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Wild Idaho Rising Tide
The Monday, April 21, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses the largest ever Highway 95/200 megaloads proposed for a Great Falls tar sands refinery expansion, Rosebud Sioux tribal activism against Keystone XL pipeline megaloads, the Obama administration’s postponement of the Keystone XL permitting decision, and a Boise protest and investigation of Idaho Department of Lands leasing of state lands and minerals rights, even under rivers, for oil and gas exploration and extraction. 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 also covers other continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Idaho author Steve Bunk, who covered resistance to the tar sands “megaloads” on Highway 12 for the Missoula-based online journal New West, has written a book called Goliath Staggered: How the People of Highway 12 Conquered Big Oil (New West Books, 2014). Throughout April, bookstores in Boise, Clarkston, and Moscow, Idaho, and Missoula, Montana, are launching the book, warmly received by regional conservationists.
Mr. Bunk will visit …and BOOKS, too! in Clarkston on Saturday, April 19, at 4 pm and BookPeople of Moscow on Wednesday, April 23, at 7 pm, for book signings and lively discussions about “Why the Megaloads Resistance Matters.” Highway 12 outdoor travel company ROW Adventures will co-sponsor the Clarkston event at 918 Sixth Street. Borg Hendrickson and Linwood Laughy, the central figures in Goliath Staggered and the couple who galvanized the Idaho megaload resistance, will join Steve and answer audience questions.
Friends of the Clearwater (FOC) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) are co-sponsoring the Moscow event happening at BookPeople of Moscow, 521 South Main Street. Both groups have played key roles in the grassroots opposition to oil company attempts to transform Highway 12’s federally protected Wild and Scenic River corridor into a high-and-wide industrial thoroughfare to Alberta tar sands mines. Helen Yost of WIRT, who leads a continuing campaign against megaloads traveling through the Northwest, and Brett Haverstick of FOC will also address the audience.
“BookPeople is pleased to host Steve Bunk, an Idaho journalist, to gain and share his insights on a topic that is of such importance to our community,” said Carol Spurling, one of the owners of BookPeople of Moscow.
Citizens and activists of Moscow have directly participated in efforts to keep road-blocking megaloads from traveling through the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork Clearwater and Lochsa River corridor and across their own city via Highway 95. Both battles have raged in meeting halls, the courts, the media, and in the road since spring 2010, forcing Big Oil to find other routes for its giant infrastructure and equipment for Alberta tar sands production. Victories in the courts and streets have inspired the current, continent-wide, grassroots movement against tar sands exploitation and other extreme energy, including the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that could carry crude oil through six states to Gulf Coast refineries.
“The people of Moscow care deeply about this issue,” said Brett Haverstick, Education and Outreach Director for Friends of the Clearwater. “I hope that folks can come out to meet Mr. Bunk and buy a copy of his new book.”
“Over four years in four Northwest states, frontline resistance to the ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos wrought by megaloads building the largest industrial project on Earth has expanded,” Helen Yost of WIRT noted. “Borg and Lin and a regional coalition have successfully challenged business-as-usual transportation practices and instilled the early ardor and wisdom essential to strong grassroots opposition to corporate tyranny.”
Distributed by New West Books, Baker and Taylor, and Partners East, readers can locally find the paperback Goliath Staggered at …and BOOKS, too! in Clarkston and BookPeople of Moscow.
Filed under: Events, Megaloads
Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest & Petition 4-17-14 (April 17, 2014, Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)
On Thursday, April 17, 2014, twenty members of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), the Muse Project, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) staged a successful protest of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) auction of oil and gas leases of state rivers, lands, and mineral rights to the highest bidders among two drilling companies [1-4]. Converging at 8:30 am MDT outside the IDL main office in Boise, Idaho, participants arrived with their protest signs, friends, and family members, including an infant and toddler, and their spirit of solidarity with communities devastated by fossil fuels. Together they sang multiple rounds of the climate activism song Do It Now near the IDL entrance, as five or more news agencies interviewed and filmed the demonstrators, and as bidders, government officials, and their associates hurried inside.
When protesters filed into the building only minutes before the auction began, the receptionist insisted that they could not bring their posters or voices to the auction. One organizer asked to see the Idaho code that disallowed this practice, and the crowd soon occupied and packed the back of the conference room. As bids on 150 public tracts started at $1 per acre and ended as high as $505 per acre, some defaulting to Alta Mesa without competitive bidding, the demonstrators held their protest signs, placed them on tables surrounded by bidders, and scrutinized, videotaped, and photographed the proceedings among irritated oil and gas industry representatives. Immediately after the auction concluded, two activists asked how the public can comment before state auctions on parcels of their lands and minerals planned for fossil fuel development leases. To expand Idaho citizens’ right to knowledge of these lands as well as more stringent water protections for leased rivers and increased public engagement in leasing processes, they also requested comprehensive maps of the leased parcels and the auction’s list of tracts, leasees, and bids.
As described in a petition addressed to Idaho Governor Butch Otter and signed by hundreds of Idaho citizens, the auction protesters plan to discuss and democratize these processes with the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners at their next regular meeting on May 22, 2014 . They also request independent baseline testing of all bodies of water near state lands and minerals, prior to their inclusion in future state lease auctions, and the open availability of this water quality data to the public. Additionally, IRAGE, Muse Project, and WIRT activists assert that:
1. Idaho rules and laws should require IDL to broadly publicize any auction well in advance, disclosing maps of tracts proposed for oil and gas leases, including the latitude and longitude of each parcel.
2. Before each such auction, the state should offer public hearings led by neutral government officials with the political will to listen and act on citizen statements at these meetings.
3. IDL should provide private landowners impacted by split estates, underlain by sub-surface, state mineral rights up for auction, the opportunity to buy those rights before their leasing to fossil fuel drillers.
4. Before IDL auctions, the state should personally notify Idaho citizens who live in the near vicinity of state lands and minerals planned for oil and gas leases.
With 402 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the global atmosphere – 200 ppm above healthy, pre-industrial levels – Idahoans and our government representatives should always recall that collectively facilitating leasing and drilling of our shared resources chooses short-term profit over the wellbeing of present and future generations. Even burning already extracted fossil fuels sacrifices our children and their children to the dire consequences of climate chaos and polluted air, water, and lands, while solar energy alone could meet 370 percent of Idaho’s energy needs.
 Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest, Petition, & Preparation (April 11, 2014, Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Groups Protest Idaho Department of Lands Mineral Rights Auction (April 17, 2014, Boise Weekly)
 Idaho Lands Auctions Oil and Natural Gas Leases, Attracts Peaceful Protesters (April 17, 2014, Idaho Statesman)
 Idaho Residents Protest Auction of Public Lands for Oil and Gas Drilling (April 18, 2014, EcoWatch)
 Protect Idaho’s Water (CredoMobilize petition)
Filed under: Idaho Fracking, Photos
On Thursday, April 17, 2014, beginning at 9:30 am MDT, the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners will offer oil and gas leases of state lands and sub-surface mineral rights for sale to the highest bidder, at the director’s office of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), 300 North Sixth Street, Suite 103, in Boise, Idaho . IDL periodically conducts these public auctions and administers subsequent leases, with oversight and approval by the Land Board. The 12.5-percent royalty derived from extracted oil and gas raises funds from lands held for the public trust and state wildlife and transportation departments and for specified beneficiary institutions through the state endowment trust. Of the 150 tracts in Ada, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties, 36 parcels are located under or adjacent to the Boise and Snake Rivers and many involve the split estates of private landowners and state mineral holders .
Minimum, competitive bids by drilling companies at the oral auction open at only $0.25 per acre for the 17,700-plus acres available for leasing. Successful bidders must pay their bid and the first year’s annual rental of $1.00 per acre for leases lasting up to ten years. If the lease is not drilled or productive, IDL assesses an additional drilling penalty of $1.00 per acre per year starting in the sixth year. The state requires a $1,000 bond for exploration on each lease, which increases to $6,000 prior to drilling, in addition to a drilling permit bond issued by the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Before entry on state lands for seismic exploration, the company must acquire an IDL permit costing $100 per mile across contiguous tracts or a minimum of $100 per section.
The last state lands and minerals auction on January 16, 2014, in Boise, Idaho, generated $694,000 in bids for the state of Idaho [3, 4]. The Idaho Department of Lands leased 8,714 acres for oil and gas drilling – including 4,130 acres in and alongside the Boise, Payette, and Snake river beds – for an average of $80 per acre to the lone bidder, Alta Mesa Idaho. The April 17 auction will double this previously largest amount of Idaho public lands and minerals leased in one period, bringing the total to nearly 98,000 state acres, leased for as low as $2.35 per acre on average, besides the thousands more private acres leased in six southwestern counties . Fourteen drilled but capped wells, awaiting pending pipelines and processing infrastructure, have prefaced the first producing well in Idaho in February 2014, on the Teunissen Dairy near New Plymouth. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality found toluene from drilling mud in a water well several hundred feet away in fall 2012 .
If the people of Idaho own all of these myriad acres of public trust and endowment trust state lands and minerals auctioned for oil and gas exploitation, which respectively “benefit” the general fund and public schools, how can Idahoans influence and determine how our state stewards these shared resources? Allowing the same agency – the Idaho Department of Lands – to both regulate and lease oil and gas development on state holdings seems like a conflict of interest, especially because the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that oversees industry regulation is politically appointed and receives a 1.5-percent severance tax on oil and gas production for its “responsibility.” At least Idahoans can vote out of office the state’s highest elected officials on the Land Board, for leasing and selling off our precious, impacted lands, resources, and waterways for bargain basement prices.
Because the last five years of frenzied oil and gas rule-making, legislation, drilling, and exploration, centered primarily in Payette County and the Boise halls of government, represent industry’s first forays into Idaho’s still relatively pristine, and thus increasingly valuable, watersheds, the time has now arrived for communities across the state to organize and resist looming drilling, fracking, and acidizing of oil and gas wells. Historic and current fossil fuel development in the state infers that major portions of Idaho are ripe for development and could eventually suffer in the boom-and-bust crosshairs of dirty energy corporations . Please participate in one or hopefully all of these opportunities for citizen protection of our clean air, water, and lands:
1) Join the protest of this state lease auction, converging at 8:30 am MDT on Thursday, April 17, at the park on the corner of West Bannock and North Sixth Streets in Boise. Organized by Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), the demonstration affords various roles that will display our collective displeasure with our state government allowing oil and gas companies to utilize our public lands and waters as dumping grounds for the predictable, toxic aftermath of extraction profits. Bring your protest signs, friends, family, co-workers, and spirit of solidarity with communities devastated by fossil fuels. Contact IRAGE and WIRT to further discuss event logistics [8, 9].
2) Sign the petition addressed to Idaho Governor Butch Otter, entitled Protect Idaho’s Water . It requests independent baseline testing of all bodies of water near state lands and minerals prior to their leasing by the Idaho Department of Lands to the oil and gas industry. To expand Idaho citizens’ right to knowledge of lands planned for auction, engagement in leasing processes, and stringent water protections, the state should make available to the public this water quality data and comprehensive maps of pending leased parcels, before any auction of state lands and mineral rights for fossil fuel development.
3) Test your well water prior to any drilling activities, if you live or do business in leased areas. Because such water quality data must be legally defensible, withstanding potential industry attorney challenges, a certified water collector should do the sampling, thereby ensuring a strong and defensible chain of custody. Contact Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of IRAGE, who can guide you through this process. If you pool four to eight of your neighbors for water well testing within a zero- to three-mile radius of looming drilling, IRAGE can cover the $35 hourly rate for a technician.
4) Arrange meetings among your neighbors, family, and friends for presentations and discussions with IRAGE and WIRT activists about oil and gas development in Idaho and other states more severely affected by industry inroads. Local organizers can also answer your questions and talk with you over coffee or iced tea.
5) Check out information on the IRAGE and WIRT facebook and website pages, join these grassroots groups, and share this update with concerned citizens around the region. WIRT will soon release more information about Idaho oil and gas incursions and resistance in an upcoming newsletter.
 April 17, 2014 Oil & Gas Lease Auction (Idaho Department of Lands)
 Tract List (Idaho Department of Lands)
 Idaho Leases Thousands More Acres for Oil and Gas Development (January 16, 2014 Idaho Department of Lands)
 County Land Leased for Oil, Natural Gas Development (January 18, 2014 Idaho Press-Tribune)
 Fracking Campaign (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 WIRT Newsletter: Direct Action Manuals, Idaho Gas & Fukushima Plans, Fracking, Shale Oil, Coal, & Tar Sands Resistance (November 3, 2013 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Oil and Gas Exploration in Idaho (2006 Idaho Geological Survey)
 Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (facebook)
 Protect Idaho’s Water (CredoMobilize petition)
Filed under: Alerts, Idaho Fracking
The Monday, April 14, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Nez Perce activist Gary Dorr from the South Dakota frontline of the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline path. A veteran of many of the Moscow and Highway 12 megaload protests of 2011-13, Gary will talk about indigenous resistance to tar sands pipelines and megaloads in the Great Plains, including updates on the ongoing Rosebud Sioux Spirit Camp and Cheyenne River Sioux megaload blockades and the April 26 Reject and Protect demonstration against the KXL, led by Natives and ranchers in Washington DC. 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 dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
WIRT activists, friends, and supporters,
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) extends our gratitude to everyone who so effectively and passionately organized and participated in our successful Third Annual Celebration and Benefit Concert on Saturday evening, March 29, at the 1912 Center in Moscow. We heartily thank Jeanne McHale, who coordinated musical performers and circulated event flyers in Moscow and Pullman; Erik Jacobson, who created and revised beautiful posters for the occasion; Rob Briggs and Alan Solan, who served as bartenders; Ellen Roskovich, who hauled event materials and washed dishes; and several volunteers who diligently prepared tablecloths and napkins, provided potluck food, cleared tables and chairs, and assisted other arrangements. We greatly appreciate the talented musicians who exuberantly offered all of us an inspiring night of music: the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band, Matti Sand and John Fershee, Zack Degler and Bill Tracy of Mother Yeti, and Henry C and the Willards bandmates Terri Grzebielski, Donna Holmes, Jeanne McHale, Doug Park, Nels Peterson, and Henry Willard. We especially thank the Wine Company of Moscow for donating beer, wine, and a liquor service permit, and these 17 Moscow and Pullman businesses, which generously provided silent auction items together valued at $500.
B&L Bicycles: A bicycle pump
BookPeople of Moscow: A birthday party with pizza, cake, a movie, and reading
Brused Books: One gift certificate
Cowgirl Chocolates: Six assorted chocolate bars
Deadbeat Records: One gift certificate
Glasphemy: Four pairs of decorative Sock It To Me socks
Howard Hughes Video: Two movie rental gift certificates
Hyperspud Sports: A one-watt Luxeon LED flashlight
Maria Maggi: Four hand-painted watercolor greeting cards
Nectar: Dinner for two with an appetizer and two salads, entrees, and dessert
One World Café: Organic Landgrove coffee
Paradise Creek Bicycles: A Camelbak water bottle and a bike tune/rentals coupon
Paradise Creek Brewery: A beer growler, glass, and gift certificate
Patty’s Mexican Kitchen: Two gift certificates
Rico’s Pub: Two gift certificates
RicoShay: A hand-carved, wooden hand statue/cell phone holder
Tye Dye Everything: A tye-dye shirt
WIRT activists are most grateful for each of our 60-plus guests of the celebration and concert, who filled the Great Room with priceless conversation, dancing, singing, merry making, and ideas and donations to Wild Idaho Rising Tide. Together, you graciously contributed to our community spirit and raised about $840 after event fees for our regional collective, offsetting the costs of our direct action and outreach work, protest travel and materials expenses, and legal and court fees arising from non-violent civil disobedience.
If you missed the festivities and would still like to help WIRT activists sustain our formidable citizen resistance to extreme energy ventures like tar sands equipment transports, Northwest coal and shale oil trains and terminals, oil and gas exploration and extraction in Idaho, Highway 95 mis-alignment, and a growing plethora of climate-wrecking corporate schemes, please consider contributing what you can physically through upcoming WIRT events and/or fiscally via mailed donations, while we exchange online giving platforms.
Please visit our facebook and website pages often for current information and opportunities to confront the root causes of the climate crisis, by asserting direct actions and promoting locally organized solutions, in solidarity with frontline communities of resistance and an international, volunteer, grassroots network of activists.
Congratulations to each of you for a robust third year of shared climate and tribal activism and a memorable evening of celebration and for your ongoing support of WIRT!
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
Filed under: Events
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies invite concerned regional citizens to attend four tar sands megaload/pipeline-oriented events planned for this week, between April 2 and 6. On the evenings of Wednesday, April 2, and Friday, April 4, community organizers with offer presentations and inter-community discussions among Sandpoint and Plummer residents, Coeur d’Alene and Kalispel tribal members, and Moscow climate activists about the three heaviest, longest, and widest megaloads to ever travel on U.S. Highway 95 and either Idaho Highway 200 or Interstate 90 and East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, hauled by Mammoet USA South.** On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, April 5 and 6, we will provide condensed workshops sharing non-violent direct action skills with people eager to learn about and confront these transports and/or who have signed the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance. These convergences could feature a regional issue slide show, documentary screening, and/or action-planning conversations, depending on participant interests.
Citizen, Tribal, & Climate Activists Gatherings about Mammoet Megaloads
* Wednesday, April 2, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: East Bonner County Sandpoint Library Rooms 103 & 104, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho
* Friday, April 4, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: Benewah Wellness Center Conference Room B, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho
Direct Action Training Sessions for Mammoet Megaloads/Keystone XL Pipeline
* Saturday, April 5, 12 noon to 4 pm: Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room, 702 East Front Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
* Sunday, April 6, 12 noon to 4 pm: The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho
Across four Northwest states, WIRT activists and allies have gratefully witnessed that 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 push this campaign without local initiative, assistance, and coordination. Encouraged by regional residents’ comments and Coeur d’Alene Tribal Chairman Chief Allan’s letter, denouncing megaload traffic on public and indigenous highways and homelands, we hope to mobilize area citizens and Coeur d’Alene and Kalispel tribal members to fill the streets. These three loads would traverse their cities, reservations, and traditional lands, as over 70 have already passed without interference. We are eager to together support further regional resistance and to stand with Coeur d’Alene, Kalispel, and Confederated Salish and Kootenai 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 citizens for these free events. WIRT event planners welcome all participants willing to carpool: Please call us at 208-301-8039 for further information. We earnestly appreciate your involvement and welcome your questions, suggestions, and ideas about any of these events, issues, and related endeavors.
** March 2014 Highway 95 Mammoet Megaload Updates (March 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
Filed under: Events
Dutch heavy hauling company Mammoet plans to move three 1.6-million-pound industrial shipments, measuring 441 feet long, 27 feet wide, and 16 feet high, from the Port of Wilma, Washington, near Lewiston, Idaho, to the Calumet-owned Montana Refining Company in Great Falls, Montana [1-4]. At this closest U.S. refinery to Alberta tar sands mining operations, these megaloads would contribute to tripling refinery conversion of 10,000 barrels per day of Canadian tar sands crude into Rockies transportation fuels. These pieces of a desulfurization reactor, a “hydrocracker,” would travel through Moscow, Plummer and Worley on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Reservation, Coeur d’Alene, and perhaps Sandpoint before entering Montana [5, 6]. They would traverse 20th Street in Lewiston to avoid the rock face where Highways 12 and 128 intersect, and would only cross Moscow between 11 pm and 1 am on Sunday through Thursday, requiring removal of street light poles at the Washington Street curve, where the sidewalk would be closed between First and C Streets.
Since first public notice on December 13, 2013 – six weeks after initial Mammoet project proposal to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and after November 26 rejection by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – until late February 2014, Mammoet intended to traverse Highway 95 and Interstate 90, exit at Sherman Avenue, and take East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive for 5.5 miles, to detour around the Veterans Memorial (Bennett Bay) Bridge, a span too tall and long to withstand these megaload weights [7-9]. At an Interstate 90 interchange at the end of the drive near Higgens Point, previously abandoned when the ground collapsed under earth movers during construction, the behemoths would cross under the freeway and mount a temporary, gravel on-ramp between two wetlands. The colossal shipments would access the westbound interstate lanes while traveling east for a short distance, before crossing to the eastbound lanes and over the 1319-foot-long Blue Creek Bay Bridge built in 1951, and then driving off the highway between Pinehurst and Smelterville. Between mid-January and mid-February, the ITD District 1 office in Coeur d’Alene and FHWA personnel in Boise exchanged and revised various documents including a draft environmental evaluation based on a categorical exclusion, per National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements [10, 11]. Without FHWA review and approval of this transportation project, called the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route, Mammoet and ITD could not construct the likely reusable “temporary” Interstate 90 on-ramp, which would accommodate megaload passage while endangering natural resources and public infrastructure.
On February 6, 2014, a day after final ITD documents submittal to FHWA, five regional conservation- and climate change-oriented groups including WIRT co-wrote and sent a letter of concern about these proposed Mammoet megaloads to FHWA, ITD, and other responsible city, county, state, and federal representatives and transportation, wildlife, and environmental agencies . Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, Kootenai Environmental Alliance (KEA), Friends of the Clearwater, and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC) 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 grassroots 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.
WIRT colleagues harbor strong motivations for seeking to stop this tar sands onslaught. Adrienne Cronebaugh of KEA asserted: “Transport of megaloads along service roads that line sensitive and highly valuable natural resources, like Coeur d’Alene Lake, should not have been an option in the first place. East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive was not built for heavy industrial use nor is access to the interstate available at its end.”
“Concern is growing among Spokane Rising Tide activists that ITD and heavy haulers will not abandon this temporary ramp and route,” said Terry Hill of the climate change group. “The project could resurrect and permanently establish the Interstate 90 fossil fuel corridor through Washington, Idaho, and Montana. A megaload sliding or falling into Coeur d’Alene Lake and releasing toxic, lakebed heavy metals would jeopardize the downstream Spokane River basin that thousands of residents and wildlife share.”
Pat Rathmann of PESC stated: “The Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition aims to mitigate climate change and other environmental threats through education and community engagement. We view any activity promoting the production of tar sands oil as the most serious threat to climate change.”
“We oppose the transport of these oversize loads on our highways for two reasons,” Pat Fuerst of PESC added. “1) Our roads were not designed to handle such loads. We have no reason to tolerate the imposition on traffic, the damage to sub-surface road structure, and the risk of serious accidents. 2) These loads are part of the infrastructure that supports expanded development of Canadian tar sands. We visited tar sands mines and processing factories in Alberta and saw first-hand the devastation of land, air, and water caused by this industry. It is reckless, immoral, and unnecessary to damage, in this way, our Earth, the interdependent web of all existence, and the future of our children and grandchildren.”
Recent Issue Developments
Upon late February 2014 return from eight WIRT-instigated southern Idaho protests of Omega Morgan-hauled megaloads struggling toward Alberta tar sands in-situ mining operations, we learned that our former adversary, ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil’s heavy hauler Mammoet, was planning an unknown alternative proposal, perhaps a different route around the Palouse or the Coeur d’Alene Reservation or Lake. Over the course of the next week, we inquired among conservation and tribal allies and submitted a third public records request about the situation. According to March 5 and 10 WIRT phone conversations with Jason Minzghor, ITD District 1 operations manager in Coeur d’Alene, ITD would expand project analysis beyond a categorical exclusion to an environmental assessment, not a full environmental impact statement, but nonetheless an examination of the Mammoet scheme to build a “temporary” Interstate 90 on-ramp that requires greater public input through a 30-day comment period.
When ITD belatedly and illegally mailed 95 documents to WIRT last week, in response to our public records request, we compiled pertinent files on our website and found that FHWA had advised ITD to pursue a stronger environmental analysis on February 13, one week after receipt of our extensive letter of concern that we believe nudged these agencies into stalling or diverting this Interstate 90 megaload route. Through appropriate legal channels combined with frontline resistance at this historic moment, citizens of three Northwest states are currently challenging megaloads on three distinct routes – U.S. Highways 12, 95, and 395/93, as Oregon comrades forward a lawsuit filed against megaload permits issued in their state and Indian Peoples Action and allies blockade transports in Montana.
But various stakeholders suggest that Mammoet would prefer to avoid the typical scrutiny and delays of NEPA processes and the federal lands and funds associated with highway construction. The hauler has not proposed megaload use of Highways 3 and 5 east of Coeur d’Alene Lake to ITD. Talking with Mr. Minzghor in early March, poring over recently received ITD documents, and understanding a years-long opponent revealed that Mammoet will choose the option that lets it act most rapidly. On February 24, the Mammoet USA South operations office (located at 1499 Tech Place, Suite 280, Vancouver, Washington) and its contracted escort, Red Wolf Traffic Control (of Lapwai, Idaho, the seat of Nez Perce tribal government), devised an alternative megaload route up Highway 95 to Sandpoint and east through the fragile riparian habitat along beautiful Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River on Idaho and Montana Highways 200 to Ravalli, Montana [13, 14].
Depending on which option the hauler chooses and how quickly the private, Boise engineering consultation firm (and conflicted project and public relations promoter) Forsgren Associates can analyze bridges on the Highway 200 route or compile an environmental assessment for the original Interstate 90 proposal, Mammoet transports could move within a few weeks to six months, as of March 5. The alternative “goat path” purportedly poses less traffic problems than the interstate route. But most amazingly, it would impose the heaviest, longest, and widest megaloads ever allowed on Northwest roads and bridges on the almost two-mile-long Highway 95 Long Bridge over Lake Pend Oreille into Sandpoint . The dangerous, massive equipment would exit Highway 200 onto city streets specified as “Business 200” through Hope and East Hope, re-entering 200 on Centennial Boulevard. They would continue through the narrow, winding Icicle Cliffs area east of Clark Fork, Idaho, between towering rock faces on one side of Highway 200 and a steep drop down to the Clark Fork River on the other side .
In Montana, before turning south on U.S. Highway 93 toward Missoula, the shipments would pass along Montana Highway 200 through the Flathead Reservation, where an outraged Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal (CSKT) member has already exclaimed, “Over my dead body!” Montana activists and reservation residents are requesting public records from the Montana Department of Transportation and presenting information about this Mammoet proposal to tribal officials and council representatives. They have contacted a couple of activist lawyers who are willing to assist capable and ready CSKT attorneys with fighting any attempt to bring tar sands megaloads through the Flathead Reservation and other locations in Montana.
Megaload haulers seem increasingly willing to abuse public resources and citizen and treaty rights more recklessly with every invasion, yet residents along new routes inexplicably ogle the transports without a second thought about their destructive capabilities. Oil companies mining the Athabasca tar sands and Northwesterners burning the resulting Great Falls oil in their vehicles would kill people, forests, wildlife, and rivers while frying the planet . Wild Idaho Rising Tide first broke the news of the possible Highway 200 route and protests of the tar sands refinery megaloads on facebook, on WIRT’s Monday evening Climate Justice Forum radio program on KRFP Radio Free Moscow, and for Portland audiences of the Locus Focus radio show on KBOO . Dennis Bernstein of the nationally broadcast radio program Flashpoints also interviewed Helen Yost of WIRT about the Mammoet transports and regional resistance to Omega Morgan megaloads since a temporary federal injunction blocked them from Highway 12 and the Nez Perce Reservation and homelands on September 12, 2013 . Wild Idaho Rising Tide anticipates continuing discussions with interested lawyers, finding legal hooks and willing activists, and challenging these megaloads until Highway 95 can finally claim a more definitive victory. As throughout four Northwest states, we will work diligently to confront them on yet another alternative route, again with allied and tribal resistance.
Great Falls Tar Sands Refinery
The schedule of Mammoet megaload passage has remained a mystery, while Idaho and Montana transportation departments review and revise permits. Some ITD employees have “heard through the grapevine there are several bridges in Montana that do not have sufficient capacity to allow this size of truck.” However, the Great Falls tar sands refinery destination of these shipments is probably influencing some of the three-month delay of these three 600,000-pound cargoes rusting at the Port of Wilma. Some news emerged from the public open house meeting held by Calumet in Great Falls on February 18, 2014 [20-22]. One newspaper account notably mentions the refinery expansion as a doubling of capacity, although earlier releases described a tripling . Another media story notes that, “The hydrocracker will be transported to the refinery in three pieces, each weighing more than 350 tons…Calumet said it expects the megaload to arrive in the late spring or early summer. Calumet plans to hold at least two more informational sessions, one in June 2015 and one in January 2016” . An air quality permit from the Montana Air Resources Management Bureau may take three months to resolve, involving a 30-day public comment period. And removal of 14,200 cubic yards of lead- and petroleum-contaminated soil, discovered beneath the Calumet refinery expansion site where the megaloads would assemble into a hydrocracker, could also potentially delay the Mammoet transports from lumbering between Lewiston and Great Falls .
New Industrial Corridor?
These three Mammoet megaloads are not the first and are probably not the last to rampage Highway 95 and beyond, as once oil companies test and set precedents on new routes, they could continue to pursue their insatiable, destructive appetite for profit from fossil fuel extraction and production. After the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United victoriously, albeit temporarily, closed Highway 12 to the transport company Omega Morgan, its current route through eastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and western Montana for three shipments weighing up to 900,000 pounds has proven slow, arduous, and costly. Although oil-related industries seem to have become the world’s new superpowers, more influential than the governments of nations and empires, capable of achieving almost anything they wish, anywhere they want, they are desperately seeking a more efficient Northwest route for their megaloads. If Mammoet can make the “temporary” Interstate 90 on-ramp or Highway 200 route work, these roads and Highway 95 could transform into a corridor for all future such loads heading to extreme energy extraction projects in the continental interior, only exacerbating American and world dependence on non-renewable, climate-wrecking, dirty energy. We cannot accept this unsustainable and inequitable progression and must stop these megaloads.
Prefabricated infrastructure components of tar sands mining and processing facilities may not be the only cargo making the trip north and east through and to industrial sacrifice zones. Pipe manufactured in Asia for the fracked Bakken shale oil field may invade next . The Port of Lewiston has been courting equipment suppliers of tar sands and shale oil development for years. But even local Palouse residents successfully challenging Highway 95 re-routing and expansion south of Moscow dismiss claims that the region is in the corporate crosshairs as a transportation corridor for dirty energy projects farther inland. Wilderness preservation and academic impartiality have their price: Our most essential need, the air we all breathe, will be polluted and precipitate climate change, if people cannot forsake their pride, objectivity, and standard of living to take a stand against the hell looming at our doorsteps. Since the American manufacturing base largely moved off-shore, we can expect more international commerce invasions of rural and remote areas, where privileged, liberal refugees from urbanization and ensconced, conservative agrarians can learn a thing or two about resistance from impoverished people of color in cities, reservations, and around the globe. Megaload haulers confirm our regional dilemma: “John McCalla, president and CEO, Omega Morgan, specialists in large-scale moving operations, said, ‘The ports along the Columbia and Snake River continue to offer Omega Morgan opportunities to ship right sized cargo into the Midwest and Canada. The outlook for 2014 and beyond remains strong for continuing use of the routes leading from those ports.’”
 Mammoet 2014 Megaloads (Wild Idaho Rising Tide website category)
 WIRT Newsletter: Wednesday Hearing/Action & Public Records/News about Tar Sands Refinery Megaloads (January 14, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Three Megaloads – Largest Yet – Prepare for Trip from Idaho to Great Falls (February 21, 2014 Missoulian)
 More Mega-Loads to Roll Across Idaho, Both North and South (February 21, 2014 Boise Weekly)
 Mammoet Megaloads 2013-14 Public Records (January 10, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Mammoet Megaloads Public Records 3-24-14 (March 24, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route 3-13-14 (March 13, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Ramp 3-13-14 (March 13, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
 Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Ramp Area (March 13, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)
 Megaload Proposal in Feds’ Hands (January 15, 2014 Coeur d’Alene Press)
 Environmental Review Toolkit (U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration)
 Concerns and Comments about the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route (February 6, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Loads on Hold (March 13, 2014 Coeur d’Alene Press)
 Megaload: Blame Boise for Mess (March 13, 2014 Coeur d’Alene Press)
 Fly Over the Long Bridge in Sandpoint Idaho (SandpointIdaho video)
 Megaloads Could Roll through Bonner County (March 29, 2014 Bonner County Daily Bee)
 Crude Sacrifice (SystemOfIlusion video)
 Locus Focus: More on the Megaloads, with Wild Idaho Rising Tide (March 10, 2014 KBOO)
 Flashpoints (March 20, 2014 KPFA, after 41:44)
 Calumet Specialty Products Partners (2014 Calumet Specialty Products Partners)
 Calumet Holds Open House on Expansion Project (February 18, 2014 KFBB)
 Refinery Addresses Concerns about Great Falls Expansion (February 19, 2014 KXLF)
 Calumet Refinery Plans for Safety as Expansion Approaches (February 18, 2014 Great Falls Tribune)
 Calumet Montana Refining Addresses Concerns about Great Falls Expansion (February 19, 2014 KRTV)
 Refinery Seeking Waste Removal (March 27, 2014 Great Falls Tribune)
 Real Marine Highways for Real Intermodal Solutions (March 7, 2014 MarineLink)
Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
The Monday, March 31, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), from ground-zero of Idaho oil and gas exploration and development, Payette County. Alma and Tina will provide updates on citizen observations, documentation, and resistance in four counties, Payette County “baseline” water sampling requirements, seismic testing invasions and risks, proposed processing and pipeline facilities, IRAGE water testing outreach, and oil and gas leasing of state lands under rivers. 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 dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Wild Idaho Rising Tide
Selected, ongoing posts of 95 public documents belatedly provided by the Idaho Transportation Department District 1 (Coeur d’Alene), in response to Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s third public records request for information and communication about Mammoet USA South’s proposed 2014 transport of three 1.6-million-pound megaloads on U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 or Idaho Highway 200 to a Great Falls, Montana, tar sands refinery tripling its production:
Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Wednesday to Sunday, April 2 to 6: Mammoet Megaload Meetings
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies are postponing plans from tomorrow, Wednesday, March 26, until next week, April 2 to 6, to meet and offer presentations, as described in the March 20 WIRT newsletter, about the proposed Highway 95/200 Mammoet megaloads . We are working hard to confront these monsters, but the Coeur d’Alene Idaho Transportation Department office did not respond to our public records request by Monday, as required by Idaho law. WIRT is rescheduling our Plummer and Sandpoint convergences and adding Coeur d’Alene and Moscow training sessions during next week and weekend, and will send a full report/announcement about the situation soon.
Tribal & Climate Activists Gathering about Mammoet Megaloads
* Wednesday, April 3, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library Room 103-4, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho
* Friday, April 4, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: Benewah Wellness Center Room B, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho
Direct Action Training Sessions for Keystone XL Pipeline/Mammoet Megaloads
* Saturday, April 5, 12 noon to 4 pm: Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room, 702 East Front Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
* Sunday, April 6, 12 noon to 4 pm: The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho
Wednesday, March 26: Fueling Dissent: A Multimedia Storytelling Tour
Lesley Haddock, a University of California Berkeley student working on an anti-extraction project with her friend Matthew Gerring, is traveling to the sites of tar sands mining in Alberta and following the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route south through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, to Texas . Relying on a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, they plan to document the stories of the many people along their route, whose lives are directly impacted by this pipeline and tar sands projects. They are excited to interview folks who have been involved in megaload protests, at ground-zero of Idaho tar sands resistance, Moscow and the Clearwater Valley. Please call Lesley at 707-293-3253 before she and Matthew depart the area on March 28, or converge with WIRT activists at The Attic at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 26, near downtown Moscow. Lesley and Matthew would like to talk with as many people as possible!
Thursday, March 27: A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands
Ever wonder about Alberta tar sands development? Learn about it through the direct experiences of six Idaho activists who participated in the third and fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walks, as they 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 . Join us on Thursday, March 27, at 7 pm in the College of Law Room 103 at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and for the third Tar Sands Solidarity Journey from Idaho to the next First Nations-led walk on June 28. Dennis Bernstein of Flashpoints interviewed Helen Yost of WIRT about regional resistance to Omega Morgan megaloads since a temporary federal injunction blocked them from Highway 12 and the Nez Perce Reservation and homelands on September 12 . She promoted this event toward the end of the interview broadcast nationwide from KPFA Berkeley.
Saturday, March 29: Third Annual Celebration of WIRT
We are exuberantly anticipating a great party among our north Idaho community at our Saturday night, March 29, anniversary benefit concert . For voluntary admission donations, experience Matti Sand, Mother Yeti, Henry C and the Willards, and WIRT activists rocking the 1912 Center Great Room at 412 East Third Street in Moscow, after the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band parades from Friendship Square to the 1912 Center at 6:30 pm. Enjoy a potluck dinner, beer and wine, and background slides, and dance, sing, and support another year of relentless climate activism: All are welcome! WIRT is seeking event volunteers to hang flyers, solicit (and contribute!) raffle items and beer and wine, haul event materials, staff the door, bartend, and clean-up.
Other WIRT & Allied Events in March & Beyond
WIRT Events Calendar 
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
 WIRT Newsletter: WIRT Thursday Meeting, Spring Events, & Allied Invitations (March 20 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Fueling Dissent: A Multimedia Storytelling Tour (March 12 Kickstarter)
 A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands (March 19 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Flashpoints (March 20 KPFA Berkeley, starting at 41:44)
 Third Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide! (March 22 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
 Events Calendar (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
Filed under: Wild Idaho Rising Tide
The Monday, March 24, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features Henry Willard and Jeanne McHale of the regional blues and rock band Henry C and the Willards, who are headlining the benefit concert at the Third Annual Celebration of WIRT this Saturday evening, March 29, at the 1912 Center in Moscow, Idaho. Jeanne and Henry will share some new, original songs from their recent unreleased, band recordings and talk about their music over the last few years. 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 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
(Un-proofread draft, still missing April 2013…)
In May 2013, WIRT celebrated previous Moscow Renaissance Fair royalty among our ranks, with the fortieth annual fair parade in East City Park. On the next weekend, we traveled to Spokane to give a speech and table at Word to Your Mother held in Riverfront Park, and interviewed for two extensive megaload and climate change articles in The Fig Tree. During the following week, we threw a WIRT Activists House Party and participated in the Paradise Ridge field tour led by the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, exploring the implications of Highway 95 re-routing and expansion, as a partner organization and board member.
June 2013 not only witnessed songwriter Roy Zimmerman’s Moscow performance premiere of his song co-written with Melanie Harby for WIRT, The Tide is Rising, but a robust, expansive, allied campaign against renewed oil and gas drilling in Payette County. With Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE) comrades, we launched Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! protests at Idaho Department of Lands offices in six cities, confronting the director outside the Boise headquarters about drilling and potential fracking near water bodies and wildlife refuges and on state lands. The continent-wide, early-June week of action grew into a month of action that caused the oil and gas development leasers and regulators at IDL to admit to allowing impending fracking in Idaho and to issue media counter-releases and public disinformation fact sheets. WIRT traveled twice to Boise to demonstrate at the state agency and to educate the public about oil and gas and other dirty energy issues at the Community Progressive III convergence of community outreach booths and information workshops in Julia Davis Park. Against three of four new well drilling applications over the next year, we wrote comments that IDL posted but dismissed, despite possible legal repercussions.
As June transformed in July 2013, our Fearless Summer demonstration with Spokane comrades, against escalating coal export train traffic through their Washington sacrifice zone, brought dozens of outraged citizens to the streets of Coeur d’Alene and Spokane, and prompted the third of four sets of railroad trespass charges in the Northwest since December 2011, in solidarity with comrades in British Columbia, Washington, and Montana. Just before the holiday weekend, six Idahoans and two Nebraskans journeyed to Fort McMurray, Alberta, to express our anti-fossil fuel extraction solidarity with First Nations allies at the fourth annual Tar Sands Healing Walk. We returned too late to participate in the hearing and citizen rally in Hermiston, Oregon, against Ambre Energy’s planned Port of Morrow coal export terminal in Boardman, but sent written comments to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on behalf of our thousands of members. Although WIRT participated in the mid-July Rising Tide Continental Gathering in Green River, Utah, desert heat and time-crunches kept us from the following Canyon Country Action Camp protesting looming Utah tar sands mining.
Before August 2013 dawned, WIRT staged a protest of the two newly-arrived Omega Morgan-hauled evaporators at the Port of Wilma, Washington, and found one missing, as Portland Rising Tide and other colleagues downriver symbolically hung banners and blockaded with kayaks, for a 350.org Summer Heat action proclaiming “Coal, Oil, Gas: None Shall Pass” (on and under the Columbia River bridge where two megaloads has just passed). August started with strong protests near two recently drilled gas wells outside New Plymouth, Idaho. These and subsequent, vigilant, allied, on-site monitoring and protesting activities documenting diesel spills on well pads and seismic testing too close to residences and underground gas pipelines may have provoked a February 2014 Idaho “Ag-Gag” law that a broad coalition of our fractivist and independent journalist friends are currently contesting in federal court. In early August, we traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to train as trainers teaching some of the 70,000 people who have signed on to the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance. Two nights later, on August 5-6, Highway 12 in Idaho erupted with four nights of passionate blockades organized by Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) tribal leaders and activists against the first of two Omega Morgan tar sands megaloads that two WIRT women had confronted at the port. Dozens of WIRT activists contributed resistance and reporting throughout the week, and encouraged and supported the uprisings that occurred in Idaho and Missoula, Montana. Several organizers also participated in the ensuing handful of Nimiipuu tribal activists meetings and teach-ins at Lapwai, Idaho.
September 2013 brought a Boise indigenous-led rally against tar sands transports at the Idaho Capitol steps and the Idaho Rivers United/Nez Perce federal court hearing about Highway 12 megaloads that resulted in Judge Winmill’s preliminary injunction again diverting colossal shipments from the Clearwater Valley to the Palouse. As court wrangling continued and our arrested Montana comrades denounced coal exports from Helena train tracks, WIRT co-hosted a benefit concert for the 28 Nez Perce megaload blockaders cited and jailed on Highway 12 in August. Although the event attracted a New York Times reporter and photographer and emphasized Nimiipuu voices, the newspaper mis-attributed and failed to recognize the event co-sponsors. WIRT and our regional allies spoke out against the proposed Millennium Bulk coal export terminal in Longview at public scoping hearings and rallies in Spokane and Pasco, Washington. A few members of most of the nine, newly emerging Rising Tide collectives across the Northwest, including WIRT, gathered for a stormy, late-September regional summit at a former Bellingham, Washington, communal farm, on the heels of a Rising Tide panel discussion in Seattle, entitled Northwest Fossil Fuels: Exports & Resistance from Oregon to Alaska.
In the relative October 2013 calm before the regional megaload resistance storm lasting four winter months, stranded Port of Wilma evaporator owner Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) filed an appeal with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court, contesting the Highway 12 megaload blockage decision. Hidden in a port warehouse since before the Nez Perce gauntlet of its twin, the second megaload emerged as four cylinders (and a later core) that the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), police, and Omega Morgan conspired and succeeded in sneaking past WIRT protesters in the Highway 95 sacrifice zone during mid-month. Two days later, IRAGE and WIRT staged a second year of Idaho Global Frackdown protests, marching through Saturday Boise public markets to the Idaho Capitol steps. Upon return to north Idaho, we and Nimiipuu allies caught an oversize Vietnamese cylinder likely used for natural gas processing barely but swiftly clearing Forest Service size restrictions for megaloads on Highway 12. In the wake of several explosive and deadly train wrecks across the continent, citizens turned out in oppositional force at late-October public meetings about the proposed Tesoro Savage shale oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington.
During the second weekend in November 2013, WIRT led two direct action training and planning sessions in Spokane and Moscow, to prepare friends to confront the dirty energy invasions of tar sands infrastructure and coal and shale oil trains. Within hours, the largest ever Highway 95 megaload, the Omega Morgan-hauled evaporator core, met still-skiddish Moscow resistance on Washington Street. Bellingham and Spokane comrades assisted WIRT over the next two nights with inaugural Interstate 90 megaload monitoring and Coeur d’Alene and Wallace, Idaho, protesting. Unlike the underpopulated WIRT and allied protesting and monitoring efforts that greeted the initial Omega Morgan-transported full evaporator and two smaller cylinders in October and December 2012 – the historic first megaloads to reach Alberta tar sands mining operations via Highway 12 – the region has mounted strong physical resistance to these shipments starting with the five August 2013 Nez Perce and allied protests in Idaho and Montana that provoked 28 arrests. After the dismantled evaporator outer shells and core cleared Highways 95 and Interstate 90 in Idaho over the course of four nights of WIRT and allied protesting and monitoring in October and November 2013, three of the eight to ten evaporators originally slated for Highway 12 have departed the Port of Umatilla and reached Canada or Bonner, Montana, in four months. But along the way, they, their designers, haulers, and permitters have faced 28 direct confrontations with Northwest activists, resulting in 24 arrests and two citations. Resistance beyond the interior Northwest re-emerged at the November 18 public Omega Morgan megaload presentation in industry-friendly John Day, Oregon, where WIRT and newly connected allies asked some difficult and disruptive questions. At the November 25 Oregon transportation department and citizen commission in Ontario, a Warm Springs tribal member also objected to lack of indigenous consent sought by the state and megaload hauler before passage through tribal conservation and treaty lands, an argument later amplified by the Umatilla tribal board chair to Governor Kitzhaber. Climate activists from Albany and Corvallis, Oregon, joined WIRT and allies of newly formed Spokane Rising Tide at the Port of Umatilla, to confront the first tar sands megaload to cross Oregon, but it never budged on the Sunday and Monday nights before Thanksgiving.
In December 2013, on-the-ground opposition to tar sands megaloads rose to historic heights, with robust actions in eastern Oregon and Idaho organized, supported, and advised by WIRT. December 1 and 2 protests at the Port of Umatilla, led by Portland Rising Tide and the Confederated Umatilla Tribes, saw the first two lock-downs to a megaload pull-truck and a soft blockade by an indigenous elder, incurring three arrests and accompanying restraining orders. As the Omega Morgan-hauled load languished during a week of bitterly cold, snowy weather, after only one night of travel to Pendleton, Oregon, the Umatilla Tribes held nightly load-side protection ceremonies, and Rising Tide Seattle visited the Fife, Washington, office of Omega Morgan, demanding some accountability. Meanwhile in Idaho, six previous participants in the summer, indigenous-led Tar Sands Healing Walk in Alberta presented their perspectives to a Moscow audience, and regional residents vociferously denounced the proposed Tesoro Savage shale oil/tar sands terminal in Vancouver, Washington, at a Spokane Valley public scoping hearing and rally and through written comments. On December 12, Portland Rising Tide protested megaloads in the Hillsboro, Oregon, office of Omega Morgan, and Rising Tide Seattle invaded the Bellevue, Washington, office of Oregon megaload designer/owner and Idaho litigator Resources Conservation Company International. Four days later, Grant County and other police jailed 16 West Coast Rising Tide and allied activists for two nights, when only three of them locked-down to two disabled vehicles in the John Day area highway ahead of the first Oregon megaload and others stood in peaceful support on the roadside. On December 20, Portland Rising Tide visited the Portland office of the Oregon Department of Transportation, and WIRT activists attended an ITD public meeting in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, that flaunted heavy hauler Mammoe’s plans for a temporary Interstate 90 on-ramp for three 1.6-million-pound tar sands refinery megaloads, where interchange construction had previously collapsed in Coeur d’Alene Lake. The Umatilla Tribes and Portland Rising Tide convened another demonstration and ceremony when the second Oregon megaload arrived in Pendleton two days before Christmas. The last weekend in 2013 found WIRT and 350 Boise on the inaugural megaload frontlines of southern Idaho, after extensive coverage of our protest plans throughout December. With local activists, we stood against the tar sands transportation project in Marsing, where even the Idaho Statesman documented our efforts, and at Timmerman Junction among Wood River/”Sun” Valley residents more responsive to such demonstrations than Boise citizens.
The first days of January 2014 surprisingly revealed the editorial board of the Vale, Oregon, newspaper expressing somber concerns about megaload damages to local roads, and eastern Idaho Shoshone-Bannock tribal members releasing a formal statement decrying lack of tribal consultation before ITD megaload permitting and passage and possible adverse transport effects on treaty lands and waters. The John Day newspaper even announced WIRT direct action workshops, which we hosted along with megaload slide shows and documentary presentations in Hailey and Boise, Idaho, and larger protests with Occupy Boise and allies in Mountain View and again at Timmerman Junction, Idaho. After two weeks in southern Idaho, we returned to Moscow to display our displeasure with dismissed verbal public input at a mid-January city meeting for government and corporate officials considering the Mammoet oversize loads planned for Highway 95 and Coeur d’Alene temporary on-ramp travel. During the third week of January, WIRT participated in, documented, and assisted media coverage of Missoula, Montana, protests of the first two Oregon Omega Morgan transports and a smaller megaload using the same route. Indian Peoples Action, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, and Blue Skies Campaign led the blockading round dances and sit-ins that resulted in two arrests and two citations.
February 2014 ramped up more Oregon and Idaho megaload protests. On February 10, Act on Climate (our Albany and Corvallis, November co-protesters at the Port of Umatilla) held a rally on the Marion County Courthouse steps in Salem, Oregon, as Walla Walla (Umatilla) Chief Yellowbird and Peter Goodman filed a lawsuit assisted by WIRT against the Oregon Department of Transportation, claiming that the agency had not acted in the public interest. Although no Portland area comrades converged on the next day for carpools to a Umatilla gathering and port demonstration against the third megaload, Umatilla tribal activists monitored miles of megaload passage on Highway 395 and Interstate 84 to Ukiah, Oregon, as they had during the first two load transits. Apprehensive about possible megaload impacts to city streets and buried utilities, the Nyssa City Council denied a proposed alternative route on city streets skirting Clark Boulevard, also contested for megaload use as a sub-standard, non-state route in Malheur County, Oregon. WIRT sent Nyssa officials and the Vale, Oregon, newspaper editorial board a letter expressing supporting and describing Highway 95 megaload accidents and damages. On Friday and Saturday, February 21 and 22, a dozen local Idaho women protested and monitored the third Omega Morgan transport in a record five locations in two nights: Hammett, Mountain View, Timmerman Junction, Craters of the Moon National Monument, and Arco, Idaho. Although visible megaload resistance never arose in Salmon, Idaho, area residents monitored, researched, and countered the industrial invasion with plenty of documentation and coordination with WIRT. After several grateful days in Idaho Falls, WIRT again participated in another allied presentation entitled A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands at Washington State University in Pullman, and organized a tribal and climate activists gathering about the Mammoet megaloads on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation in Plummer, Idaho. Thanks to a Earth First! Journal editor, Resistance to Alberta Tar Sands Megaloads in Idaho and Beyond will appear as an grassroots anthology chapter written by WIRT and Portland Rising Tide activists in Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab, published by AK Press this spring.
In March 2014, WIRT marched with our organizational banner against a strong head wind, down Main Street in the Moscow Mardi Gras Parade, and supported but could not attend, due to winter weather, a Rising Tide non-violent direct action workshop at the University of Montana in Missoula. We commented on the final environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline, and learned on March 5 that our February 6 allied letter of concern to federal and state transportation, wildlife, and environmental agencies has caused our former adversary, Imperial Oil’s heavy hauler Mammoet, to pursue a stronger environmental analysis and an alternative route for its looming heaviest, longest, and widest ever megaloads bound for a Montana tar sands refinery tripling it production. WIRT traveled for five days in mid-March to document the Mammoet megaload route, protest, network, and build direct action skills. At the third Oregon megaload-blockading Indian Peoples Action and allied round dance in Missoula, Montana, police arrested three women. Four Rising Tide trainers taught fifty or more members of nine Northwest Rising Tide collectives advanced blockade strategies and tactics at Western Washington University in Bellingham. In late March, WIRT co-hosted another tribal and climate activists gathering about the Mammoet megaloads in Plummer, and offered a megaload slide show and tar sands documentary in yet another transport diversion sacrifice zone, Sandpoint, Idaho. We gave a third Alberta Tar Sands Healing Walk presentation at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, only days before we again reveled with friends and supporters in a benefit concert at the Third Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide, commemorating WIRT’s third anniversary and reinvigorating our direct action collective that confronts climate change perpetrators.
Filed under: Wild Idaho Rising Tide
The third year of relentless Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activism has delivered plenty to celebrate!* So we invite everyone to the Third Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide, commemorating our anniversary as a direct action collective and reinvigorating our members, friends, and supporters for another year of confronting climate change perpetrators. Between 6:30 pm and midnight on Saturday, March 29, revel in a parade and benefit concert provided by four bands, along with home-cooked, potluck dinner and desert, beer and wine for purchase, and dozens of raffle prizes donated by community members and businesses. Please join dirty energy resisters at the 1912 Center Great Room, 412 East Third Street in Moscow, Idaho, for a well-deserved wild time full of spirited conversation and danceable, singable music played by these remarkable artists:
Moscow Volunteer Peace Band
Depending on weather conditions, this year’s festivities will again begin with a parade converging at Friendship Square at 6:30 pm, and circling through downtown Moscow to the 1912 Center. Peace is more fun than fossil fuel wars, so bring your protest signs, chants, and instruments to gather up rebellious party-goers. Check out When the Saints Go Marching In performed by the Peace Band for the 2013 Moscow Mardi Gras.
An artist who creates environmentally friendly, handmade jewelry, dolls, and greeting cards from her mountain home in the heart of Clearwater Valley, Matti writes and performs original songs on acoustic guitar, accompanied by lead guitarist John Fershee. Playing together for a decade, they have recorded and self-released two albums of indie folk music entitled ‘One’ (2008) and ‘Two’ (2010), distributed in individually drawn, recycled cardboard cases. Watch May 2012 footage of their Angel Dreams performance drawn from a Russian poem, at the 39th annual Moscow Renaissance Fair.
Zack Degler and Bill Tracy on guitar, drums, and vocals offer their dynamic, experimental, and psychedelic rock without bandmate Mike Halliday’s input on bass, keyboards, and vocals for this event. Currently developing and capturing their repertoire through a somewhat primitive, home-recording approach, Mother Yeti has been playing scores of gigs over the last two years, saving their earnings for some real studio time. With plenty of commitment and practice, they plan to tour the Earth and other planets soon. Listen to their tune Up Or Down.
Originally formed to play for a September 2012 birthday party, this regional blues/rock band features musicians Henry Willard on guitar, dobro, and harmonica, Jeanne McHale on piano and vocals, Doug Park on bass and mandolin, Nels Peterson on drums, Terri Grzebielski on acoustic guitar and vocals, and Donna Holmes on percussion and vocals. The band members have played with Kelley Riley, Charlie Sutton, The Hot Flashes, and several other performers. View their musical videos.
With hearty thanks to Erik Jacobson for his event flyer design and to Jeanne McHale for co-coordinating the multiple entertainment and publicity aspects of this March 29 anniversary and fundraising party, Wild Idaho Rising Tide eagerly anticipates another lively evening gathering, enjoying shared camaraderie, live music and dancing, and plenty of rowdy fun. To savor our successes, hundreds of selected photos and videos of our demonstrations and initiatives will cycle through a background slide show. Do not miss this upcoming opportunity to support the exuberant activism of Idaho’s courageous, frontline challengers of the corporate, industrial, root causes of climate change for only $5 or greater voluntary admission contributions. Please visit the WIRT website and facebook pages for further information, and print and post the color Third Annual Celebration of WIRT Flyer. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-301-8039 to assist with preparing for and staging WIRT’s big night.
* WIRT’s Third Year: Cause for Celebration! (March 23 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
Filed under: Events
Friends and comrades,
Please see the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) Events Calendar and facebook events for linked information about these March and later events. Now that a long, cold, difficult four months of winter travel for anti-megaload organizing across three states has concluded, expect forthcoming reports and announcements about the recent Missoula megaload protest, Highway 95 Mammoet megaload re-routing and activists meetings, oil and gas developments and resistance in southern Idaho, and the third annual celebration of WIRT occurring next Saturday, March 29. Join us soon at any or all of these happenings: Your involvement is crucial to the successes of the climate justice movement! For instance, at the monthly WIRT meeting tonight, we will start to form affinity groups and design tactics for direct actions against looming Mammoet megaloads through Moscow.
March 20: Third Thursday Monthly WIRT Potluck & Meeting (Thursday 7 pm, The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 E. Second Street, Moscow, Idaho)
March 22: Grabbing Back Contributors Panel Discussion (Saturday 4:30 pm, Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, The Crucible, 1260 Seventh Street, Oakland, California)
March 26: Tribal & Climate Activists Gathering about Mammoet Megaloads (Wednesday 1:30 pm, Benewah Wellness Center, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho, & Wednesday 7 pm, East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho)
March 27: A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands (Thursday 7 pm, College of Law Room 103, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho)
March 29: Citizens’ Climate Lobby Inaugural Meeting & Presentation (Saturday 1 pm, 1912 Center Fiske Room, 412 E. Third Street, Moscow, Idaho)
Please consider joining a new group of engaged, local citizens on Saturday, March 29, for a presentation on a market-based solution to climate change known as a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. The event will mark the inaugural meeting of the Palouse Region chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), a rapidly-growing, nonpartisan, nationwide organization whose goal is to build the political will for a stable climate. Former Utah U.S. Senate candidate and CCL regional coordinator William Barron will lead the presentation and organizational meeting. For more information, call Rob Briggs at 509-332-5819 or search for Citizens’ Climate Lobby on the internet.
March 29: Third Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (Saturday 7 pm to midnight, 1912 Center Great Room, 412 E. Third Street, Moscow, Idaho)
Multiple April Events…
May 2-5: Third Extreme Energy Extraction Summit (Friday to Monday, times TBA, Bosque Center, Rio Grande Urban Forest, Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Kim Ellis of Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS) in West Virginia reached out to WIRT and allies about the following described summit, because participants from our area are under-represented. Kim attended the first two summits in 2013, and is part of summit working groups, so she welcomes any questions about the event. She is especially interested in inviting Montana Indian Peoples Action, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Warm Springs folks. Please see the following information and contact Kim at email@example.com if you would like to attend. Also reply to WIRT at this email address if you can carpool to New Mexico.
“Good news! It’s not too late to apply to join us for the third Extreme Energy Extraction Summit on May 2 to 5 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The application deadline has been extended beyond March 15. In order to make life saner for the planning team, we will not be accepting late registrations, and travel scholarships will not be available after April 1. So please apply now.
As of right now, we are roughly half full. Please note that we still cannot guarantee acceptance, as we are striving for the most balanced and diverse group possible. Organizers in the Northwest, Midwest, the South, Alaska, and Canada are particularly encouraged to apply, as those regions are currently under-represented. Please forward the original invitation included below to your networks and contacts. We are looking forward to seeing you in two months!
The Extreme Energy Extraction Collaborative”
The next summit will be held on May 2 to 5 at the beautiful Bosque Center in the Rio Grande Urban Forest in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are especially excited to be in New Mexico, where the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment has graciously agreed to play host and arrange community tours of uranium impacted areas for those who can arrive on May 1.
Once again, the summit will bring together the full spectrum of groups across the country resisting all forms of energy extraction, from small grassroots community groups to large national nonprofits and everything in between. The incredible diversity of groups and individuals that have come together for our first two summits has been both the greatest strength and greatest challenge of our collaborative, as we struggle together to find ways to work across differences and build our collective power.
To honor this diversity, the focus of the third summit will be “Building concrete skills for working together across differences – in terms of issues, tactics, and identities – to strengthen our movement to end extreme extraction.” Participants will take home the following tools to collaborate more successfully with other groups:
* A deeper understanding of the issues, tactics, and identities we represent
* Information about what the people we want to be in alignment with need from us, in terms of collaboration
* Some criteria for naming when shared strategy is helpful (and not)
* Models and examples of successful collaborations
* Shared language and frameworks for working across differences
* Concrete collaborative projects that sub-sets of the group can move forward
This collaborative (like WIRT!) belongs to you. We aren’t convened by any one organization, coalition, or funder. We were created by the grassroots, for the grassroots, and the summit will be as powerful as we make it. Please bring your ideas and proposals for how we can all work together. The more that folks bring to the table, the more we can get done in the short time we have together.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
Filed under: Newsletters
What are the connections among climate change, the Alberta tar sands, megaloads, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the health of the planet and all of its inhabitants?
Explore these and related issues with local citizens on Thursday, March 27, at 7 pm in College of Law Room 103 at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Area activists journeyed to the tar sands region of northern Alberta to join First Nations (Native Americans) and concerned citizens from across the continent for the 2013 Tar Sands Healing Walk. Led by First Nations elders and leaders, participants witnessed the scale of environmental and social devastation caused by tar sands mining and crude oil processing.
Several local healing walkers, including James Blakely, Pat Fuerst, Dan and Pat Rathmann, Anne Remaley, and Helen Yost, will share what they learned on their solidarity journey, connecting local and regional megaloads, huge pipeline projects, impacts on people and places, and overarching climate change, cultural, and ethical issues. During a discussion period following their presentation, the speakers welcome all questions, comments, and suggestions of solutions to these national, continental, and worldwide problems.
Based on similar presentations at the 1912 Center in December and at Washington State University in February, this event is created in allied partnership with the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Idaho Sierra Club, 350 Boise, and the University of Idaho Environmental Law Society [1-5]. For further information, contact Pat Fuerst at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 ‘Healing Walk’ Looks at Tar Sands (December 9, 2013 Moscow-Pullman Daily News)
 Moscow Group Tours Alberta Tar Sands (December 15, 2013 Spokesman-Review)
 A Local Approach to a Global Issue (February 28, 2014 Daily Evergreen)
 Tar Sand Healing Walk Presentation (February 28, 2014 KRFP Evening Report, Tar Sands Descriptions)
 Tar Sands Threaten Environment, Health, and Treaty Rights Local Activists Tell WSU (March 7, 2014 Washington State University Office of the Tribal Liaison)
Filed under: Alberta Tar Sands, Events
The Monday, March 17, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features George Price, a University of Montana professor and Indian Peoples Action organizer. George discusses January and March 2014 tar sands megaload protests led by Indian Peoples Action in Missoula, Montana, Mammoet tar sands refinery transports on the Flathead Reservation, and other Montana tar sands/fossil fuels resistance and indigenous rights defense. 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 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
On Wednesday night, March 12-13, the third Omega Morgan transport originating at the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, and carrying Alberta tar sands mining equipment traveled from Darby to Lolo, Montana, and will traverse Missoula on Thursday night, March 13-14, after midnight. Indian Peoples Action (IPA), Blue Skies Campaign, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, and other Rising Tide groups and allies are again organizing and supporting round dances in the middle of Reserve Street, to temporarily block this megaload and share opposition to tar sands development with the world. As we await an official media release and action alert (posted as soon as possible from the road), IPA is calling on all Natives and allies in Missoula and beyond to join in this respectful, non-violent protest with no intentions of arrests. Action organizers are bringing independent media to ensure wide coverage, and are hoping to double participation from about 70 people at the previous Missoula megaload protest on January 23.
Contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) at 208-301-8039 for 12:30 pm Moscow, Idaho, carpools, and Terry Hill of Spokane Rising Tide at Facebook.com/Terry.Hill.509 for 3:00 pm Spokane, Washington, carpools to Missoula on Thursday afternoon, March 13. Montana activists have arranged lodging for participants visiting Missoula. Plan to meet for this great indigenous-led event at the Rosauers parking lot at 2350 South Reserve in Missoula, at 12 midnight on Thursday/Friday, March 13-14. If you have any questions, please email Kathy Little Leaf at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or see the Indian Peoples Action facebook page at Facebook.com/IndianPeoplesAction for more information. Based on the ever-changing schedule of transports in transit, WIRT will regularly update the tentative dates, times, places, and carpool arrangements of other Montana protesting and monitoring activities at various locations as they arise, on the WIRT website and facebook pages. Idle No More!
Round 3: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (February 16 Wild Idaho Rising Tide) (facebook event)
Filed under: Alerts, Oregon Resistance
The Monday, March 10, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features Rob Briggs, a core WIRT activist and co-founder of the Palouse regional chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Rob discusses the rapidly-growing, nonpartisan, nationwide organization building the political will for a stable climate and advancing a market-based solution to climate change known as a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. 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 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
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