of shared regional resistance to Omega Morgan megaloads has broadened since their first trip up Highway 12 in October 2012: Twelve transports have incurred 30 direct confrontations, 49 arrests, and two citations. Residents of four states have protested over 100 times, resulting in 60 arrests and four citations, against ExxonMobil and other tar sands shipments that have traversed the region since February 2011. Despite an Oregon media blackout about current megaload locations since Port of Umatilla departure on Tuesday, February 11, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies anticipate strong and spirited activists taking to the streets when the convoy reaches Idaho this weekend.
Omega Morgan is transporting an oversize shipment, measuring 382 feet long, 23 feet wide, and 19 feet tall and weighing 794,000 pounds, across eastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and western Montana to the Athabasca tar sands region in Alberta, Canada. Moving between 8 pm and 6 am in Oregon, but between 10 pm and 6 am in Idaho, the megaload could enter Idaho late Saturday night or Sunday morning, February 15-16. Weather and road conditions and visibility less than 500 feet could slow its travel along a 475-mile circuitous route through Idaho, starting near Homedale, along the Snake River on Highway 78, to a Hammett area bridge . On its way to Mountain Home via Interstate 84, the megaload will use the Exit 112 off-ramp and eastbound I-84 lanes, to move west for a quarter mile until its crosses over to the westbound roadway at an emergency vehicle pull-out. The industrial parade will continue east on Highways 20 and 33 through Arco, then northwest on Highway 28 to Salmon, Highway 93, and 7,014-foot-high Lost Trail Pass into Montana. Accompanying pilot, flagger, and Idaho State Police vehicles will re-route other traffic and purportedly limit its delays – usually considered full stops not slowed speeds – to 15 minutes.
These “evaporator” megaloads will assist in-situ, steam-injection, tar sands mining processes similar to fracking Alberta bitumen deposits too deep to surface-mine. Expanding tar sands refineries in Montana, requiring 1.6-million-pound megaloads to traverse Highways 95 and 200 and Interstate 90, and three new North Dakota refineries, the first built in the U.S. in decades, will process tar sands crude into diesel fuel burned in the trucks supporting mining of the Bakken shale oil carried across the country in exploding rail cars . First Nations in present-day Canada are increasingly litigating instead of negotiating against corporations and governments expanding Alberta tar sands exploitation, as its mines and tailings ponds spew pollution visible from space into the air, water, wildlife, and communities of one of the largest and last unspoiled watersheds on Earth [7, 8].
The multiple harms caused by these huge transports affect everyone in several ways. WIRT’s years of megaload observations have revealed that unless, and even when, citizens and activists are watching and reporting their every move, megaload haulers will take risks and cause problems, despite – or as a result of – transportation department oversight. They often blatantly and arrogantly violate the terms of their permits and transportation plans in plain sight. Remember the August 2013 night when Omega Morgan held back scores of trailing Nez Perce vehicles on Highway 12, to avoid further blockades? WIRT understands that common folks are driving, escorting, and guarding megaloads AND standing in front of these big rigs. Although Big Oil has us all bent over a barrel, none of us should tolerate oversize loads breaking the law, moving in inclement weather, and damaging public infrastructure built by taxpayers.
The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in eastern Idaho released an early January statement denouncing lack of tribal consultation before ITD megaload permitting and passage and expressing deep concerns about possible adverse megaload effects or accidents near the Salmon and Snake rivers and tributaries of their aboriginal homelands, where they practice treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather . The tribes “expect a full and complete mitigation of any damages or incidents that may impact the environment in the shipping corridors.” Apprehensive about possible megaload impacts to city streets and buried utilities, such as water and sewer lines, the Nyssa City Council denied a proposed alternative route skirting Clark Boulevard, also contested for megaload use as a sub-standard, non-state route in Malheur County, Oregon [10, 11]. Heavy haulers and facilitating state agencies should also not menace other drivers with police patrols and traffic tickets or foul nearby forests and rivers with toxic de-icer and human waste, much less expedite through their work climate chaos and consequent destruction of our shared planetary home [12-14].
Oregon Megaload Updates
Unlike the first two Omega Morgan megaload movements on the same route this winter, this shipment has moved swiftly across Oregon from the Port of Umatilla. The first transport embarked on December 2, arrived in Idaho on December 23, and, impeded by weather and Montana permitting, did not pass into Montana until January 20 . After leaving the Oregon port on December 22, the second shipment entered Idaho on January 5, and reached Montana on January 22. To reconfigure its first Oregon-originating load for Canadian specifications, Omega Morgan removed its frame and other supporting gear at the former Stimson mill site in Bonner, near Missoula, Montana, and is re-using it for its third megaload .
On Thursday, February 6, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) permitted the third Omega Morgan megaload to move across the state, as our Oregon comrades stood poised to file a lawsuit in Salem and to stage another strong anti-megaload demonstration at the Port of Umatilla [17-20]. But eastern Oregon winter weather advisories and storm warnings, heavy snow falling as far west as Portland and Seattle, and record-breaking sub-zero temperatures in Montana, during the first weekend in February, kept all three megaloads in Oregon and Montana.
The third Oregon Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands transport left the Port of Umatilla at 9:40 pm on Tuesday night, February 11, accompanied by almost 20 state and county police officers and cars, a paddy wagon, and undercover vehicles . Portland Rising Tide and allies made strong, advance appeals for well-arranged carpools and protests, which WIRT supported via facebook and email, but people did not show up [22, 23]. Two Umatilla tribal activists protected their homelands by monitoring the megaload frontlines on the first night, videotaping and documenting infrastructure and traffic abuses, and texting their publicly reported observations, displayed as WIRT and Portland Rising Tide facebook and website notes. Allies may utilize their information as evidence in the next phases of court actions to stop megaloads and tar sands development. The most recent behemoth moved on Highway 395 and Interstate 84, taking 40 minutes to turn sharply left from a bridge onto the interstate. Proceeding from Umatilla through Hermiston, Stanfield, and Pendleton, it parked just outside Pilot Rock before 3 am, obviously avoiding more of the scrutiny and nightly, load-side ceremonies of Umatilla tribal members in Pendleton.
On the previous day, Monday, February 10, Oregon anti-megaload comrades rallied at the Marion County Courthouse in Salem, Oregon, to support the legal megaload challenge of our amazing allies Walla Walla Chief Yellow Bird (Carl Sampson) and Peter Goodman of Act on Climate [24, 25]. On Tuesday morning, they filed a Petition for Review of Agency Order against the Oregon Department of Transportation in Marion County Circuit Court, asking the court to require ODOT to follow state laws obliging it to act in the public interest [26-29]. Goodman and Sampson assert that ODOT permitting of tar sands megaloads on state highways disregards and disrespects the concerns and consent of the sovereign Umatilla tribes and Oregon citizens and hastens global climate change. Because the associated bond would cost them millions of dollars if they lose their case, the petitioners could not request a temporary restraining order or injunction to stop the third Omega Morgan megaload from crossing Oregon.
ODOT does not think that it needs to consult the Oregon public in its decisions to grant megaload permits. It previously denied “party status” to Carl and Peter, who are now fighting for standing in court, to forward their lawsuit arguing that megaloads cause Oregonians harms and that permitting them is not in the public interest. They need (but cannot as plaintiffs ask for) many Oregonians to write and send public comments opposing megaloads to ODOT, Governor Kitzhaber, and state legislators, and to post those comments on their webpage ActOnClimate.net or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, so they can deliver them to ODOT and other officials. Please spread the word!
On the same day as ODOT issued the third megaload permit, February 6, earth protector and climate justice heroine Cathy Sampson-Kruse, a Walla Walla tribal elder and daughter of Chief Yellow Bird, successfully resolved her Umatilla County Circuit Court case regarding her act of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop the first Oregon Omega Morgan transport of tar sands equipment to Alberta . The ongoing courage, activism, and leadership of this grandmother and her sisters have inspired vigilance of megaload invasions and dozens of confederated Umatilla tribal protection ceremonies near parked transports in Pendleton and Umatilla.
 Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (December 15 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (December 15 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 ITD Issues Permit for Third Megaload through Southern Idaho (February 14 Idaho Statesman)
 Northwest Protests of Omega Morgan-Hauled Tar Sands Megaloads (January 25 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 New Megaload Route through Southern Idaho (Idaho Statesman map)
 Oil Patch Drives Local Demand Diesel (January 28 Big Sky Business Journal)
 Alberta Oilsands Facing Aboriginal Legal Onslaught in 2014 (January 2 Canadian Press)
 Alberta Tar Sands Operations (A) and Pollution Influxes to Lake Athabasca (B), Lake Claire (C), and Great Slave Lake (D) (February 11 Google Maps)
 Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Concerned of Megaload Shipment (January 2 Idaho State Journal)
 Council Won’t Let Megaloads Use Nyssa City Streets (February 12 Argus Observer)
 Can Clark Boulevard Handle the Megaload? (December 15, 2013 Argus Observer)
12] Idaho Deputy Gets the Boot for Criticizing Megaload Ticket Blitz (January 21 LewRockwell)
 Deputy Fired after Questioning Mass Ticketing during Traffic Jam (January 21 OpposingViews)
 Mega Mess Left at North Fork (January 24 Post Register)
 The Tortoise Trail (January 16 Advocates for the West)
 Third Megaload Starts Trip to Canada (February 7 KPAX)
 Oversized Load May Begin Moving Soon in Eastern Oregon (February 6 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
 Here We Go Again – Third Megaload Ready to Roll (February 6 Blue Mountain Eagle)
 Last Megaload Headed from Oregon to Canadian Tar Sands Region is Ready to Go, Weather Permitting (February 7 Oregonian)
 Third of Three Megaloads Set to Leave Port of Umatilla Friday Night (February 7 KNDU)
 Oregon Megaload Rally TONIGHT (Tuesday)! (February 11 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Rally Against the Third Megaload (February 6 Portland Rising Tide)
 Third Tar Sands Megaload Fuels Ongoing Controversy; Citizens to Confront Shipment (February 10 Common Dreams)
 Salem Stop the Megaloads Rally – Court Filing at the Marion County Courthouse (February 7 Act on Climate)
 Rally and Court Action Against Third ODOT Megaload Permit (February 10 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Megaload Opponents Take Oregon to Court, Demanding Public-Interest Test (February 11 Oregonian)
 Tribes’ Court Action Could Halt Megaload (February 11 Argus Observer)
 ODOT Megaload Permit Violates International Indigenous Peoples’ Consent Right (February 12 Last Real Indians)
 ‘Megaloads’ of Tar Sands Equipment Face Legal Challenges in Oregon (February 12 ClimateProgress)
 Port of Umatilla Megaload Blockader Charges Resolved (February 10 Civil Liberties Defense Center)
Filed under: Alerts, Oregon Resistance
February 12, 2014
Sent via email and attachment
Idaho Department of Lands
Boise Staff Office
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0050
Director Schultz and IDL staff,
On behalf of over 2200 members of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), I respectfully offer and request inclusion in the public record of these comments concerning the application submitted to the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) by Trendwell West, Inc. (“Trendwell”) requesting permits to drill the Smith 1-10 well, the first recently proposed oil or natural gas well in Canyon County, Idaho (LU600553 Trendwell West Application for Permit to Drill 2-12-14).
WIRT activists oppose permitting, drilling, and potential hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of the proposed Trendwell West Smith 1-10 well, due to the inadequacy and incompleteness of Trendwell’s plans submitted for public review and the potential impacts of the well and its development on human and environmental health and safety. Considering that corrections to the original, posted application, compelled by Trendwell’s non-compliance with the IDL instructions stated in the application, and additional documents such as the Surface Use Agreement, are currently missing and thus unavailable for public review during the comment period before potential IDL permitting of this application, we request that, if the Trendwell application to drill the Smith 1-10 well is modified or augmented in any way, the Idaho Department of Lands re-open the comment period for this application. Failure to post this revised application and re-open its public review violates section 51 of IDAPA 20.07.02 Rules Governing Oil and Gas Conservation in the State of Idaho.
We are also concerned that permitting and subsequent drilling of the proposed Smith 1-10 well would result in pollution of fresh water supplies, as described in section 50 of IDAPA 20.07.02 Rules Governing Oil and Gas Conservation in the State of Idaho, and thus would require IDL permit denial. Despite the precautions outlined on page 11 of this Trendwell application, entitled Site Preparation and explaining limitations on well and well pad discharges under normal operating conditions, no description appears in this application stating how Smith 1-10 well operators will handle accidental or incidental releases of polluting fluids or emissions that could contaminate the surrounding environment and inhabitants and the active, open, irrigation water canal that flows around three sides of the proposed well and well pad. Trendwell would drill the oil wildcat well, targeting a 5,200-foot-deep reservoir, only 400 to 442 feet from the nearest boundary line or center line of the D Line Black Canyon Irrigation District canal. Such proximity to irrigation structures ensures that any saturated soil conditions or flooding events involving the well pad and nearby irrigation water systems will impact the individual and shared rights and water resources of downstream water users. These potentialities and emergency contingency considerations are addressed nowhere in this application.
More troublesome, if not eventually legally undermining of any split-estate agreements, is the distance of Trendwell’s proposed Smith 1-10 well from downslope and down-gradient structures that substantively determine the value and insurability of the private property overlying subsurface mineral holdings of separate ownership. Trendwell’s apparently exploratory drilling endeavor would impose associated hazards only 450 feet from a domestic water well and 525 feet from an existing residential dwelling. Even in states long ravaged by oil and gas industry snafus, like Pennsylvania and Colorado, responsible local and state agencies have approved minimum setback distances of 1000 feet between wells and these crucial private structures. Considering the ongoing, on-site storage and utilization of chemical additives, caustic soda, and worker respirators, besides the usual slurry of volatile and toxic substances constituting most drilling muds, closer well development displays reckless disregard for peer-reviewed science that recommends half-mile setbacks, and demonstrates a perspective of Idaho citizens as collateral damage.
Obvious to only cursory examination, several components of this Trendwell application to drill the Smith 1-10 well appear absent. Enclosed maps do not show topographic contour lines around private structures and their downhill relationship to the well and possible paths that surface spills could take if they occur. None of the included maps clearly indicate the entire 720.876-acre Trendwell lease stated in the application or describe the position and size of the unit or portion designated for drilling and producing within the overall lease boundaries, as required by the IDL application instructions. Geological profile information is also inexplicably redacted, thus disallowing public deliberation of potential underground interactions between oil, gas, geothermal, and water reservoirs and well structures, which could compromise the integrity and viability of some or all of these resources.
WIRT members also question the placement of Trendwell’s proposed Smith 1-10 well so close to active geothermal resources being developed for electricity generation. Within the subsurface contexts of elevated temperatures over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, why would any driller expect “the potential for significant whole mud losses,…especially in the shallow hole intervals and through any volcanics”? In the fifth most seismically active state, placing well casings and cementing that, on average, typically deteriorate to the point of leaking within 30 years further threatens well integrity and the possibility of nearby groundwater contamination. Omitting descriptions of the locations and present conditions of aquifers and nearby water wells from this application for the proposed Smith 1-10 well could discount and risk pollution of fresh water supplies. Such neglect also violates section 50 of IDAPA 20.07.02 Rules Governing Oil and Gas Conservation in the State of Idaho.
The drilling plans and practices outlined in the Trendwell West application for a permit to drill the Smith 1-10 well ignore and jeopardize the clean water and air and environmental and human health and safety that predicates Idahoans’ vital and cherished quality of life. State agency decisions and officials paid to serve the public’s best interests should not compromise Idaho oil and gas laws to accommodate corporate and state profit and greed in counties without sufficient protective ordinances. Wild Idaho Rising Tide requests that the Idaho Department of Lands rejects, or at least requires revision and extended public review of, this Trendwell application, to ensure the best stewardship of Idaho’s priceless and irreplaceable mineral assets and the private and public resources their mismanagement could impact.
Thank you for your consideration of these comments and your accordingly responsive actions,
/s/ Helen Yost
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
Filed under: Idaho Fracking
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Umatilla tribal members monitoring megaloads tonight (Wednesday) between Pilot Rock and likely Ukiah, Oregon, need our on-site solidarity and cooperative work, for their safety constantly compromised by cops. See the monitoring notes about the Tuesday night megaload movement on the Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Portland Rising Tide facebook pages and below.
From Portland Rising Tide information:
The Oregon Department of Transportation permitted movement of the third Oregon megaload last week, just before a major regional snowstorm brought blizzard conditions up the Columbia Basin and snow to Lewiston area ports. But as the snow melts, Portland Rising Tide and allies expect the Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands transport to move tonight, Tuesday, February 11. They are hosting an anti-megaload rally at the Port of Umatilla, likely the last public opportunity in eastern Oregon to show tar sands profiteers that tribal and climate activists and Oregon citizens will not let them transform indigenous Umatilla homelands into a long-term, heavy haul route for dirty energy extraction equipment used to destroy the Earth and climate.
Please come prepared with warm clothes and rain gear for cold and rainy conditions, food and hot drinks, maps and protest signs and banners if you have them, and a plan for self-sufficiency and sleeping accommodations if you choose to stay overnight. Most rally participants will return to Portland or other places after the protest. Lowen is coordinating 3 pm ride shares converging outside the Cherry Sprout Grocery, 722 North Sumner Street in Portland. Eddie is arranging 3 pm carpools departing the Red and Black Café at 400 SE 12th Avenue in Portland. If you have space in your rally-bound vehicle or need a ride to participate, please stop by one of these locations and offer rides or gas funds for drivers. Meet for a pre-rally gathering at the Quality Inn conference room, 705 Willamette Street in Umatilla, Oregon, at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 11. Call Lowen at 503-407-8749 to discuss travel questions or issues.
Sign up for text message alerts and rally updates.
Share this message and links, and encourage your friends and family close to this event to attend:
Third Oregon Omega Morgan Megaload Monitoring Notes:
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Oregon megaload frontline reports: The third Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands transport left the Port of Umatilla at 9:40 pm tonight and is moving from Umatilla toward Hermiston, with 15-plus cop cars, a paddy wagon, and undercover vehicles. It is having difficulty making the turn from Highway 730 onto U.S. Highway 395. Ongoing updates soon! (10:20 pm)
Just a few Umatilla tribal activists are monitoring megaload movement and protecting their homelands, as the transport is now crossing Hermiston and Stanfield, just before 11 pm. They will document infrastructure and traffic abuses on the Highway 395 bridge over Interstate 84, where the behemoth must make a sharp left turn from the bridge. During the first transit, the convoy allowed other vehicles, including semi-trucks, to pass the 901,000-pound megaload parked on the bridge! (10:55 pm)
Police must have assumed that more protesters would converge in Umatilla, but a Portland Rising Tide activist said that uncertain and late megaload departure made getting people there on short notice difficult. Many police officers have questioned the identity and purpose of travelers near the convoy, while three to four undercover vehicles follow the megaload. (11 pm)
The megaload is almost at the Interstate 84 on-ramp turn after the Pilot truck stop. Although activists are safely out of range from impeding their police state area, three patrol cars have stopped by them. (11:40 pm)
On-site anti-megaload activists just shot a video that shows the transport taking 40 minutes to make a sharp left turn from the Highway 395 bridge onto Interstate 84. (12:30 am)
Megaload haulers let traffic go around the transport before turning, but they did not allow other vehicles on the interstate entrance ramp behind it. The convoy was next at the first exit off-ramp after the bridge near the Pilot, where it went around a too-low overpass and the first megaload encountered a protest. Police spotlighted monitors there. (12:40 am)
The megaload has been bypassing Interstate 84 bridges numerous times, as its weight damages on/off ramps. Around the site of the first Pendleton megaload protest, near the Highway 395 exit, Burger King, and first traffic signal on December 2-3, flagging vehicles are roaming up and down the steep Highway 395 hill that the transport must noisily struggle up to head south. (1:40 am)
Observers saw ODOT and flagger vehicles on Highway 395 in Pendleton, and still the megaload has not reached its parking spot. (1:45 am)
Unlike during the first Oregon megaload’s passage, activists did not project illuminated protest slogans and their shadows onto the load after it parked tonight. The wind was kicking in, as the megaload parked. Local activists will keep us updated and see what the sunrise brings for further actions. Maybe Portland allies can assist a load-side ceremony on Wednesday evening, if local folks wish to lead. Sending good energy from Nez Perce country (2:40 AM)
The third Oregon Omega Morgan megaload continued through Pendleton and parked just outside Pilot Rock before 3 am, obviously avoiding the scrutiny and nightly, load-side, protection ceremonies of Umatilla tribal members in Pendleton. The Umatilla community is suffering a sad, traumatic loss since Monday, so its few megaload monitors would appreciate some assistance. Nonetheless, they will keep all of us updated as the megaload moves again tonight. (9 am)
Filed under: Oregon Resistance
On Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Peo Peo Mox Mox Chief Yellowbird and Headman of the Walla Walla Tribe, Carl Sampson, and Peter Goodman, representing Act On Climate, filed a lawsuit in Marion County Circuit Court, a day after dozens of supporters gathered outside. Their case requests a court review of a permit issued by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for Omega Morgan to haul a third tar sands mining equipment megaload on eastern Oregon scenic highways passing through tribal lands.
Their “Petition for Review of Agency Decision” asserts that ODOT failed to meet its legal obligations to determine whether “the public interests will be served” before it granted the permit on Thursday, February 6, 2014. Federal and state laws mandate prior state government consultation with tribal governments, and Oregon statutes require ODOT determination of public interests, before issuing megaload variance permits. The plaintiffs do not believe that ODOT is following state laws restricting such permitting to reflect public interests, unless the department first provides formal opportunities for the public to comment.
“And now here we are in the middle of winter, with no formal notification, no tribal consultation, no information to our tribal members at our monthly council meetings, let alone our elected officials of the Board of Trustees or General Council, that not one, but three, monster megaloads are coming onto our ceded boundary lands,” said Chief Yellowbird, Carl Sampson. “How can this be? How can the trust of government-to-government relations that has been built over decades simply be ignored? Help me to understand.”
To bring public opinions opposing megaloads to ODOT’s attention, Goodman and Sampson requested “party status” as members of the public, which ODOT denied. This refusal and the lack of any process for public comments prevented public input before ODOT megaload permit issuance. Under current practices, ODOT only considers comments from the permit applicant and not from the Oregon public at large, whom it considers irrelevant parties.
Sampson and Goodman have continuously stated their position that these megaloads are not ordinary vehicles that ODOT can permit using routine practices established for normal oversize loads. They emphasize that these extraordinarily large industrial loads – longer than a football field and weighing up to 901,000 pounds – cause substantial harm to Oregon citizens and thus are not in the public interest. At the very least, they argue, ODOT should not be making associated unilateral decisions without processes for hearing public comments about whether these megaloads are in the “public interests.”
“We are dedicated to stopping the megaloads in Oregon, before they reach their destinations at Alberta tar sands mining operations, “explained Peter Goodman of the climate change resisting group Act On Climate. “Megaloads are not just another oversize industrial cargo. They are the tools needed to contribute to the dirtiest industrial energy project in the world. Either we rise to the occasion of megaload threats before us, or we participate, albeit passively, in our own extinction.”
“Help me explain this situation to my people, my children, and my grandchildren, who love the land, mountains, and waterways to which we have a sacred connection since time immemorial,” asked Chief Yellowbird of the Confederated Umatilla Tribes. “Help me understand why we, the people of this land, have not had a voice in such an important matter. Why did the Oregon Department of Transportation allow a variance permit of such magnitude and impacts on our sovereign and inherent treaty rights, allowing interruption into our ceremonial, cultural, social, and spiritual homelands, without regard to their significance to our people?”
Networking with a growing number of tar sands and megaload opposition groups, including tribal nations and environmental organizations, Act On Climate is working to alert the public to the importance and consequences of state actions taken on behalf of citizens, without any process for prior public input.
In this spirit of solidarity, the group hosted a demonstration called Salem Stop the Megaloads Rally and Court Filing at the Marion County Courthouse. Dozens of protesters assembled on the courthouse steps on High Street in Salem, Oregon, between 10:00 and 10:30 am on Monday, February 10. Holding signs and dressed warmly against cold and rainy weather, participants stood in support of Act On Climate and tribal allies, as they filed their petition in Marion County Circuit Court.
Act On Climate urges the public to send their mailed or emailed public comments and concerns opposing megaloads directly to Oregon Governor Kitzhaber and state legislators or to the ActOnClimate.net website, for delivery to ODOT. The activist group is collecting copies and posts of all such letters on their website or via email@example.com, to assist its court review. Pending legal actions, ODOT has invoked court rules requiring Act On Climate to convey all of its gathered public comments to ODOT through the agency’s attorneys. For more information, see the linked legal documents and/or contact Walla Walla Tribe and Act on Climate allies:
Carl Sampson 541-240-1832 firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Goodman 541-981-2882 email@example.com
Jim Powers 541-829-2114 firstname.lastname@example.org ActOnClimate.net
(Photos and videos available upon request)
Filed under: Oregon Resistance
On Thursday, February 6, 2014, climate justice activist Cathy Sampson-Kruse and her attorney, Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), successfully resolved her Umatilla County Circuit Court case regarding her act of nonviolent civil disobedience that attempted to stop an Omega Morgan transport of megaload equipment, on its way to Alberta tar sands mining operations on December 2, 2013.* Police arrested Cathy Sampson-Kruse while she put her body upon the roadway, causing the obscenely large equipment to temporarily halt its path of destruction. Ms. Sampson-Kruse, a Native American elder, grandmother, mother, and the daughter of Chief Yellowbird of the Walla Walla Tribe, has inspired her community and the climate justice movement. After county sheriffs roughly arrested her and attempted to degrade her spirit, she was charged with disorderly conduct and the legally meritless charge of interfering with police. On Thursday, Umatilla County Circuit Court followed the recommendation that she complete 20 hours of community service in exchange for a lesser violation conviction of disorderly conduct and dropped charges of interfering with police. Ms. Sampson-Kruse and her attorney, Lauren Regan, are both pleased with this outcome. Climate and tribal activists offer Cathy their gratitude, respect, and love, honoring her and all of the courageous regional protesters now and in the future, who prayed, sang, drummed, wrote, called, and supported Cathy’s and the movement’s shared spirit of megaload and tar sands resistance. For more information or to donate to CLDC in Eugene, Oregon, please see the CLDC.org website or contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Colin Murphey, Megaload Departs (December 3, 2013 Hermiston Herald)
Filed under: Oregon Resistance
The Monday, February 10, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by WIRT features Al Smith of Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) and Chris Wahmhoff of Occupy Kalamazoo. Al is the husband of Vickie Hamlin, who with Barb Carter and Lisa Leggio locked-down to construction equipment last summer, to protest expansion of the Enbridge pipeline that leaked the largest, non-marine, (tar sands) oil spill in U.S. history into the still unremediated Kalamazoo River. Likewise, Chris skateboarded deep into the same pipeline in June, to stall its development. All four are facing charges, some felonies with years in prison, and/or are being unjustly held in a Michigan jail. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
February 6, 2014
John Perry, Field Operations Engineer/Team Leader
Brent Inghram, Environmental Program Manager
Federal Highway Administration Idaho Division
3050 Lakeharbor Lane, Suite 126
Boise, Idaho 83703
Jason Minzghor, District 1 Operations Manager
Scotty Fellom, District 1 Business Manager
Idaho Transportation Department
600 West Prairie Avenue
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83815
Sent via email and attachment
Concerns and Comments about the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route
Mr. Fellom, Mr. Inghram, Mr. Minzghor, Mr. Perry, and all,
On behalf of concerned Idaho and Washington citizens, potentially impacted human and non-human residents along the proposed Mammoet USA South, Inc. (Mammoet) transportation corridor, members and allies of Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, and air, water, and soil quality, we the undersigned submit for the public record the enclosed and attached comments about the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive temporary overweight truck route and ramp (“project”) currently under review by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), per National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements.
According to ITD documents, we understand that Mammoet has requested ITD permits to haul three overweight equipment shipments (“megaloads”) three to four weeks apart, starting in February 2014, from the Port of Wilma, Washington, to Great Falls, Montana . To nominally minimize the disruption of rolling, night-time, route closures guided, if not guarded, by pilot and perhaps police vehicles, Mammoet’s latest 1.6-million-pound, 472-foot-long, 27-foot-wide, 16-foot-tall behemoths would again travel U.S. Highway 95 north to Interstate 90 (I-90), then move east through Coeur d’Alene on the interstate to the Sherman Avenue exit. Averting undue stress to the Veterans Memorial Centennial Bridge, the transports would alternatively drive 5.5 miles along East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive for approximately one hour, pass under the currently blocked I-90 overpass near Higgens Point, and re-enter Interstate 90 in the wrong direction, along a temporary on-ramp proposed for construction on the north side of the interstate.
Public records explain that this project would entail no construction along Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive or publicly accessible roadways, and that it would temporarily close I-90 for about ten minutes and remove six interstate concrete barriers on both sides of the westbound lanes, to facilitate access to the eastbound lanes after transport entry onto westbound lanes. Apparently, ramp creation would necessitate “minor” grading of a 300-foot by 100-foot area north of Higgens Point and the interstate. Surfacing this ramp with only gravel would bear the heaviest load ever attempted on this cross-Idaho route.
Because we the undersigned have been opposing transportation of tar sands and fossil fuel infrastructure components throughout the Northwest/Northern Rockies region since May 2010, we have directly experienced many of the detriments to our public resources and rights that these pursuits, especially by Mammoet, engender. Our state transportation department and responsible elected and appointed officials have not been responsive to our concerns about these transports. We are therefore co-writing and addressing this letter of concern to government agencies and representatives who may better consider and act to prevent the implications of this proposed Mammoet move and on-ramp construction for air and water quality, wildlife and habitats, the regional environment and inhabitants, and global climate.
Besides FHWA and ITD personnel in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, and Lewiston, Idaho, we the undersigned are sending this statement to Idaho Governor Otter, Kootenai and Latah county commissioners, the mayor and city councilors of Coeur d’Alene and Moscow, the Idaho departments of Environmental Quality and Fish and Game, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. departments of the Interior and Transportation, and two attorneys well-versed in transportation and megaload issues. Some of these agencies and citizens have advised against other highway expansion projects proposed by ITD, due to likely environmental impacts. We urgently encourage their response while Mammoet’s and ITD’s proposal package remains under review.
Construction and use of the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive temporary overweight truck route would have significant impacts on the environment, which would directly challenge our interests, both as organizations and as American, Idaho, and Washington citizens, including but not restricted to the following impacts.
1. On-Ramp Construction Impacts
Perhaps the most sensitive issues among these concerns are the purpose, construction, and continued use of the supposedly “temporary” on-ramp that would provide access for Mammoet to the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 from Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive. In their Notice of Public Meeting: East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route, Kootenai County, Idaho, printed in the December 13, 2013, Coeur d’Alene Press legal section, ITD and Mammoet suggest that this proposed, 300-foot-long and 100-foot-wide, “new, temporary on-ramp will be constructed on public right-of-way north of I-90,” and that “upon completion of transport of the three loads, the temporary access ramp will be abandoned” . Because the responsible agencies assume that no overlegal, oversize, or regular traffic would further utilize this access ramp, FHWA and ITD are likely following the NEPA protocol of a categorical exclusion for this project. But several circumstances indicate that this temporary Interstate 90 on-ramp could see ongoing and increasing passage of grossly overweight transports.
In the summer of 2009, ITD, with meager funds and management of some of the most dilapidated road and bridge infrastructure in the Northwest, inexplicably widened much of U.S. Highway 12, paved and added curbs to eleven gravel turnouts, and trimmed roadside trees. ExxonMobil subsidiary Imperial Oil stealthily spent $3.4 million improving another nine turnouts and moving private utility lines . That autumn, resident rumors began circulating that huge transports would soon invade the largest contiguous complex of roadless and wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers in the lower 48 states. Although five court cases in two states ultimately deterred most Imperial Oil use of Highway 12, its investment of re-construction costs and the unobstructed nature of the sparsely populated, overpass-free highway have attracted and/or accommodated a steady stream of other heavy equipment movers since mid-2011, as evidenced by media accounts and ITD public records obtained by various concerned citizen groups.
A persistent and insolent heavy haul corporation currently blocked from Highway 12 transit by a federal preliminary injunction, Omega Morgan has recently dragged two of three pieces of in-situ tar sands mining evaporators over most of a 1200-mile course circumventing Highway 12 via eastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and western Montana. When Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) asked its presenter, Eric Zander, at a recorded November 18, 2013, public meeting in John Day, Oregon, why his company did not carry these 900,000-pound loads up Highway 95 and Interstate 90, like the stranded, dismantled evaporator it transported in five parts along this route in October and November 2013, he replied that height and weight restrictions prevented a similar itinerary.
As the new route averting Nez Perce and allied resistance on Highway 12 proves too logistically difficult and expensive, emerging lawsuits in Oregon and Montana could also challenge or obstruct portions of this alternative overlegal vehicle path. With megaload sizes increasing, Interstate 90 bridges cannot fit their height but most critically cannot bear their weight. Together, these circumstances necessarily target the East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive bypass of I-90 bridges and allude to the probable permanent use of the Higgens Point “temporary” on-ramp as the crucial conduit for Pacific Rim-manufactured megaloads moving from West Coast ports to inland refineries, the booming Bakken shale oil fields, and the 80 percent of Alberta tar sands deposits too deep to surface-mine, requiring waste fluid evaporators and other colossal equipment for fracking-like extraction operations.
Because neither ITD nor Mammoet have declared that they intend to remove – only “abandon” – this temporary Interstate 90 on-ramp after movement of the three proposed loads, its construction creates an alluring incentive for repeated use of the proposed route and ramp. Pertinent regulatory agencies can anticipate aggressive corporate insistence on further maximization of these public resources. With ITD predictably obliging by issuing megaload permits that increasingly facilitate the emergence of a regional “high and wide” industrial corridor, construction of the on-ramp near Higgens Point would lead to significant impacts to the land use, planned growth, and environment of not just the immediate and connected area and entities as herein described, but of entire megaload routes – from their origins at ports in the Lewiston, Idaho, and Puget Sound, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver, Washington, areas, to their various destinations in Canada and the United States.
Thus, the Federal Highway Administration and Idaho Transportation Department should consider all of the significant impacts of the entire, proposed Mammoet haul and future transportation projects that the “temporary” ramp makes possible. Such analysis is compulsory – and more conclusively conducted with a NEPA environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, rather than a categorical exclusion – because the on-ramp in question holds no independent utility beyond its use as a megaload access point, most notably because it enters I-90 in the wrong direction. In the almost 24 years since construction of the interstate interchange at Higgens Point spectacularly failed, no road structures have similarly been built there for other purposes. But without this on-ramp establishment, Mammoet – and likely other heavy haulers – could not travel the Interstate 90 route with cargo that exceeds its bridge capacities.
Federal guidelines mandate that all highway construction, enhancement, or expansion projects minimize environmental impacts, while most fully utilizing existing roadway footprints. The Higgens Point temporary on-ramp proposed by Mammoet and ITD do neither. As explained in the following comment sections, the construction and use of this megaload route could unleash a plethora of significant environmental, social, and economic impacts within the project area, along the proposed and other connected, proven, overlegal shipment corridors, and at the origins and destinations of the transportation projects facilitated by this essential on-ramp component. Moreover, the project minimizes the full potential of the current roadway infrastructure by building an interstate access point purportedly only utilized by one heavy haul company on three occasions, without any further benefit to the public who unknowingly and unwillingly subsidizes Mammoet’s and ITD’s gamble with the significant impacts detailed herein.
2. Water Quality Impacts
This project, including its construction and overlegal load use of the “temporary” on-ramp, could result in significant impacts on the water quality of Coeur d’Alene Lake and surrounding surface and subsurface flows [4, 5]. The soil and slope stability of the land in the Higgens Point area where Mammoet intends to build this ramp has proven unreliable twice in the past, notably during similar Interstate 90 establishment and improvement projects . These unstable conditions, whether products of the high soil content of the substrate surrounding the interchange, the deep muck overlying the nearby lakebed, or previous, questionable, earth-moving projects, would be most vulnerable to collapse under heavy machinery during the periods of ground saturation from late winter snow-melt and the highest precipitation of the year in spring.
Although project planners assert that no wetland impacts could arise where the ramp would be built, the concave ground surface of the project area is obviously wet enough to require an existing storm drain pond and a proposed culvert and temporary fill ditch. Recent observers have noted patches of snow and standing water throughout the targeted on-ramp site. Regardless of the barrier of interstate structures between the majority of the planned construction zone and the lake, run-off and sediment displaced during on-ramp creation and megaload passage could inadvertently – or purposely, through the proposed culvert under the interstate – flow into the lake.
Moreover, Interstate 90 traverses the steep hillside at least a few hundred vertical feet above the traffic-blocked end of Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive and the lakeshore that parallels the proposed megaload route very closely throughout its course from the city to this underpass/on-ramp location . Such water body proximity could prove disastrous in the event of common megaload tip-overs in transit, like the at least three incidents that occurred within 500 miles over the last year . Accommodating 16-foot-tall, 1.6-million-pound transports by excavating height clearances under the interstate bridge at Higgens Point, constructing a purportedly short-term ramp with a minimum, weight-challenging grade on gravel, and moving 27-foot-wide, 472-foot-long megaloads over a short, angular distance to the wrong side of Interstate 90 appear both impractical and unreasonable, due to the necessary but obviously overlooked enormity of the project, provoked by the scale of the loads.
History infuses the project area with precarious conditions and relationships between natural and human forces:
Higgens Point is both an environmental treasure for the area and the site of an infamous environmental failure for ITD. In the early 1990s, ITD was attempting to build an interchange there, when a huge landslide sent two pieces of heavy earth-moving equipment and tons of gravel into the lake, right where kokanee spawn. As part of its penalties, to mitigate the damage, ITD expanded spawning beds all along the area and built the popular Centennial Trail.
Plus, federal authorities nixed the interchange the agency had been attempting to build, to connect the former freeway at Lake Coeur d’Alene Drive with the new one on the far side of the then-new high bridge. That’s why it’s now a popular recreation and wildlife viewing area with no through traffic.
The partly completed remains of that abandoned interchange are what will serve as the temporary on-ramp .
All of these circumstances forebode the strong possibility of road structure collapse and catastrophic slope failure beneath Mammoet’s excessively heavy megaloads on this proposed route, which could inflict subsequently significant impacts on water quality throughout a vast watershed . This accident could happen while the transport is moving along Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive or during its passage uphill, under, and entering Interstate 90 in the wrong direction just before Higgens Point. It could occur while megaloads cross the 1319-foot-long Blue Creek Bay Bridge built in 1951 or during their daytime layovers in the large parking lot at the end of Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, as mentioned by Warren ‘Chip’ Kachel at a January 15, 2014, Moscow, Idaho, public meeting [11-13]. This layover spot rests on unstable fill at the edge of the lake, disconnected from the higher, contoured, steep hillside above the interstate. Such a massive load of equipment falling into Coeur d’Alene Lake could significantly disturb and displace some of the millions of tons of toxic, heavy-metal mining waste deposited in the lake sediment by the Coeur d’Alene River, flowing from mountainous Silver Valley extraction sites since the late 1880s .
Placed on the national priorities list in 1983, the Bunker Hill mining and metallurgical complex in the Coeur d’Alene Basin, including the lake, constitutes one of the largest areas of historic mining operations in the world and consequently the second largest Superfund site in the nation. Mining, milling, and smelting activities have discharged into the basin’s air, surface water, soil, and groundwater contaminants such as antimony, arsenic, cadmium, copper, mercury, zinc, and especially lead, which significantly endanger human and environmental health. Approximately 70 million metric tons of toxic heavy metals lace the bottom of Coeur d’Alene Lake. Because resource managers and environmental regulators cannot realistically remove the thousands of submerged acres of polluted, heavy metals-laden, lake sediments, they and the public must minimize lake-bottom disturbance and sediment release into the overlying water. Disassembly and removal of a risky, heavy megaload that has tumbled into Coeur d’Alene Lake would jettison a hazardous, chemically-interactive plume of poison sediment that could significantly impact the water quality of nearby and downstream aquatic life, waterfowl and wildlife, wetlands and rivers, the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane Tribes, communities in two states, and hundreds of thousands of people in the vicinity .
3. Natural Resource, Economic, & Social Impacts
Road compaction and deterioration from transports weighing 1.6 million pounds, erosion of surrounding surfaces and underlying roadbeds, and run-off from ramp construction activities before, and road maintenance during, megaload movements could increase sedimentation and turbidity and decrease oxygenation in Coeur d’Alene Lake, which lies only short distances from the proposed Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive route of Mammoet’s overlegal loads. Accumulated sediment over the eggs of kokanee salmon, Chinook salmon, bull trout, and other federally protected endangered species and aquatic life in Coeur d’Alene Lake suffocates and/or compromises their development and eventual hatching that contributes to natural maintenance of viable populations of these fish and other species in the lake and surrounding basin . Diminishment of these species would additionally significantly impact resident and visiting mammals and birds – such as osprey, bald eagles, bears, and other wildlife – dependent on or benefitting from these food resources.
Every year during the winter months of November through February, coinciding with the timing of proposed megaload movement and on-ramp construction, migrating bald eagle populations feed from the shoreline trees on spawning and dead kokanee salmon in Coeur d’Alene Lake. Besides this annual occurrence in the Higgens Point vicinity, emblematic of the renown natural beauty of Coeur d’Alene Lake, the project area encompasses other important habitats and values for wildlife and recreation, which could be significantly impacted by the interference and disturbance imposed by this megaload route and on-ramp. Year-round wildlife and landscape observers, photographers, bikers, runners, skaters, skiers, walkers, and other recreational users enjoy the Centennial Trail, located between Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive and the lake shoreline. These locals and guests of the Coeur d’Alene community consider the project area “one of the most precious parts of this community” . Their associated recreation and tourism provide sustainable and growing sources of revenue upon which the regional economy depends.
Owners of businesses, homes, and land in the megaload route and ramp area have publicly expressed concerns that, if gargantuan transports frequent this emerging, permanent, industrial supply route, traffic patterns and development on the lake may drastically and harmfully change . They wonder about the aftermath and implications of megaload accidents and extended blockage of citizen and emergency vehicle access to Interstate 90 traffic lanes and exits and the numerous homes between the lake and Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive. They raise concerns about these huge transports crowding the narrow shoulders, damaging the road surface, colliding with roadside houses, or falling into the lake from Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, without Mammoet contingency plans and bonds. They ask about the cost/benefit analyses and types, durations, and hiring processes of regional jobs generated by this project. And they understand that proposed Interstate 90 ramp construction and overlegal shipment travel on this lakeside route probably represents more than a one-time situation, with ongoing megaload traffic significantly, negatively impacting all of these dynamics as well as Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive real estate values, home insurance, and megaload-induced road repairs covered by taxpayers. Although Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive has never accommodated extra-heavy loads, only light residential traffic since interstate completion decades ago, ongoing road deterioration without appropriate repair has been documented around Bennett Bay. The dimensions and weight of the proposed project transports would surely result in significant degradation and subsequent erosion of Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive.
4. Prior, Extensive, & Cumulative Impacts
Between April 11, 2011, and March 6, 2012, Mammoet hauled over 70 transports weighing up to 500,000 pounds on U.S. Highways 12 and 95 and Interstate 90 through northern Idaho, between the Port of Lewiston and Lolo or Lookout Pass and into western Montana. Until June 2012, it transported another 280 modules across Washington, Idaho, and Montana, from Interstates 5 and 405 or U.S. Highway 395 onto Interstates 90 and 15. All of these 350 megaloads passed through the Coeur d’Alene project area. Expensively and dangerously facilitated by the Idaho Transportation Department, state police, and private contractors, Mammoet’s Imperial Oil shipments imperiled the safety and schedules of travelers, while delaying, confusing, and blocking public highway access and traffic with their 16- to 24-foot, two-lane widths and lengthy, glaring cargoes and convoys. Transport operations caused personal injury and property damage through numerous accidents and collisions with vehicles, tree branches, and power lines, as they degraded highways with washboard ruts in lane centers, and pummeled saturated road beds, crumbling shoulders, and outdated bridges [17-20]. Concurrent, colossal, transportation ventures through the region, imposed by other haulers, crashed into cliffs and impeded public and private emergency services [21, 22]. Most recently – and potentially significantly for water quality along the proposed Mammoet Coeur d’Alene lakeside megaload route – ITD authorized application of 1000 gallons of de-icing fluid of unknown chemical composition, to assist the re-start and summit passage of an Omega Morgan shipment hindered for weeks by weather and permit complications on the Idaho side of Lost Trail Pass .
Citizens concerned about the lax state oversight and myriad impacts of these overlegal loads, who have monitored, documented, and protested dangerous convoy practices and conditions, have additionally faced unwarranted targeting, surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and arrest by state troopers and county and city police sworn to serve public safety, but who instead protect corporate interests that challenge Idahoans’ civil liberties and risk the health and wellbeing of people, places, and the planet . To date, police have arrested 61 Rising Tide allied climate and tribal activists and cited four more during over one hundred direct protesting and monitoring confrontations of this corporate take-over of public highways. They and thousands of regional community members can attest that Mammoet’s operations are anything but safe, as private profit consistently usurps public interests. During one fiscal year, Imperial Oil transports cost the Idaho Transportation Department $645,000 in administrative costs not covered by megaload permits, not to mention the millions of dollars that American taxpayers spend to repair public transportation infrastructure damaged by tar sands shipments .
ITD and Mammoet stated – and the engineering firm and bridge analysis consultants Forsgren Associates contacted our organizations to assure us – that the Montana Refining Company destination of these reactor vessels, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calumet Specialty Products Partners, would use the three pieces of a hydro-cracker “to create ultra-low-sulfur diesel to meet EPA Clean Air [Act] standards,” and that these transports would carry “no hazardous waste or chemicals” . However, we have researched and widely publicized that these 1.6-million-pound megaloads would triple the conversion of 10,000 barrels per day of Canadian heavy tar sands crude into Rockies transportation fuels. This crude oil arrives via pipelines and rail cars as 95 percent of the feedstock of this closest U.S. refinery to Alberta tar sands mining operations . Such hydro-cracking and hydro-treating pressure vessels, which split heavy hydrocarbon molecules and insert hydrogen under high heat and pressure, are essential to tar sands refining and production of lighter, valuable hydrocarbons like diesel fuel . As new and upgraded tar sands refineries proliferate in greater proximity to Alberta tar sands mines, the Northwest region can expect and resist more of these megaloads and their anticipated significant impacts on air quality, both in transit and at their destinations.
Raw Canadian bitumen (tar sands) characteristically contains large quantities of sulfur, released as more intense, under-regulated, toxic sulfur dioxide air pollution than from conventional oil refineries. Lower-income, minority, and disadvantaged populations living in ‘fence-line’ communities near these refineries disproportionately suffer the resulting, heightened health risks and impacts of increasing U.S. production of transportation fuels from bitumen blends. “According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), short-term exposure to elevated sulfur dioxide levels is associated with reduced lung function, chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, respiratory illness, deterioration of the lung’s defense systems, and the aggravation of cardiovascular systems” . Sulfur dioxide emissions aggravate conditions and diseases more common in refinery neighborhoods, such as asthma, cancer, and weakened heart and circulatory systems. With nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and related particulate matter degrade visibility and primarily cause the acid rain that decays building and vehicle materials and paints, acidifies surface water and aquatic environments, and damages sensitive forest soils, high-elevation trees, and vast ecosystems . By accommodating installation and utilization of the proposed Mammoet megaloads at their Great Falls tar sands refinery destination, the project route, ramp construction, and shipment movements would significantly impact and intensify these human and environmental health conditions.
Connecting Pacific-rim manufacturers to the North American interior, via the relatively cheap and easy Columbia and Snake River barge and lock transport systems reaching the farthest inland West Coast ports, federal highways across Idaho over the last three years have endured growing numbers, sources, and sizes of overlegal and oversize loads en route to Alberta mines or Montana refineries producing tar sands. Accordingly, these routes – and the critical link of the proposed Higgens Point on-ramp – enable and accelerate the significant impacts of Alberta tar sands mining and processing on public and environmental health and climate change. Considered the most expensive and destructive energy extraction project within the history and expanse of the Earth, exploitation of tar sands deposits inordinately poisons the irreplaceable air, water, and wildlife of First Nations lands and communities, exacerbates dangerously high atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, and other pollutants amplifying climate change feedback loops, and prolongs the flawed politics and economics buttressing worldwide addiction to fossil fuels, while impeding international agreements and sustainable energy solutions that reduce global warming [30, 31]. Consequently, the seemingly localized and transitory creation of this Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route foreshadows ominous, cumulative impacts that demand urgent, prudent, and responsible agency actions.
5. Requests & Recommendations
We the undersigned respectfully request that the Federal Highway Administration, Idaho Transportation Department, and other responsible agencies extend and expand their NEPA review and public involvement processes and periods, to fully investigate the broader impacts of the proposed Mammoet megaload ramp and route. Thus far, ITD information provision and opportunities for input regarding this project – both crucial to the public capacity for critical review and substantive comments – have been inadequate, incomplete, or purposely omitted. For instance, ITD held just one public open house about this project at the ITD District 1 office in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on December 19, 2013, and closed the public comment period ten days later on December 29, during the holidays and usual vacation times of concerned regional citizens. ITD and Mammoet offered documents outlining project plans and rudimentarily portraying the proposed on-ramp in a diagram only to public meeting participants, not online for the wider public. Despite formal public records requests by our organizations for all project documents on December 23, January 17, and over the last two months, the agency did not respond with some of this material that we belatedly obtained from other sources than ITD.
Considering all of the herein described and other possible significant impacts of the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route on the environment, natural resources, public infrastructure, and associated health, social, and economic conditions, as well as mandatory ITD and FHWA compliance with NEPA for this project, are these responsible agencies consulting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. departments of the Interior and Transportation, the Idaho departments of Environmental Quality and Fish and Game, and other pertinent agencies about temporary on-ramp and megaload route plans? We strongly recommend that the FHWA and ITD address the concerns and issues raised in these comments and that the appropriate cooperating agencies delay and/or deny project approval based on further review and analysis.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
Spokane Rising Tide
Kootenai Environmental Alliance
P.O. Box 1598, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83816
Friends of the Clearwater
P.O. Box 9241, Moscow, Idaho 83843
Pat Fuerst and Pat Rathmann
Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition
Pullman, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho
Cc: Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC
Victor Mendez, Federal Highway Administrator, FHWA, Washington, DC
Allison O’Brien, Regional Environmental Officer, U.S. Department of the Interior, Portland, Oregon
Mandy Lawrence, Regional Environmental Protection Assistant, U.S. Department of the Interior, Portland, Oregon
Cliff Rader, NEPA Compliance Division Director, EPA, Washington, DC
Susan Bromm, Office of Federal Activities Director, EPA, Washington, DC
Elaine Somers, Environmental Protection Specialist, EPA, Seattle, Washington
James Werntz, Idaho Operations Office Director, EPA, Boise, Idaho
Maria Lopez, Environmental Scientist, EPA, Boise, Idaho
Carla Fromm, Environmental Scientist, EPA, Boise, Idaho
Mark Robertson, Branch Chief – Consultation/CPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise, Idaho
Clay Fletcher, Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise, Idaho
Ben Conard, Northern Idaho Field Office Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Spokane, Washington
Juliet Barenti, Partners Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Spokane, Washington
Clement Leroy “Butch” Otter, Governor, Boise, Idaho
Cynthia Barrett, Surface Water Quality Manager, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Lewiston, Idaho
Virgil Moore, Director, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, Idaho
Mary Terra-Berns, Environmental Staff Biologist, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Ray Hennekey, Environmental Staff Biologist, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Lewiston, Idaho
Brian Ness, Director, ITD, Boise, Idaho
Sue Sullivan, Environmental Section Manager, ITD, Boise, Idaho
Victoria Jewell Guerra, Senior Environmental Planner, ITD, Boise, Idaho
Mike Hartz, Senior Environmental Planner, ITD, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Charlie While, Environmental Planner, ITD, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Kootenai County Commissioners
Latah County Commissioners
City of Coeur d’Alene Mayor and City Councilors
City of Moscow Mayor and City Councilors
Scott Reed, Attorney, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Natalie Havlina, Attorney, Boise, Idaho
Terry Hill, Spokane Rising Tide, Spokane, Washington
Adrienne Cronebaugh, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater, Moscow, Idaho
Pat Fuerst, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Pullman, Washington
Pat Rathmann, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Moscow, Idaho
And others who will receive these comments after initial letter transmission
 Idaho Transportation Department. “Mammoet Megaloads 2013-14 Public Records.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. January 10, 2014.
 Coeur d’Alene Press. “Legals December 13, 2013.” Coeur d’Alene Press. December 13, 2013.
 Elaine Williams. “Agency: New Turnouts Not Related to Oversized Loads.” The Lewiston Tribune. June 27, 2011.
 Idaho Transportation Department. “Megaload Ramp – ITD Public Meeting 12-19-13.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. December 19, 2013.
 Scott Reed. “Here Comes a Megaload of Trouble.” Coeur d’Alene Press. December 20, 2013.
 Associated Press. “Boaters Save Bulldozer Operator.” The Bulletin. May 18, 1990.
 Idaho Transportation Department. “Megaload Route – ITD Public Meeting 12-19-13.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. December 19, 2013.
 Rob Rogers. “Big-Rig Wreck Shuts down Highway, Requires Cranes for Clean-Up.” Billings Gazette. February 6, 2013.
 Betsy Russell. “Montana-Bound Megaloads Would Use Abandoned Higgens Point Interchange.” The Spokesman-Review. December 19, 2013.
 Idaho Transportation Department. “Scott Reed Comments.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. December 19, 2013.
 Uglybridges. “I 90 EBL over Coeur d’Alene Lake; Blue Creek Bay.” Uglybridges: National Bridge Inventory Data.
 KRFP. “Moscow City Superload Meeting – Uncut Part 1.” KRFP. January 20, 2014.
 KRFP. “Moscow Superload Meeting – Uncut Part 2.” KRFP. January 21, 2014.
 Coeur d’Alene Tribe. “Lake Management.” Coeur d’Alene Tribe. February 1, 2014.
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Bunker Hill/Coeur d’Alene Basin Operable Unit 3.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. August 9, 2011.
 Northwest Power and Conservation Council. “Coeur d’Alene Subbasin Overview.” Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
 Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “Highway 95 Megaload Accident.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide.
 Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “Moscow Megaload Collision.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide.
 George Prentice. “Mega-Load Snaps Power Line, Causing Outage Along U.S. 12.” Boise Weekly. April 12, 2011.
 Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “Highway 95 Damage South of Moscow 4-2-12.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. April 2, 2012.
 KREM. “Megaloads Hit Mega Snag, Again.” KREM. February 4, 2011.
 Alex Sakariassen. “Megaloads: The Long Night.” Missoula Independent. November 10, 2011.
 Laura Zuckerman. “Mega Mess Left at North Fork.” Post Register. January 24, 2014.
 Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “Media Release: More Charges Brought Against Tar Sands ‘Megaload’ Protesters in Moscow, Idaho.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. March 10, 2012.
 Bill Spence. “ITD Loses $645,000 Annually on Oversize Load Permits.” The Lewiston Tribune. January 24, 2012.
 Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “WIRT Newsletter: Wednesday Hearing/Action and Public Records/News about Tar Sands Refinery Megaloads.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. January 14, 2014.
 Dave Cooper. “Really Heavy Loads Hit the Highways in Alberta.” Edmonton Journal. February 4, 2014.
 Aaron Sanger. “Tar Sands Refineries: Communities at Risk.” ForestEthics. September 2012.
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Sulfur Dioxide.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. January 8, 2014.
 Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “Megaload Facts.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide.
 Wild Idaho Rising Tide. “WIRT Comments to the City of Moscow on Highway 95 Megaloads.” Wild Idaho Rising Tide. June 16, 2011.
Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Weather and road conditions will likely stop the Everett transport and/or a crane from moving WEST on Highway 12 tonight. Barely under the 16-foot-width limitations for Highway 12 megaloads established by the Forest Service, one or more singular shipments could regretfully move sometime this week or on Saturday, February 8, as originally projected. Friends of the Clearwater, Idaho Rivers United, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) are communicating with the Idaho Transportation Department, to obtain more information. WIRT is working with allies to convince federal agencies to not allow the proposed three Mammoet 1.6-million-pound loads to travel on Highway 95 and Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive.
February 3 Climate Justice Forum
The Monday, February 3, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by WIRT features Al Smith of Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) and Chris Wahmhoff of Occupy Kalamazoo. Al is the husband of Vicci Hamlin, who with Barb Carter and Lisa Leggio locked-down to construction equipment last summer, to protest expansion of the Enbridge pipeline that leaked the largest, non-marine, (tar sands) oil spill in U.S. history into the still unremediated Kalamazoo River. Likewise, Chris skateboarded deep into the same pipeline in June, to stall its development. All four are facing charges, some felonies with years in prison, and/or are being unjustly held in a Michigan jail. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.
Share Solidarity with Jailed MI CATS
WIRT shares deep respect and sadness with our valiant anti-tar sands comrades. On Friday, January 31, after a four-day trial of three brave and peaceful female activists, a jury found them guilty of misdemeanor trespassing and felony resisting/obstructing an officer. Judge Collette’s disdain for the defendants and their supporters refused to allow expert witnesses and documentation and revoked their bond. The increased police presence in the courtroom on Friday immediately took all three women into custody until their March 5 sentencing of possibly years in jail. Their acts of love, protection, and courage do not deserve such harsh treatment and felony charges. Vicci became a great grandmother last week, and Lisa expects a new grandchild this week. Visit the MI CATS website and facebook pages to find ways to share strength and solidarity with them. Please send to them handwritten, 4-by-6-inch postcards/index cards without images, mailed to the Ingham County Jail, 640 N. Cedar Street, Mason, MI 48854. Continent-wide resistance to tar sands, fossil fuels, and unfair corporations and “justice systems” will continue to grow!
Michigan Activists Face Up to 2 Years in Prison for Protesting Oil Pipeline Behind 2010 Spill (February 3 Democracy Now!)
Assist the Oregon Anti-Megaload Court Case
Leonard Higgins, one of WIRT’s three heroes who locked down or sat down to block Port of Umatilla megaloads on December 1 and 2, along with Jim Powers and colleagues of Act On Climate: Stop the Megaloads, has alerted us that they need hundreds of letters soon to support the Oregon anti-megaload court case! The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has rejected the notion that members of the public, other than the company that applies for a megaload permit, can have “standing” regarding that permit process. When they, as members of the public, asked ODOT to listen to their opinions that issuing permits for megaloads is NOT in the public interest, the department said that, because they have no “standing,” it did not have to consider their opinions.
ODOT claims that any permit they choose to issue IS in the public interest and that ODOT is the court of last resort. Our Oregon comrades disagree and assert that ODOT must have a public process and listen to the public BEFORE they determine whether megaload permits are in the public interest. In order to move ODOT in this direction, they will be filing a case in court, asking a judge to rule on this issue. In the meantime, they also need hundreds of Oregonians to write to Governor Kitzhaber, ODOT, and state senators and representatives, asking them to pressure ODOT with the same arguments.
To help our Act On Climate friends, please find a sample letter with contacts, written in Word so you can make revisions, and a four-page summary and a “Why We Care” paper, both with talking points for your letter, at the following link. Send a copy of your letter to Jim Powers at JimVsCO2@gmail.com, so he can track this letter-writing campaign. Also watch a full video of the January 22 Oregon megaload forum and its accompanying PowerPoint presentations at the same site. Jim says, “Thank you in advance for all your help on this. With luck and hard work, we will land a stone on Goliath.”
Filed under: Alerts, Climate Justice Forum
While Big Oil is hitting the region on all sides with megaloads these days, admired Nez Perce allies have been saying since Wednesday morning, January 29, that shipments hauled by Everett (Emmert that transported ConocoPhillips half coke drums?), not Omega Morgan, will attempt Highway 12 travel on February 8, through the Middle Fork Clearwater/Lochsa river corridor. Local people will assist by contracting their services, like Terry Jackson, the big, bad-tempered guy with the “Keep Idaho Green $$$” sign in Syringa, who raises wires and lines over the highway for thousands of dollars per job.
Groups like Friends of the Clearwater and Idaho Rivers United, who have been submitting ongoing public records requests, conveyed no awareness of this incursion when asked on Friday. The Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee (NPTEC), mostly arrested during August protests, has also said nothing about megaload plans. No one knows if these likely mammoth trucks are heading to purportedly cheap sources of oil and gas in the Alberta tar sands and Bakken shale fields. It is also unclear whether Everett is moving during the day, like the Vietnamese cylinder, or at night. Thus, planning street parties, human barricades, and civil disobedience with Nez Perce warriors, at the Clearwater River Casino or beyond, has been difficult. But people are mad as hell, willing to stand up to and/or chase the next interloper, while expecting tribal police to defend the Nimiipuu people and lands.
After a Mammoet truck was seen parked in Lewiston on Saturday, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) received a confirmed alert on Sunday morning that megaloads could be coming up Highway 12 on Monday. Because a federal court order and temporary injunction bans only Omega Morgan with rigs over certain dimensions from Highway 12, any company (even Omega Morgan with smaller loads) could slither through the Nez Perce Reservation. We scouted all three Lewiston area ports at dusk on Sunday, missing opportunities for photos. Activists saw nothing except a Mammoet truck hooked up to one of the 1.6-million-pound megaloads, with its nose outside the gate, and three trucks in the former Omega Morgan lot at the Port of Wilma. Like the previously mentioned cylinder, this sneaky Monday load could be traversing Washington via rural routes.
While WIRT and allies prepare a statement of concern for federal agencies, about Mammoet’s “Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route,” we wonder: If the Federal Highway Administration rejects the Idaho Transportation Department’s and Mammoet’s Highway 95 scheme, would they try to run their three behemoths up Highway 12? Corporate/government shell games are not uncommon in Idaho! So supposedly we should all pose for President Obama and Big Green on Monday evening, February 3, while unknown megaloads rush up a controversial but cherished, wild and scenic river road through Nimiipuu homelands? And while courageous grandmothers who physically confronted expansion of the leaky pipeline source of the largest, non-marine, (tar sands) oil spill in the U.S. unjustly languish in a Michigan jail? No, thanks, find some other posers. We need climate protesters and tribal protectors on high alert and on the frontlines!
Filed under: Alerts
Highway 95 Damage South of Moscow 4-2-12 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)
Between April 11, 2011, and March 6, 2012, Mammoet hauled over 70 transports weighing up to 500,000 pounds on U.S. Highways 12 and 95 and Interstate 90 through northern Idaho, between the Port of Lewiston and Lolo or Lookout Pass and into western Montana. Expensively and dangerously facilitated by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), state police, and private contractors, its risky Imperial Oil megaloads imperiled the safety and schedules of travelers, while delaying, confusing, and blocking public highway access and traffic with their 16- to 24-foot, two-lane widths and lengthy, glaring cargoes and convoys. Transport operations caused personal injury and property damage through numerous accidents and collisions with vehicles, tree branches, and power lines, as they degraded highways with washboard ruts in lane centers, and pummeled saturated road beds, crumbling shoulders, and outdated bridges [1-3]. Concurrent, colossal transportation ventures through the region, imposed by other haulers, crashed into cliffs and impeded public and private emergency services [4, 5].
As Mammoet again targets Highway 95 with the heaviest (1.6-million-pound), longest (474-foot), and widest (27-foot) tar sands megaloads ever to traverse Idaho, perhaps in February 2014, Wild Idaho Rising Tide releases these photos taken heading north like transports on the seven-mile stretch of the highway south of Moscow, Idaho, on April 2, 2012. They depict washboard grooves in the middle of lanes, rippled center lines and areas, and cracked and stripped pavement layers on Highway 95, all inflicted by Mammoet’s Imperial Oil transports between July 2011 and March 2012. Most recently – and significantly for water quality along the proposed Mammoet Coeur d’Alene lakeside megaload route – ITD authorized application of 1000 gallons of de-icing fluid of unknown chemical composition, to assist the re-start and passage of an Omega Morgan shipment hindered for weeks by weather and permit complications on the Idaho side of Lost Trail Pass .
 Highway 95 Megaload Accident (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Moscow Megaload Collision (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 George Prentice, Mega-Load Snaps Power Line, Causing Outage Along U.S. 12 (April 12, 2011 Boise Weekly)
 Megaloads Hit Mega Snag, Again (February 4, 2011 KREM)
 Alex Sakariassen, Megaloads: The Long Night (November 10, 2011 Missoula Independent)
 Laura Zuckerman, Mega Mess Left at North Fork (January 24, 2014 Post Register)
Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads, Photos
The Monday, January 27, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features Montana climate activist Carol Marsh, one of three grandmothers who twice sat down and blockaded an Omega Morgan tars sands megaload in Missoula’s Reserve Street on the nights of January 22 and 24. 71-year-old Carol talks about past and recent Missoula tar sands megaload and pipeline protests, her and our comrades’ associated arrests and citations, Alberta tar sands mining operations, impacts, and regional overlegal shipments, and global climate change. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Megaload One: Full Evaporator
1) Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) & Allied Protest & Monitoring: October 22, 2012 (Lewiston/Highway 12, Idaho)
2) WIRT & Allied Monitoring: October 23, 2012 (Highway 12, Idaho)
Mini-Megaloads Two & Three: Cylinders
WIRT Missed: December 3 & 4, 2012 (Highway 12, Idaho)
Megaload Four: Full Evaporator
3-6) Nez Perce Tribe & Allied Protests: August 5 to 8, 2013 (Highway 12, Idaho) 28 Arrests
7) Northern Rockies Rising Tide & Allied Protest: August 12, 2013 (Reserve Street, Missoula, Montana)
Mini-Megaloads Five to Eight: Dismantled Evaporator Outer Parts
8) WIRT & Allied Protest: October 15, 2013 (Washington Street, Moscow/Highway 95, Idaho)
Megaload Nine: Dismantled Evaporator Core
9) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 10, 2013 (Washington Street, Moscow/Highway 95, Idaho)
10) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 11, 2013 (Sherman Avenue, Coeur d’Alene/Interstate 90, Idaho)
11) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 12, 2013 (Front & Bank Streets, Wallace/Interstate 90, Idaho)
Megaload Ten: Dismantled? Evaporator Core
12) WIRT & Allied Meeting Disruption: November 18, 2013 (John Day, Idaho)
13 & 14) WIRT & Allied Protests: November 24 & 25, 2013 (Port of Umatilla, Oregon)
15 & 16) Portland Rising Tide & Allied Protests & Monitoring: December 1 & 2, 2013 (Port of Umatilla/Highway 395, Oregon) 3 Arrests
17) Rising Tide Seattle Protest: December 3, 2013 (Omega Morgan office, Fife, Washington)
18) Umatilla Confederated Tribes Protection Ceremony: December 3, 2013 (Pendleton, Oregon)
(Several more Umatilla Confederated Tribes Protection Ceremonies)
19) Umatilla Confederated Tribes Protection Ceremony & Monitoring: December 10, 2013 (Pendleton/Highway 395, Oregon)
20) Portland Rising Tide Protest: December 12, 2013 (Omega Morgan office, Hillsboro, Oregon)
21) Rising Tide Seattle Protest: December 12, 2013 (Resources Conservation Company International office, Bellevue, Washington)
22) Portland Rising Tide & Allied Protest: December 16, 2013 (John Day, Oregon) 16 Arrests
23) Portland Rising Tide Protest: December 20, 2013 (Oregon Department of Transportation, Portland, Oregon)
25) WIRT & Allied Protest: December 28, 2013 (Marsing, Idaho)
26) WIRT & Allied Protest: December 30, 2013 (Timmerman Junction, Idaho)
29) Indian Peoples Action & Allied Protest: January 21, 2014 (Missoula, Montana) 1 Arrest
Megaload Eleven: Dismantled? Evaporator Core
24) Umatilla Confederated Tribes/Portland Rising Tide Protection Ceremony: December 23, 2013 (Pendleton, Oregon)
27) WIRT & Allied Protest: January 6, 2014 (Mountain View, Idaho)
28) WIRT & Allied Protest: January 7, 2014 (Timmerman Junction, Idaho)
30) Indian Peoples Action & Allied Protest: January 23, 2014 (Missoula, Montana) 1 Arrest, 2 Citations
Megaload Twelve: Dismantled? Evaporator Core
Still unpermitted/unlaunched: January 25, 2014 (Port of Umatilla, Oregon)
Filed under: Oregon Resistance
At 12:30 am on Friday morning, January 24, a convoy of pilot and flagger vehicles, state, county, and city police escorts, and a 804,000-pound transport of tar sands mining equipment hauled by Portland, Oregon area-based Omega Morgan hesitantly rolled down Reserve Street in Missoula, Montana, and ground to a halt. For a third night, about sixty mostly indigenous people from Missoula, Butte, Helena, and all over Montana and Canada sprang from the sidewalk near Central Avenue and filled the five-lane width of Reserve Street with singing, drumming, and round dancing. Police respectfully backed off and stood by, letting the ceremony symbolizing solidarity and friendship continue for 10 to 15 minutes, while dozens of the vehicles and workers facilitating ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos idled all around the beautiful circle. Together with the spirits of the Earth, ancestors, and elders, the strong prayers and actions of the Salish, Cree, Anishinabe, Blackfeet, and Cheyenne people who participated in person or from afar impressed everyone who heard the songs and watched the round dance. A handful of drummers and singers – Amanda, Charles, Lionel, Q.J., and others – led two rounds of dancing around them, before the joyous blockaders slowly vacated the street.
As police encouraged the protesters to move toward the sidewalk, Charles stepped forward toward the convoy vehicles and police to speak for a few moments. Three heroic grandmothers and friends, Claudia Brown, Gail Gilman, and Carol Marsh, stayed behind and sat in the road. Police cited and released Gail and Carol, and arrested, booked, and released Claudia on bail. As the tar sands megaload convoy resumed progress toward the most destructive and expensive, fossil fuel extraction project on Earth, a young Native woman smudged its passage, and drumming, singing, and praying blessed the cool night air with hope that the injustices, devastation, and resulting climate change of tar sands exploitation will soon stop. After Reserve Street cleared, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) videotaped Missoula city police issuing citations to two of the grandmothers, and interviewed Carol and Gail, to discern and share their motivations for responsibly blockading tar sands supply shipments. Their courageous acts mark almost four years of similar on-the-ground resistance staged by tribal, climate, and conservation activists in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington since April 2010.
WIRT and our allies admire the determination, organization, and community spirit of Indian Peoples Action, Blue Skies Campaign, and Northern Rockies Rising Tide, who coordinated the Thursday night round dance blockade and have been standing up to this industrial juggernaut and bringing awareness of tar sands production and transportation damages to the public for years. We appreciate the mutual support, input, and opportunities for cross-state neighbors to confront the unnecessary invasions of Big Oil. As we anticipate future, peaceful, tar sands protests around the region, wild Idahoans will carry the inspiration of this week’s amazing experiences into impending demonstrations against Highway 95 megaloads soon (but ideally never!) tripling a Great Falls tar sands refinery’s output. After their Friday morning court hearing and fines that have cost them each a few hundred dollars, Carol, Claudia, Gail, and our Montana comrades are gratefully accepting contributions toward their legal and travel funds, as checks written to Carol Marsh or Indian Peoples Action and sent to Wild Idaho Rising Tide at P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843. Idle No More!
Filed under: Oregon Resistance, Videos
State highway signs tell travelers that Idaho is too great to litter.
But apparently not all users – or managers – of Idaho roadways have gotten the message.
In a roadside pullout north of Salmon that drains to the North Fork of the Salmon River, a giant rig loaded with oil field equipment bound for the tar sands of Canada sat for two weeks. After it was gone, several locals and environmentalists raised concerns about what was left behind.
The megaload got moving again with some help from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), which applied 1,000 gallons of de-icer on ice at the pullout, to help get the load moving again.
News of the state’s use of de-icer along a stream with designated critical habitat for threatened fish, such as Chinook salmon, surfaced earlier this week after the megaload, hauled by Oregon shipper Omega Morgan, crossed Lost Trail Pass and entered Montana.
The 901,000-pound load of General Electric equipment had been parked in a pullout on U.S. Highway 93 North near Gibbonsville, waiting for proper permits and cooperative weather on the last leg of a weeks-long journey through Idaho that saw it cut through such cities as Arco, Leadore, and Salmon.
An inspection of the pullout in Lemhi County on Tuesday, where the outsized rig had rested from January 5 to 19, showed patches of ice and snow stained blue by an unknown substance, a load of sand, several piles of human waste, and shop rags smeared with what appeared to be feces.
Kevin Lewis, conservation director for Idaho Rivers United, said apparent practices at the pullout raised questions about the state highway department and Omega Morgan.
“These are sloppy, inappropriate things to be doing next to a creek,” he said. “ITD should know better, and their permit-holder should know better. This is not how we treat our rivers and streams and not the way we should treat Idaho.”
ITD spokesman Adam Rush confirmed after checking with local highway officials that 1,000 gallons of de-icer was applied at the pullout.
“They let me know that nearly 1,000 gallons of salt brine was applied to one of the Omega Morgan equipment shipments, after snow and ice accumulated in the pullout,” he said in an email.
Asked about the possible runoff of the de-icer into a river prized for its fish, including bull trout and steelhead, Rush said it posed no harm.
“There won’t be environmental impacts or other impacts,” he said.
He said there were no additives or dyes in the de-icer, leaving no clues as to what had left some snow stained blue.
State and federal regulators said they received reports on Tuesday about an apparent chemical spill or dump at the pullout, but wouldn’t confirm whether the matter was under formal review.
On Wednesday, the site was bulldozed by ITD crews as part of “routine maintenance,” Rush said. The treated snow and ice, as well as a load of sand and other debris, were pushed off the pullout and onto a steep bank of the North Fork of the Salmon River.
On Thursday, Rush retracted his statement that 1,000 gallons of de-icer was applied to the pullout, and said the mixture was applied along 55 miles of roadway, as well as the pullout. He estimated that 20 gallons were applied at the Omega Morgan parking site.
That conflicts with accounts by other ITD officials about the amount of de-icer used and why it was necessary.
Jeff Eagle, maintenance foreman for the ITD office in Salmon, said the 1,000 gallons were applied at the pullout, because Omega Morgan damaged one of three trucks that move the load, after failing to gain traction.
“The trucks kept spinning on the ice; it tore up a truck,” he said. “It was probably 1,000 gallons we put down there. It’s a long turnout, so it takes quite a bit.”
Omega Morgan spokeswoman Holly Zander said the company did not use any de-icer or sand at the pullout, but “simply waited the weather out until the roads were clear enough that we were able to continue our travels safely in accordance with our permit.”
Asked about the piles of human waste, ITD’s Rush said they may not have been tied to the megaload’s layover. Zander said the piles were not related to Omega Morgan workers.
“This is absolutely, without any doubt, not the result of our crew. Behavior of that sort is not only disgusting but highly unprofessional,” she said. “There has been a very high interest in this move, and we’ve attracted some onlookers while we are parked on the side of the road, and in this case, it was for many days.”
Idaho did not require a bond for the super-sized shipment, one of two that crossed into Montana in recent days. The transportation department has not required a spill-prevention plan for the megaload, and no permits were issued for any chemical or hazardous releases, officials said.
(By Laura Zuckerman, Post Register)
Filed under: Oregon Resistance