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Wild Idaho Rising Tide
Monday, July 6, marks the second anniversary of the tragic Lac Mégantic, Quebec, oil train catastrophe that killed 47 people in 2013. Despite dozens of almost as horrifying, fiery disasters over the last two years, the oil industry continues to dramatically expand Alberta tar sands and Bakken crude oil train transport throughout Canada and the United States. There is no safe way to transport such explosive oil and, with carbon and associated toxic pollution rising, oil trains wreck public and environmental health and safety and the global climate of communities across the continent.
The tragic Lac Mégantic accident grimly reminds us all that Big Oil will stop at nothing to extract, transport, and burn every drop of oil in the ground. Its primary northern Idaho/eastern Washington haulers, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) carrying fracked Bakken shale oil and Union Pacific Railroad moving Alberta tar sands dilbit through the Sandpoint, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, areas, discount the communities they transgress with hazardous loads. Recent, industry-friendly, federal regulation revisions will not check their recklessness. The risks, costs, and millions of lives within the mile-wide, bomb train blast zones along their paths to profit around the Pacific Rim represent only collateral damage to the oil and railroad industries.
In July 2014, thousands of concerned citizens gathered at 63 events for the first Stop Oil Trains Week of Action, including multiple protest and outreach actions in Sandpoint and Spokane . As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies continue to actively oppose Alberta tar sands and Bakken shale oil exploitation and train and pipeline transportation, we refuse to let Big Oil play Russian roulette with our families, friends, homes, businesses, and climate! On July 6 to 12, 2015, people across North America are defending their communities and climate, to halt extreme energy in its tracks and end the oil and rail industries’ pipeline on wheels . We will call attention to the growing threat of oil trains, as we demonstrate the growing power of our movement, organizing more than 100 events across the U.S. and Canada, which demand an immediate ban on oil trains.
Please join WIRT and allies at local demonstrations during the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action, and/or host or attend an event in your vicinity between July 6 and 12. Together with climate, environmental, and social justice activists across North America, we are organizing various tactics and resources to stage powerful and effective actions and documenting them with photos, videos, audio, and social media, to defend and protect frontline, rail corridor communities and our shared climate. Stand with residents of Lac Mégantic and other communities in the crosshairs of Big Oil, to stop oil trains this July, by participating in one or all of these five actions.
Monday, July 6:
Eric De Place on the Climate Justice Forum
On the July 6 Lac Mégantic bomb train disaster second anniversary, the Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide gratefully welcomes Sightline Institute policy director Eric de Place. As the keynote speaker of the educational panel presentations and discussions on oil and coal transport and export held in Spokane and Sandpoint on June 23 and 24 and recently throughout the Northwest, Eric will talk about increasing fossil fuel rail traffic and proposals for new and expanding facilities across the region. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ .
Friday, July 10:
Message Projection & Candlelit Solidarity Vigil
Bring your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, spirit of resistance, and protest signs, and honor the 47 residents lost in the July 6, 2013 Lac Mégantic, Quebec, oil train tragedy. Meet us at 8 pm on Friday evening, July 10, in or near the parking lot beside Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters, 524 Church Street in Sandpoint, for a 15-minute light projection of social and climate justice messages onto the nearby grain silos. After this light show, we will move to the corner of North Fifth Avenue/U.S. Highway 2 and Cedar Street, for a candlelit solidarity vigil, commemorating the all-species victims of oil train derailments, explosions, and fires, and another, brief, light message projection session from an undisclosed location.
Saturday, July 11:
Blast Zone Outreach & Oil Train Protest
Between 9 am and 3 pm on Saturday, July 11, WIRT activists and concerned area citizens will visit with passersby and distribute informational flyers and material about oil trains and facilities, while marking the one-mile-wide, oil train blast zone with chalk and posters in downtown Sandpoint . Find us outside the Farmers’ Market at Sandpoint, from 9 am to 1 pm near Farmin Park at Third Avenue and Oak Street, and/or on the Bridge Street bridge, enjoying the canoe, kayak, and paddleboard races of the Great Sandpoint Flatwater Regatta starting at 10 am in Sand Creek, and/or along the Sandpoint Boardwalk and Marina in downtown Sandpoint, observing the annual Parade of Boats on Sand Creek and the Antique and Classic Boat Show between 10 am until 3 pm.
At 12 noon on Saturday, July 11, WIRT and allies will stage a marching rally, mobilizing the Sandpoint community to protest oil trains. Both BNSF and Union Pacific are implementing and proposing major infrastructure changes at and around the Sandpoint “funnel” rail bottleneck. BNSF plans to build a second rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille, north of the present bridge and visible from Sandpoint City Beach Park, to accommodate the reckless endangerment imposed by the current 16 to 19 mile-long unit trains transporting highly volatile crude oil through the region every week and additional such trains and their impacts in the future [5, 6]. We will march from the clock at Farmin Park, up North Third Avenue to Cedar Street, following it to Bridge Street and City Beach. At our destination in the park, we will perform a creative, public theater protest, highlighting the park’s isolated vulnerability if a bomb train ever exploded near downtown Sandpoint.
Join the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action!
We need each of you by our sides during this week of continent-wide actions, as the people of Lac Mégantic urge everyone’s participation [7, 8]. Gather with us on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, to engage and involve more community members in demanding an immediate ban on oil trains. Please RSVP to let us know that you will be helping these actions, by responding to WIRT through the enclosed contact channels or by signing up through the constantly updated Action Network interactive map link to the WIRT event page . We welcome your questions and suggestions about these events, as we thank each of the Sandpoint and Spokane area WIRT activists and allies who have provided invaluable information, connections, ideas, action design, and on-the-ground support for the Sandpoint Stops Oil Trains Week of Action! PLEASE JOIN US THIS WEEKEND!
 Idaho Week of Actions Against Bomb Trains (July 2, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Stop Oil Trains Week of Action: July 6 – 12, 2015 (ForestEthics)
 KRFP Radio Free Moscow (KRFP Radio Free Moscow)
 Oil Train Blast Zone (ForestEthics)
 Wednesday Sandpoint Oil/Coal Train Forum & Other Events (January 12, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 WIRT Newsletter: Recent Idaho & Montana Oil & Coal Train Issues (January 14, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Lettre aux Militants (June 29, 2015 Jacques Gagnon, Comité Citoyen de la Région du Lac-Mégantic)
 Le Carré Bleu Lac-Mégantic (facebook community page)
Filed under: Alerts, Coal/Oil Trains/Ports
On the July 6 Lac Mégantic bomb train disaster second anniversary, the Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide gratefully welcomes Sightline Institute policy director Eric de Place. As the keynote speaker of the educational panel presentations and discussions on oil and coal transport and export held in Spokane and Sandpoint on June 23 and 24 and recently throughout the Northwest, Eric will talk about increasing fossil fuel rail traffic and proposals for new and expanding facilities across the region. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
WIRT Newsletter: BLM Oil & Gas Lease Protest Report & Postponed State Auctions, Integration Applications, & WIRT Meetings
July WIRT Meetings
We have rescheduled the twice-monthly Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) potluck/pizza meetings in July, due to the Fourth of July holiday and July/August WIRT availability in Sandpoint. Please join WIRT activists at 7 pm next Thursday, July 9, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho, and at 7 pm on Saturday, July 18, at Second Avenue Pizza, 215 South Second Avenue in Sandpoint, Idaho. WIRT and allies are scheming multiple summer events expanding the movement against extreme energy, through powerful convergences, training camps, and direct actions for a livable future. Please visit often the constantly updated Events Calendar on the WIRT website and/or contact WIRT for the descriptions, logistics, carpools, and directions to climate justice activities in the inland Northwest region . Get involved in emerging, grassroots, fossil fuels resistance and solidarity with our comrades across the continent, confronting the root causes of climate change!
State Oil and Gas Lease Auction Postponed (Again)!
Throughout 2015, WIRT has been promising, preparing for, and posting about our planned protest of the next auction of oil and gas leases on state lands and minerals by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL). The IDL website now notes that “this [July 1] auction has been postponed [for the fourth time this year (January, April, June, and July)!] until the fall of 2015, with an exact date to be determined [October 21, 2015?]. Information on the auction is subject to change.”  Idaho has leased none of its public holdings for oil and gas exploitation this year!
Drilling Unit Integration Applications Stalled!
Another Idaho gasland “set-back” for oil and gas developers Alta Mesa! The 21-day period for formal public comments and responses from impacted land and minerals owners to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ended on June 29 and 30, for two Alta Mesa Services applications for integration (forced pooling by the state of non-compliant, private, potential oil and gas leasers), dated June 8 and 9. But according to the Idaho Department of Lands website, “IDL requested additional information from the applicant, and an amended application is expected . The applications posted here are for public informational purposes only and are not being considered by IDL or the Commission at this time.” Congratulations to our southern Idaho comrades for their great work in holding off the gashole frackers! [4, 5]
Idaho BLM Oil and Gas Lease Protest Report
At a public auction in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday, May 28, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased 6,349 acres in the Little Willow Creek watershed in Payette County for oil and gas exploration drilling [6, 7]. A lone Wild Idaho Rising Tide protester clad in an organizational T-shirt attended the auction, confronting the BLM with every question she could muster, witnessing possibly rigged, procedural discrepancies, and learning that allies had filed complaints of which few people aware .
Three bidders expressed intentions to participate in the lease sale, including Houston, Texas-based Alta Mesa, who purchased Bridge Energy’s eleven Payette County wells drilled in 2009-10 and drilled another eight wells since July 2013. But only two companies registered to bid, and some observers asked if non-participating Bidder 1, Alta Mesa, is connected to the auction’s Bidder 3, Reagan Smith Energy Solutions, an Oklahoma oil and gas consulting company . WIRT unintentionally met Bidder 2, the Kauffmans of Payette, Idaho, during our first entrance and sign-up for admission to the auction, when we overheard BLM staff saying that they expected protesters, to which we responded, “Yeah, one…” When we considered registering to bid, Randy Kauffman joked that anyone can bid, if they have the money. We replied, “Screw money, the root of all evil.”
Waiting for the auction to start and other protesters to arrive, WIRT read the auction materials in the outside court yard. Upon re-entry, BLM staff hassled the solitary WIRT activist about an expired driver’s license, attempting to turn away another protester, like the one whom we later learned had forgotten to bring her photo identification but not her donated protest signs . After producing a Social Security card and asserting that we rarely drive, the BLM illegally searched protester personal gear, a backpack within view and a computer case simultaneously beyond reach and sight. BLM officials also insisted on protesters following procedures like wearing “Visitor 5/28/15” name tags, which we reluctantly stuck on a WIRT shirt and responded: “Yeah, the same rules that keep everything f**ked up.”
In the registration hallway, the auction room, and even among final lease payment transactions, WIRT pestered BLM staff with questions such as: “Which minerals are available in the parcels for lease? Where is this information publicly available? Will oil and gas drilling be allowed in parcels B, C, D, and E? Are the BLM and bidders aware that nearby Alta Mesa wells may already be flaring and draining publicly-owned, BLM oil and gas, as documented by activist photos since September 2014? Why is the BLM offering these leases before release of its final Four Rivers Resource Management Plan, which could modify lease stipulations? How close is sage grouse habitat to these lease parcels? How will this habitat affect activities on the lease parcels? What became of the WildEarth Guardians protest and appeal? Why did the BLM not record the auction?” (A WIRT activist could not record, photograph, or videotape the situation while temporarily without proper equipment, so she took copious notes.)
After over an hour of these skirmishes, the bidders took their seats to vie for five parcels composed of 997 BLM acres and 5,352 split-estate acres of privately owned lands underlain by BLM subsurface minerals. Bidder 2, Thana Kauffman, accompanied presumably by her husband, Randy, who constantly whispered bidding guidance, sat in the front right corner of the wide, rectangular seating. Bidder 3, a female representing Reagan Smith Energy Solutions with a male companion, sat in the rear right corner. About 25 people dozed in the audience, through all five extended bidding processes, mostly unaware of the bidders’ identities. Ex-Halliburton fracking lobbyist and Alta Mesa vice president and attorney John Peiserich, Alta Mesa spokesman John Foster, and recognizable Idaho Department of Lands staff and industry officials seemed to surround and box-in the lone WIRT protester on the far right side of the room, away from other participants.
The auctioneer progressively increased bids by $1 increments for Bidder 2, the Kaufmanns, and in $5 increments for Bidder 3, who kept winning the first four offered leases. Bidding proceeded predictably in this way between Bidders 2 and 3 lifting their green, numbered cards, starting at $2 per acre on each lease parcel, and progressing up (and down!) in increments of one and five. Apparently in a rush to sell off public lands and minerals, after parcel A went for over $300, the auctioneer suggested that bids start at $300 instead of $2, to which everyone laughed in response. He tried this tactic again with later parcel bids, but Bidder 3 seemed seriously intent on following the arduous process. Several times, the male auctioneer accidentally fell back into a lower hundred range, and audience members had to remind him where he was in terms of dollar amounts. He started writing down the progression of bids.
Overall, the five leased BLM tracts went for higher prices than parcels provided at WIRT-witnessed state oil and gas lease auctions. Bidder 3, then-unknown Reagan Smith Energy Solutions, secured and bought the first four parcels auctioned off: Parcel A for $306 per acre, B for $545 per acre, C for $770 per acre, and D for $665 per acre . Inexplicably paying a dollar more per acre ($771) for Parcel E than the highest Reagan Smith bid, the Kauffmans, Bidder 2, reacted somewhat ingenuously to their winning bid with, “Yes, finally!” Although “Alta Mesa currently has a lease agreement with the Kauffmans and owns two wells on their property” up Little Willow Road, Thana purportedly purchased her newly leased BLM land as a personal investment, not planning to partner with Alta Mesa to drill it (Yeah, right!) . Altogether, the BLM sold the five parcels for a total of $3.87 million dollars.
Although Alta Mesa has drilled eight oil and gas wells in the Little Willow Creek drainage and near its Payette River outlet, its most recent well and drilling application have both fizzled. All except one previously drilled well remain inactive, awaiting completion of gathering lines, a pipeline, and a gas processing facility on U.S. Highway 30 south of New Plymouth. Despite the high costs of new, unused infrastructure, the currently low market price of oil and gas, and the downward spiral of Alta Mesa’s investment ratings, the company has been hustling the BLM since early 2014, to lease and drill 187 acres of BLM split estates within a square, mixed ownership, 615-acre unit up Little Willow Creek.
Although the BLM hopes “to prevent uncompensated drainage of the federal minerals on those lands,” it could not lease that property to Alta Mesa, who would pay government royalties on extracted minerals, until the federal agency conducted an environmental assessment . Meanwhile, Alta Mesa twice requested that the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission omit the BLM lands from its targeted drilling unit. The commission denied Alta Mesa in September 2014, and then postponed its decision in October 2014, requiring Alta Mesa to provide more information about the gas reservoir in question.
But the speculative natures of the southwest Idaho gas field, Alta Mesa’s exploratory efforts, and the entire, post-peak oil and gas industry prevent accurate assessments of the potential viability of dirty energy ventures in Idaho. Without drilling, no one can know the exact size and shape of a gas entrapment. Exploration in the 1930s, 1950s, and 1980s found nothing noteworthy in the area, except lignite, dry holes, and a few blow-outs. Most oil and gas companies and geologic research have neglected this Idaho play before the advent of advanced, available fracking technology.
But the state of Idaho, some of its more mercenary citizens, and relentlessly desperate fossil fuel perpetrators perceive only substantial financial benefits from these risky enterprises. Previously overlooked Idaho gas fields are now primed to drill, and whatever finds result, Idahoans can expect to know little about the escalating situation and its enormous, unfavorable odds and to ultimately pay for the boom and bust with their tax dollars and contaminated air, water, and agricultural lands.
As reiterated at the May 28 auction, the BLM environmental assessment, published in December 2014, concluded that the BLM could offer leases but could not allow surface or subsurface occupancy until completion of its Four Rivers Resource Management Plan. Thus, Alta Mesa, Reagan Smith, and the Kauffmans cannot drill into the five leased parcels from above or at an angle from nearby holdings, while the BLM Four Rivers office finishes its document over the next year.
At the auction, WIRT also learned more about the endeavors of our allies, dismissive of direct action confrontations while they work through the system, until they predictably lose on their written “protests” and possible, subsequent appeals. The BLM announced at the beginning of the auction that it would resolve two such protests within 60 days and that its decisions could affect final leases. Wildlands Defense, on behalf of Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment and Brett Nelson, and WildEarth Guardians filed complaints on March 30, 2015 [11, 12]. The BLM denied both protests on June 10 and advised the groups on their rights to appeal.
 Events Calendar (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Next Oil and Gas Lease Auction (Idaho Department of Lands)
 Other Applications (Idaho Department of Lands)
 Fighting Integration (June 26, 2015 Argus Observer)
 Fruitland Community Meeting on Alta Mesa’s Forced-Pooling Applications (June 19, 2015 Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability)
 Lease to Drill: BLM Leases Little Willow Creek Property for Gas Drilling (June 3, 2015 Independent-Enterprise)
 Idaho Oil and Gas (U.S Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management)
 Idaho BLM Oil and Gas Lease Protest (May 26, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Idaho BLM Oil and Gas Lease Protest (May 26, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 May 28, 2015 Oil and Gas Lease Sale Results (Bureau of Land Management Idaho State Office)
 Wildlands Defense Protest and BLM Denial (March 30, 2015 Wildlands Defense and June 10, 2015 Bureau of Land Management)
 WildEarth Guardians Protest and BLM Denial (March 30, 2015 WildEarth Guardians and June 10, 2015 Bureau of Land Management)
Filed under: Idaho Fracking, Newsletters
The Monday, June 29, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) airs excerpts from the Coal Exports, Oil Transport, and Solutions Forum held at the Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, on Tuesday, June 23, and video-recorded by Rosie Ennis and Joe Comino of Dancing Crow Media. We will hear from forum moderator and Center for Justice executive director Rick Eichstaedt, Spokane Tribal air quality coordinator Twa-le Abrahamson, Railroad Workers United steering committee co-chair Jen Wallis, Spokane City Council president Ben Stuckart, and Sierra Club organizing representative Jace Bylenga. The next Climate Justice Forum, on the July 6 Lac Megantic bomb train disaster second anniversary, will likely host forum keynote speaker and Sightline Institute policy director Eric de Place. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Throughout the summer and fall of 2015, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies are providing workshops on nonviolent direct action, community outreach, and industrial activity monitoring, each with guest trainers. Various Northwest groups are hosting and/or contributing toward these ongoing trainings, to educate, empower, and mobilize regional residents for upcoming protests of expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in southwest Idaho and dirty energy transportation through northern Idaho and eastern Washington communities, for Washington state and local agency hearings on Northwest coal and oil train terminals, and especially for coordinated, region-wide, Flood the System fall actions.
The first of these training sessions features Matt Landon of Vancouver Action Network in Washington. Over the last few years, Matt has provided leadership, insights, and guidance among the Northwest community of citizens and activists, through two programs that he has developed, the Listening Project and the Twitter Oil Train Watch. Through canvassing and other methods, the Listening Project has reached out to thousands of residents of the mile-wide “blast zones” around rail lines carrying volatile Alberta tar sands and Bakken crude oil trains through the Vancouver and Portland, Oregon metropolitan areas. As reported by widespread, track-side train spotters, the Twitter Oil Train Watch has documented hundreds of dangerous oil trains moving across Washington. Two significant situations make the techniques learned at this workshop critical components of community knowledge and protection: Every oil train passage increases the risks of devastating derailments, leaks, spills, and fiery explosions, and recently released federal regulations restrict the information about these trains available to the public and emergency responders.
This weekend, please join regional activists at Matt Landon’s Skyped, two-hour workshops in Spokane, Washington, and Sandpoint, Idaho. Converge at 11 am on Saturday, June 27, in Meeting Room 1B, at the street level of the downtown Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Avenue in Spokane, or at 2:30 pm on Saturday, June 27, in Rooms 103 and 104 of the East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street in Sandpoint. Do not miss these opportunities to enhance your personal and collective capacity to thwart the fossil fuel onslaught currently rampaging the Northwest, by attending these Inland Northwest Climate Activist Workshops and encouraging your friends, family, and co-workers to participate, and print and post the enclosed, letter-sized, event flyer. Although event coordinators have worked to minimize workshop expenses, such as facilities rental and trainer and organizer travel, we would greatly appreciate participant donations to offset workshop costs. WIRT welcomes your questions, suggestions, and discussion about and during these events and your advance confirmation of participation. Thanks!
Filed under: Events
The Monday, June 22, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Laura Ackerman, a nature enthusiast, activist, and organizer for over 20 years, who serves as the oil and coal campaign coordinator for The Lands Council in Spokane, Washington. Laura will talk about existing and proposed Northwest oil and coal facilities, upcoming public hearing opportunities, and oil train forums occurring in Spokane and Sandpoint, Idaho, this Tuesday and Wednesday, June 23 and 24. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
The Monday, June 15, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes climate activist Rod Tharp of the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation Climate Crisis Action Group in Washington, the principle co-organizers of the People’s Climate Action Fleet. The June 21 water-based direct action against oil bomb trains, on the Salish Sea by the coastal tracks near the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay, is drawing protesters from across Cascadia and worldwide media attention, like recent Arctic oil drilling blockades around Puget Sound. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
WIRT and allied agents of change, Please plan to participate in the following Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and associated events, and check the WIRT website Events Calendar often, for updates on upcoming happenings.
June/July: Climate Activist Training Workshops (Dates and times to be announced (TBA), Downtown Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Avenue, Spokane, Washington; East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho; The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho; and Main (downtown) Boise Public Library, 715 South Capitol Boulevard, Boise, Idaho
June/July: Ongoing WIRT and allied mobilization of regional residents for 1) an August, Lake Pend Oreille, water-based, mass protest of expansion of rail bridges and fossil fuels train transportation, 2) agency hearings on Northwest oil train terminals, and 3) coordinated, region-wide, #FloodTheSystem, fall actions
June 18: WIRT Third Thursday Sandpoint Monthly Meeting and Pizza (Thursday 7 pm, Second Avenue Pizza, 215 South Second Avenue, Sandpoint, Idaho)
June 23: Coal Exports, Oil Transport, and Solutions Forum hosted by Earth Ministry, Gonzaga Environmental Law Caucus, Power Past Coal, Sierra Club, Sightline Institute, Spokane Riverkeeper, Stand Up To Oil, and The Lands Council (Tuesday 7 pm, Gonzaga University School of Law Courtroom, 721 North Cincinnati Street, Spokane, Washington)
June 24: Sandpoint Oil Train Forum, Pipeline on Wheels through North Idaho hosted by the Idaho Conservation League, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, and Sightline Institute (Wednesday 5:30 pm, The Heartwood Center, 515 Oak Street, Sandpoint, Idaho) June 27: Community Progressive V WIRT Information Table (Saturday 10 am to 9 pm, Julia Davis Park, 700 South Capitol Boulevard, Boise, Idaho)
JULY 2015 July 1: State Oil and Gas Lease Auction Protest 3 (Wednesday 8 am, Idaho Department of Lands Garnet West Conference Room, 300 North Sixth Street, Suite 103, Boise, Idaho)
July 2: WIRT First Thursday Moscow Monthly Meeting and Potluck (Thursday 7 pm, The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho)
July 11: Stop Bomb Trains Spokane (Stop Oil Trains Week of Action: Lac Megantic commemorative demonstrations) (Saturday 11 am, location TBA, Spokane, Washington)
July 12: Stop Bomb Trains Sandpoint (Stop Oil Trains Week of Action: Lac Megantic commemorative demonstrations) (Sunday time and location TBA, Sandpoint, Idaho)
July 16: WIRT Third Thursday Sandpoint Monthly Meeting and Pizza (Thursday 7 pm, Second Avenue Pizza, 215 South Second Avenue, Sandpoint, Idaho)
Filed under: Newsletters
The Monday, June 8, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses recent and upcoming coal, oil, gas, and tar sands resistance in Canada, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Minnesota, and Texas, and government facilitated, fossil fuel industrial developments. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Please vote early and often throughout June 2015 for Rising Tide North America (RTNA) to receive tens of thousands of dollars in donations from CREDO Action. As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and comrades across the continental, grassroots network of volunteer activists organize frontline communities to escalate resistance to the fossil fuel industry and its government facilitators, radical climate justice advocates need your support more than ever.
During November 2013 through October 2014, $1000 in funding from RTNA advanced WIRT collective work against Alberta tar sands and Montana refinery megaloads and Idaho oil and gas extraction. From eastern Oregon to western Montana, we staged region-wide informational programs like the Gasland 2 Idaho Roadshow, direct action trainings involving the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, and effective protests from Sun Valley to Sandpoint, Idaho, promoting locally organized confrontations of the root causes of the climate crisis.
Over the last month, Rising Tide chapters and core WIRT activists have blockaded Shell’s Arctic drilling equipment in Bellingham and Seattle and fracking sites in Texas. For the summer and fall of 2015, we are already planning our largest endeavors yet, listening canvasses and assertive actions along Spokane and Washington rail corridors and on Lake Pend Oreille at Sandpoint, as we #FloodTheSystem of capitalistic, colonial perpetrators of oppression and climate change.
Each month, CREDO asks its members and customers to choose which groups will receive part of their revenue, contributing millions of dollars to a wide range of nonprofits. As either a CREDO Action member (join by simply signing a petition) or CREDO mobile phone/credit card customer of the progressive communications company, you can provide crucial financial assistance for WIRT and Rising Tide activists.
With every vote for RTNA on CREDO Action’s ballot before the June 30 deadline, WIRT and our colleagues receive a larger percentage of this month’s CREDO funds. So please share this request with your friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers and vote for Rising Tide at Credo Donations! In sincere solidarity and appreciation for your activism and support…
Filed under: Newsletters
As a reminder, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists are gathering at 7 pm tonight (Thursday, June 4) for our regular strategizing and planning convergence, the First Thursday Moscow Monthly Meeting and Potluck, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho. Over the next few days, we are also updating our Events Calendar on the WIRT website with June and July WIRT and allied events. Please note that, due to modified state agency schedules, the State Oil and Gas Lease Auction Protest at the Idaho Department of Lands in Boise has been postponed from Wednesday, June 10, until Wednesday, July 8 (when we really need your protest participation!). A lone WIRT protester confronted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with every question she could muster, at its oil and gas lease auction on Thursday, May 28, in Boise, personally witnessing (rigged?) auction discrepancies and learning that allies had filed appeals of which no one is aware. Burdened recently with other distracting work, WIRT will produce a protest report soon. With a few WIRT activists, please consider attending the Oil and Gas Forum in Emmett, Idaho, at 6:30 pm next Tuesday evening, July 9. Thanks!
Filed under: Newsletters
The Monday, June 1, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses recent and upcoming oil and gas resistance events in Idaho, Texas gasland flooding, another bomb train wreck in Minnesota, and updates on Salish Sea protests of Shell’s Arctic oil drilling ventures. We also air an interview with Chiara D’Angelo, the Bellingham Rising Tide activist who locked down with Matthew Fuller to the anchor chain of Shell’s Arctic Challenger in Bellingham during three late-May days. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
To avert potential damages to fragile, remnant Palouse Prairie during this outing, the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) is limiting participation in a guided wildflower hike on Paradise Ridge to PRDC members and member organizations (Palouse Audubon Society, Palouse Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide). Please meet at 1:30 pm on Sunday, May 31, at the University of Idaho Arboretum parking lot off Palouse River Drive, west of Highway 95 in Moscow, Idaho. Attendees will carpool to the starting point for a hike to the top of Paradise Ridge, where we will visit the best sites of the last one percent of original Palouse Prairie. Wear good walking/hiking shoes and bring a water bottle. Event coordinators plan to offer plenty of opportunities for questions during the event lasting 2 1/2 to 3 hours, including travel time. PRDC board members invite you to join as a member and a Sunday hike participant!
Filed under: Highway 95 Re-Route
On Thursday, May 28, 2015, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allied activists plan to protest the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oral auction and sale of leases of public oil and gas and minerals in the Little Willow Creek watershed six miles east of Payette, Idaho . Managing 700 million acres of sub-surface minerals and more acreage (245 million) than any other federal agency, mostly in the western U.S. and Alaska, the BLM operates under the U.S. Department of the Interior. Its Idaho State Office, at 1387 South Vinnell Way in Boise, will open registration to the public and prospective buyers at 7:45 am on Thursday and will begin the auction at 9 am in the Sagebrush Conference Room, offering five parcels totaling 6,475 acres for minimum lease bids of $2 per acre, following the national standard. According to a map of the BLM proposed Little Willow Creek oil and gas leasing area, only one of the smaller parcels is available for oil and gas development, while the majority of the tracts could provide opportunities for private extraction of all federal minerals present .
Although the BLM asserts that this lease sale would “prevent federally owned oil and gas from being drained without compensation to the United States in the form of royalties,” “by law the Bureau of Land Management cannot auction off public lands to the oil and gas industry unless drainage is actually occurring” [2, 3]. For years, the primary architect of recent oil and gas wells, a processing plant expanded before completion, and gathering lines connecting all of this Payette County infrastructure, Alta Mesa Idaho (AMI) has pressured the BLM to open its public resources to its pursuits. AMI’s environmentally, socially, and financially irresponsible onslaught of development has begrudged mandated, protracted, public review of BLM leasing proposals within the context of broader federal regulations, significantly more stringent that state oversight. The Boise-based BLM Four Rivers Field Office confirmed in April 2015 that “no surface occupancy and no subsurface occupancy will be permitted until the Four Rivers Resource Management Plan is completed, which is scheduled for 2016” .
In mid-July 2014, the Bureau of Land Management joined the looming fracking fray of the Willow gas field in Payette County. The Four Rivers BLM office proposed only an environmental assessment (EA) of this industry incursion into mostly split estates in its “oil and gas protective leasing area” . But at a public scoping hearing at the Payette County Courthouse on the evening of July 17, concerned Idaho citizens residing in the vicinity of the BLM lease units and participating in the hearing expressed strong disapproval, and fracktivists pushed for a full environmental impact statement (EIS) [5, 6]. Nominally seeking to identify potential, related, environmental issues and alternatives to its proposal, the BLM requested receipt of comments from individuals and organizational spokespersons by August 11, 2014, sent to email@example.com.
The BLM ultimately produced only an environmental assessment, instead of a legally essential EIS on its Little Willow Creek leasing proposal, and even released a finding of no significant impact before completion of its EA, reversing the usual, prescribed progression of studies and determinations of action consequences. It opened this lease project EA to public scrutiny and a 30-day public comment period just before the winter holidays, on December 22, 2014 . Its plan suggested a lease auction by April, which would offer 6,350 acres in five parcels for potential drilling in Payette County, southwest Idaho. The agency issued a Notice of Competitive Lease Sale, accessible on an Idaho BLM oil and gas leasing webpage or at the Idaho State Office’s public room, and asked the public to file written, mailed or faxed objections with Tracy Hadley (208-373-3899), during a March 2 to March 31, 2015 protest period .
BLM officials have been battling the Houston, Texas-based oil company Alta Mesa over the purportedly profitable natural gas field in the Little Willow Creek watershed for years. The BLM and tribal and climate activists suspect that nearby wells and other infrastructure on adjacent private lands are draining federal mineral resources, without paying U.S. royalties and Idaho taxes, and potentially damaging surface resources. Alta Mesa fears the precedent-setting, prolonged possibilities of federal laws requiring environmental analysis in an area with plenty of BLM-administered lands and Alta Mesa wells. In efforts to expedite gas production by the nascent industry in Idaho, Alta Mesa requested that the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission exclude 187 acres of BLM land from a 615-acre drilling unit.
Early September 2014 brought some of the best news ever to emerge from southwestern Idaho gasland, thanks to the prudence of the newly appointed Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the thorough federal review processes that will likely stall Alta Mesa’s reckless lease-and-drill pace on private properties interspersed with BLM lands. After initially siding with the BLM, likely for state revenue reasons, the Commissioners rejected Alta Mesa’s petition with a 3-2 vote. But they reversed their decision at a special, live audio-streamed, October 10, 2014 meeting at the Capitol in Boise, in response to Alta Mesa’s request for reconsideration of the Commission’s final September order [9, 10]. Their 4-1 vote favored a May 7, 2015 hearing in Boise, to gather additional evidence. Alta Mesa suspended its request in late December, and the 2015 Idaho Legislature predictably facilitated industry abuses of clean air, a stable climate, wildlife, and citizens, by passing House Bill 124, a law granting “the five-member Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission the option to exclude federal mineral rights, if the federal government fails to grant leases” [11-13].
In early April 2015, WildEarth Guardians filed an appeal to prevent the federal government from auctioning off 6,000-plus acres of public lands for oil and gas leasing and exploitation in the Little Willow drainage of Idaho . They expect a response before May 28, noting that oil and gas leasing across the American West during May 2015 could portend more risky oil and gas drilling, could poison iconic public lands, and could compound pollution and climate change, not to mention possibly destroy the critical habitat of diminishing species like sage grouse:
Spurred by industry demands, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management is planning to auction off nearly 180,000 acres of public lands oil and gas leases in the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. Throughout the month of May, a total of 183 lease parcels comprising 179,418 acres of public lands are slated to be sold to the oil and gas industry .
Please join Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allies at 8 am on Thursday, May 28, 2015, in the Sagebrush Conference Room of the BLM Idaho State Office, 1387 South Vinnell Way in Boise, as we protest this open, public auction of federal oil and gas and mineral leases surrounding Little Willow Creek in Payette County. Bring your friends, family, and other associates, as well as your protest signs and spirit of resistance. We gratefully and eagerly anticipate your participation on Thursday!
 Idaho BLM to Hold Oil and Gas Lease Sale (April 30, 2015 Bureau of Land Management Idaho State Office)
 Notice of Competitive Oil and Gas Lease Sale on May 28, 2015 (February 27, 2015 Bureau of Land Management Idaho State Office)
 Guardians Appeals to Overturn Public Lands Fracking in Idaho (Thursday, April 2, 2015 WildEarth Guardians)
 Proposed BLM Oil and Gas Protective Leasing Area (Bureau of Land Management project map)
 BLM Begins Process to Lease Oil and Gas Rights in Payette County (July 15, 2014 Idaho Statesman)
 BLM Asking for Feedback (July 17, 2014 KTVB)
 BLM Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Oil and Gas Lease Sale in Payette County (December 22, 2014 Bureau of Land Management Boise District Office)
 BLM to Auction Land Near Payette for Oil and Gas Leases (March 5, 2015 Boise Weekly)
 Idaho in Session Special Events (Idaho Public Television)
 Idaho Gives Oil Company Second Shot to Exclude BLM (October 13, 2014 Twin Falls Times-News)
 Feds Plan to Hold Idaho Oil and Gas Lease Sale (December 24, 2014 East Idaho News)
 Senate Committee OKs Plan to Exclude Federal Mineral Rights (March 6, 2015 Washington Times]
 Idaho’s Oil and Gas Laws Focal Point of 2015 Legislative Session (April 15, 2014 Idaho Department of Lands)
 Climate Denial at U.S. Interior Department, Fracking Free-for-All in Rockies (May 5, 2015 WildEarth Guardians)
Filed under: Alerts, Idaho Fracking
The Monday, May 25, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses upcoming protests of oil and gas lease auctions in Boise, the Bellingham barge lock-down in defiance of Arctic oil drilling, and issue developments concerning coal, oil, and tar sands train traffic across the Northwest. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
The Monday, May 18, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes core WIRT activist Herb Goodwin of Bellingham discussing Seattle and Bellingham, land- and water-based, hundreds-strong protests of Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling equipment mooring and embarking from the Salish Sea this month. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
The scene to the west of U.S. Highway 95 – and its three proposed realignment route choices – is breathtaking from Paradise Ridge, with rolling green meadows and the occasional picturesque structure in spacious rural settings.
The existing highway is off in the distance and only takes up a small section of the view as cars and trucks appear to be rolling specks. But look down at the knoll underfoot and prairie flowers – iris, camas, lupine, groundsel, lomatium, prairie smoke and arrow leaf balsamroot within other native plants, invasive weeds and planted grass – pop up here and there.
Thin, long deer trails also run through the grass.
Steve and Mary Ullrich, both members of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, live nearby the section of the ridge, where they marked a site with a long line of red balloons stretching about 600 feet. The section is one where plenty of animals roam and some ponds are on the far side of the balloons.
The balloons marked the approximate width and location where the highway realignment preferred by the Idaho Department of Transportation would run. ITD refers to it as E-2. That plan and the other two options, C-3 and W-4, will improve 6 1/2 miles of the highway running south from Moscow to Thorncreek Road.
“If I were a deer, I’d be pissed,” Ullrich said of the proposed E-2 route, which he said would cut animals off from their water.
The highway itself would have four lanes – wider than the current span – to improve driving safety. Up to one-third of the space would be for road and shoulder, but wide swaths of land on each side are planned for by ITD to protect wildlife.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game recommended years ago that ITD not choose E-2. A letter written in 2007 by Dave Cadwallader, the IDFG’s Clearwater regional supervisor, stated it would “have the greatest direct and indirect impacts to wildlife and other resources” of the proposed routes.
The U.S. Department of Interior also stated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that E-2 “would have the greatest impact to the Palouse Prairie, a nationally recognized critically endangered ecosystem.”
The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition and some government agencies, including IDFG, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have said during earlier planning phases they prefer C-3, which would be nearest to the original route on the northern stretch.
Some, including at one point Fish and Game, have suggested ITD create underpasses for animals to safely travel around the area without having to cross the new stretch of highway, but cost will be a factor.
“The cost of creating a wildlife underpass versus a more open area of highway are difficult to determine without additional design work,” said Adam Rush, an ITD spokesman.
The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition has also brought up concerns about E-2 regarding losses of wetlands, farm land and conservation reserve; and removal of acres of pine stands and related habitat. It also would cause more noise, have a wider visual impact and not be the safest for travel because it is at a higher elevation than other routes, the coalition contends.
Patricia Clyde said her late husband, Robert, own land along E-2 and C-3. E-2 is preferred because it wouldn’t cut through their family’s prime farm land as C-3 would. C-3, she said, would eliminate a great deal of this working land and leave the remaining farm land cut in two.
Clyde pointed out it was her husband’s intention to work with ITD “while ensuring the integrity of the remaining farmland which stretches along the proposed route from Reisennauer Hill to Zietler Road and beyond closer to Moscow,” she said.
And with C-3, a good number of existing properties near the current highway would need to be taken out, she said.
LeNelle McInturff, who lives between Moscow and Genesee, said she’s driven the stretch of the old highway for decades, and more than anything, she added, she wants to see a safer route – and E-2 appears to her to be the best option.
“It’s just a dangerous situation,” McInturff said. “But there’s prime farm land we also need to protect. We need to preserve that land.”
The project could reach its decision phase by or during the fall. Notice in the Federal Register of release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and the 30-day review period could begin soon. ITD’s goal is to start construction in 2017 and have the work completed in a couple of years.
Though the E-2 route has been estimated to cost up to $48 million, it’s actually not yet known how much the project will cost. Price will be more apparent once a final alternative is chosen and additional design work is completed, Rush said.
(By Terri Harber, Moscow-Pullman Daily News staff writer)
Filed under: Highway 95 Re-Route
The Monday, May 11, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Rising Tide Seattle climate activist Zarna Joshi discussing Northwestern resistance to Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling equipment docking for maintenance and embarking from the Salish Sea. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
The Monday, May 4, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses recent earthquakes under and around Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho and upcoming protests of oil and gas lease auctions in Boise, coal, oil, and tar sands train traffic along the Salish Sea, and Arctic drilling by Shell Oil embarking from Seattle and Bellingham. We also air Dr. Tom Bitterwolf’s April 24 lecture in Moscow, Idaho, entitled The Science of Climate Change, Future Projections, and the Global Response. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
The Monday, April 27, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses upcoming events, the bleak future of fracking, victories against fossil fuel development and investment around the globe, climate-kindled tundra fires in Siberia, and concerned citizen actions against coal, natural gas, oil, and tar sands exploitation across the continent. 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 climate activism and community resistance to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum