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The Wild Idaho Rising Tide collective confronts the root causes of climate change by asserting direct actions and promoting locally organized solutions, in solidarity with frontline communities of resistance and an international, volunteer, grassroots network of activists.
Updated: 17 hours 49 min ago

Highway 95 Safety Petition and Demonstration

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 01:50

PRDC Safety Petition

To enhance safety on a dangerous stretch of U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow, Idaho, Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) has initiated a petition that urges the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to immediately implement site-specific measures to mitigate unsafe highway conditions.  The scene of numerous traffic accidents and fatalities, the Reisenauer Hill area of Highway 95 poses serious threats to travelers during inclement and winter weather.  For a third time in a dozen years, American taxpayers are requesting that ITD lower and seek enforcement of the speed limit around Reisenauer Hill, erect reduced speed limit warning signs with weather-activated, flashing lights at both approaches to the hill, and install rumble strips in the center and fog lines, and in the traffic lanes before the warning signs, on this section of Highway 95.  Establishing these interim safety measures until and during construction of the new highway could help save lives and property.  PRDC encourages all citizens to read the full text of the petition on the PRDC and MoveOn websites, and sign it soon.  Please also circulate the petition to your colleagues and group members for signatures by 11 pm on Wednesday, December 17.

Petition to the Idaho Transportation Department Requesting Immediate, Site-Specific Actions to Mitigate Dangerous Conditions on Reisenauer Hill (November 28, 2014 Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition)

Highway Safety Demonstration

On Thursday, December 18, PRDC will deliver this petition to the Idaho Transportation Department in Lewiston, and send it via overnight mail to ITD Director Brian Ness and the Federal Highway Administration, both in Boise.  Between 1:30 and 4:00 pm on December 19, regional residents and PRDC members will conduct a Highway 95 roadside demonstration south of Palouse River Drive in Moscow.  Participants will highlight Highway 95 safety: citizen and PRDC concerns about it, appropriate interim measures to improve it, and recommended re-routing options that could restore it.  While ITD proclaims “safety” as its highway realignment project objective, its decades-long neglect of public well-being on current U.S. Highway 95 indicates otherwise.

PRDC invites the public and press to attend this demonstration urging ITD to implement measures now to improve safety on Highway 95.  Without further citizen action, ITD could compromise not only the last, best, native Palouse Prairie remnants but also the safety of Idahoans and guests.  Park on Myrtle Street behind the Plantation in Moscow, and gather on the Highway 95 sidewalk around the Palouse River bridge, after 1:30 pm on Friday, December 19 (See the following photo of the demonstration site area.).  Please respond to PRDC if you can participate in staggered shifts and/or make and bring signs.  Organizers encourage at least six to eight people to hold already created, Burma Shave-style signs saying “Danger Ahead – Hills & Curves – Next 5 Miles – Go Slow – Live for the Holidays – U.S. 95 Unsafe.”

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition

Working to ensure and enhance the public safety, environmental integrity, and natural aesthetics of Paradise Ridge and its environs, the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition represents citizens of Latah County, Idaho, and several member organizations.  PRDC concerns include highway safety and preserving the unique, rare Paradise Ridge and Palouse Prairie ecosystems that U.S. Highway 95 re-routing south of Moscow could threaten.

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition

P.O. Box 8804, Moscow, Idaho 83843


Filed under: Alerts, Highway 95 Re-Route
Categories: Climate Change

WIRT Comments on Alta Mesa Revised Smoke Ranch 1-20 Drilling Permit

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 23:55

WIRT Comments on Alta Mesa Revised Smoke Ranch 1-20 Drilling Permit 12-7-14

The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) again dismissed Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) comments on a pending Alta Mesa drilling permit and once more did not post these WIRT comments to the IDL website. Despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation, we worked as diligently as possible to comment and further delay construction of the Smoke Ranch 1-20 oil and gas well a few hundred feet from the Payette River. According to the IDL website, Alta Mesa is currently DRILLING this 4000-foot-deep floodplain intrusion, imposing grave risks on Idahoans and their potentially polluted drinking water supplies, nearby wildlife refuges, agricultural production and reliant economies, and recreational uses of the Payette River and downstream Snake River and Hells Canyon. THANKS to Joe Morton, the Idaho Conservation League, and everyone who commented before both deadlines. As one of only a few participants in the extended comment period, we can attest that this well will offer few benefits to Idahoans, especially when the power of heavy, frequent floods scour the well pad and tree, located closer to the Payette River and wildlife refuge islands to the southeast than marked in this map. See our linked comments and the December 7 WIRT Newsletter.


Filed under: Idaho Fracking
Categories: Climate Change

WIRT Newsletter: Stalled Payette Riverside Well Needs Comments Today, Appeal Hearing Hinders Gas Processing/Train Loading Facility

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 14:00

Stalled Payette Riverside Well Needs Comments Today

As Alta Mesa continues to pursue a permit to drill an oil and gas well a few hundred feet from the Payette River, recent comments from a handful of citizens and two organizations have delayed the permit and postponed drilling of the proposed Smoke Ranch 1-20 well, as described in the following chronology shared on facebook and with Idaho gasland area activists.  Since drilling began again in June 2013, the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) has dismissed Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) comments about six incomplete or insufficient Alta Mesa applications for well drilling permits.  (We missed only one comment period of eight and did not previously send our comments to other agencies.)  Like the WIRT comments that influenced the Federal Highway Administration to deny the Idaho Transportation Department/Mammoet proposal to build a “temporary” Interstate 90 megaload on-ramp east of Coeur d’Alene in February 2014, WIRT copied our comments on Alta Mesa’s Smoke Ranch 1-20 well drilling application to pertinent federal, state, and local agencies [1].  For the first time in the history of 19 oil and gas wells drilled or planned in southwest Idaho since 2009, the big state green group so fond of negotiated compromise, the Idaho Conservation League, also commented on this well permit application, but Alta Mesa still dismissed collective floodplain concerns [2].  In response to all of this resistance, IDL atypically forced well drilling application revision and comment period extension to December 7 [3, 4].

November 19: WIRT offers our gratitude for feedback, encouragement, and donations provided by members, who have called these comments “excellent,” “tremendous,” and “thorough, comprehensive, and expert work,” the result of several quiet, fresh, peaceful (but exhausting) all-nighters that re-wrote every possible desperate argument to every perceived authority, drawing again on most of the intellectual capacity and knowledge we could muster.  While this loving piece of resistance may represent “intense advocacy for our planet” and the best, last-minute shot that Mama Earth has to stop the industrial madness of a proposed oil and gas well next to the Payette River, we always hope for better possibilities for WIRT and associates.  We would greatly appreciate your suggestions of southern Idaho and allied support, pro-bono legal assistance, and Payette County WIRT members with resident status standing to effectively stop this well.  Who is up for this effort or referrals of lawyers and citizens who can engage and together move forward with legal and on the-ground opposition to oil and gas companies with much larger capacities?

November 20: Hmmm, yesterday, WIRT sent this note to the IDL: “When can we anticipate your response to the enclosed and attached comments and their posting on the Idaho Department of Lands website?”  Today, IDL replied with “Your comments and documents have been received and have been forwarded to the appropriate staff members.”  The Smoke Ranch 1-20 well drilling permit application and several other citizen/organization comments have disappeared from the IDL website.  Permit?  No permit?

November 21: TEMPORARY VICTORY!  Today, the Idaho Department of Lands posted “a revised [Alta Mesa] drill permit application for the Smoke Ranch 1-20 well.  Comments on the application are due December 7, 2014.  Send comments to comments@idl.idaho.gov or through the IDL website” [3].  A thousand thanks to everyone who forced revision of the original application with their comments and thus postponed drilling.  Despite similar WIRT comments (not sent to other agencies) on six of the seven Alta Mesa well drilling permit applications since development restarted in June 2013, its current application marks the first time that IDL has required application revision and a re-opened comment period.  WIRT doubts that the new application, proposing a 4000-foot-deep oil and gas well in a floodplain island near a wildlife refuge and upstream of the Fruitland drinking water intake, has comprehensively satisfied legal requirements.  So we will attempt earlier research and comments this time, to assist and integrate with yours.  We appreciate your ongoing assistance with these shared efforts to halt further fossil fuel infrastructure in Idaho, as we extend our invitation for integrated, co-signed comments with legal teeth to stop this floodplain development.

Please write to oppose this second Smoke Ranch gas well drilling misadventure!  As WIRT continues to closely watch and refute this proposed development, we are formulating and working on a second set of comments, posted soon, to meet the comment period deadline at midnight on Sunday/Monday, December 7-8.  We are also researching legal grounds for possibly revoking prior permits with similar flaws that we noted in previous comments, and wondering if Payette County ever granted a floodplain variance on the other, nearby Smoke Ranch well drilled during summer 2013, as required by county and federal laws.  Meanwhile, searching for all the legal ammunition that we can find to stop this development, WIRT asked a Colorado comrade – and a core WIRT member volunteered – to refer us to collected information about the impacts and damages caused by and to oil and gas wells and facilities during the September 2013 eastern Colorado floods.  They have provided articles depicting examples of spills associated with oil and gas development near rivers [5-7].

The proposed Smoke Ranch 1-20 well project presents grave risks to the people of Idaho and their potentially polluted drinking water supplies, nearby wildlife refuges, agricultural production and reliant economies, and recreational uses of the Payette River and immediately downstream Snake River and Hells Canyon, while offering few benefits to Idahoans.  That industry never bothered with Idaho gas deposits until extreme energy extraction methods arose over the last decade or two infers that Alta Mesa will likely “mini-frack” its wells, as IDL admitted in response to IRAGE/WIRT 2013 campaigns, or acidize gas reservoirs by melting underground rock, or use some other risky “well treatment” process, all which directly threaten the health of ground water, rivers, and streams and reliant communities of every species.  Moreover, the scouring force of heavy flood water sediment loads and debris could dismantle earthen berms around this riverside oil and gas well – and perhaps a later storage tank farm, like the six county-permitted ones in the adjacent Willow Creek bluffs last month – and send associated toxins downstream to settle out all the way to the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean.

Appeal Hearing Hinders Gas Processing/Train Loading Facility

After a five-hour hearing of appeals on Thursday evening, December 4, Payette County Commissioners delayed their decision on a conditional use permit (CUP) for a hydrocarbon (gaseous and liquid natural gas) processing plant and train loading facility proposed for a prime agricultural field just east of New Plymouth, Idaho [8, 9].  They intend to address multiple glaring issues raised by the public with their legal counsel and render a final decision on the CUP at their January 5 meeting.  The three appellants, Joli and Pete Eromenok, Alma Hasse, and Joe Morton, and supporting citizens and groups researched and worked diligently to organize some great testimony and turnout, including a Centenarian veteran, whom the commissioners allowed to speak first.  Unfortunately, because Alta Mesa flew in personnel to comment and consume time at this meeting, many elderly, tired, and/or early-morning working Payette County residents suffered through the long night or left too soon while waiting to give statements for the public record.

But thanks to the team efforts of citizen representatives of Ada, Canyon, Gem, Payette, and Washington counties, the momentum of the Idaho fossil fuel resistance movement continues to grow.  As Idahoans awaken to corporate and governmental abuses of their air, water, lands, and rights, Payette County Commissioners witnessed, and hopefully were impressed by, the largest turnout that regular such meeting attendees relentlessly scrutinizing local government have ever seen.  In this way, although inconclusive, the hearing was a major victory, compared to the usual rubber-stamping of oil and gas permits opposed by only a few deeply involved activists over the last four years, notably our comrades of almost three years, Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction.  Just the fact that CUP applicant Alta Mesa Idaho (AMI) felt threatened enough by regional resistance to ratchet up its attendance reveals that citizen delay tactics and the company’s failing finances – dependent on rapidly expended, borrowed money for new infrastructure and now hearing participation – have Alta Mesa running scared.  Public pressure will continue to mount: If Payette County permits this CUP, some appellants are prepared to take the case to district court.

Several AMI representatives mentioned personal addresses reflecting county residency, as oil and gas projects advance, including the AMI attorney who was sworn-in and took the stand five times as a resident of Meridian in Ada County.  They nonetheless shamelessly disparaged the testimony of concerned citizens from counties surrounding Payette, and complained about the purported lack of legal standing in the hearing of the appealing groups and even an impacted neighbor, even while upholding the anonymity of privately held AMI.  As if “two wrongs make a right,” AMI apologists noted that trains carrying hazardous cargo pass through Payette County already, although the 120-mile-long Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad Company “short line,” servicing this “bomb train” loading facility and operating in southwestern Idaho and northeastern Oregon, predominately carries forest and agricultural products and chemicals.  But as railroad shipments increase to accommodate the volatile and toxic supplies and products of extreme energy extraction, the amount of derailments and accidents involving fossil fuel tank cars across the continent has dramatically escalated.  Railroad incident investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board verify these numbers and circumstances [10].  Moreover, the higher amounts of oil and gas stored in tanks, left awaiting locomotives on railroad sidings, or flared on site also endanger New Plymouth neighborhoods as much as, if not more than, regional trains transporting dangerous liquid natural gas.

[1] WIRT Comments on the Alta Mesa Services Drilling Permit Application for Smoke Ranch Well 1-20 (November 14, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] Gas Well to be Drilled near Payette River (November 19, 2014 Independent-Enterprise)

[3] Oil and Gas Drill Permits (November 21, 2014 Idaho Department of Lands)

[4] Revised Application to Drill Smoke Ranch Well 1-20 (November 21, 2014 Alta Mesa Services)

[5] A Year Post-Flood, No Mandated Changes for Oil and Gas Operators (September 8, 2014 KUNC)

[6] Crude Oil Spills into Poudre near Windsor (June 20, 2014 The Coloradoan)

[7] Benzene Levels in Parachute Creek near Gas Plant Spill Double Again (July 18, 2013 The Denver Post)

[8] We Wanted to Give Everyone an Update… (December 6, 2014 Alma Hasse Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction facebook post)

[9] Appeals to Gas Facility Draw Packed House (December 7, 2014 Argus Observer)

[10] Railroad Accident Reports (National Transportation Safety Board)


Filed under: Newsletters
Categories: Climate Change

Third Annual Stand Up! Fight Back! Against Fossil Fuels in the Northwest!

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 06:45

Moscow, Sandpoint, and Spokane activists of Spokane Rising Tide and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) enthusiastically invite regional community members eager to design and stage public education events and protests to the third annual Stand Up! Fight Back! Against Fossil Fuels in the Northwest! information sharing, brainstorming, and strategizing sessions [1, 2].  Opponents of coal, fracked natural gas and oil, and tar sands extraction and transportation projects are converging from northern Idaho and eastern Washington for these urgent planning gatherings.  Like Missoula comrades of Indian Peoples Action, Blues Skies Campaign, and several other groups, who have been meeting since November 19, participants could talk about campaign strategies, creative tactics, and practical arrangements for upcoming training workshops, panel discussions, and direct actions [3].  The Missoula potluck convergence shared “thoughtful dialogue about stopping TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline and all other forms of extraction,…forming an allegiance among local eco-warriors.”

As we continue to formulate similar ideas, we would appreciate your input at these early December discussions in Sandpoint, Spokane, and Moscow.  Besides together thinking and talking about oil and coal train resistance methods and overdue protests, suggestions for two other possible events have arisen among associates and allies.  Communications have begun about one-day Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance non-violent, direct action trainings in Boise, Spokane, and Missoula, likely on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, January 17 to 19.  Area climate activists would like to contact, invite, and prepare the hundreds of regional folks who signed this pledge, and an indigenous anti-Keystone XL activist and an attorney well-versed in “know your rights” training may share their relevant knowledge at these workshops.  Teaching the first steps of the safe, staged kinds of demonstrations that an otherwise reticent public idolizes could lead to later, greater leaps of faith on tracks, roads, and pipelines and ultimately to stronger, regional, anti-fossil fuels activism.  We also anticipate engaging in frontline, on-the-ground resistance along the Montana path of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, if (when!) the U.S. Congress escalates this onslaught in January 2015.

Another possibility entails a public education event like a panel discussion in the Sandpoint/Spokane area, to inform, recruit, and activate local rail line residents for further issue and action involvement.  Because Rising Tide and allied direct action groups practice methods that make the mainstream organizations and topic experts of a potential panel squirm just contemplating and typically, endlessly rejecting them, hosting such a proposed event could prove logistically complex and difficult [4].  For instance, government officials may decline to participate, averting public perceptions of association with radicals, and we will never invite industry to such conversations.  But our regional groups must expand the interest, imagination, and passion of the fossil fuels opposition, with hopes that  bringing more people together to consider train accidents and responses will eventually lead to more numerous and widespread actions spurred by a greater sense of personal knowledge, responsibility, and empowerment.

Gathering Dates & Locations

* Monday, December 8, 7 to 9:15 pm at Second Avenue Pizza, 215 South Second Avenue in Sandpoint, Idaho

* Tuesday, December 9, 6 to 7:45 pm at the Downtown Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Avenue (corner of Lincoln Street and Main Avenue) in Spokane, Washington

* Wednesday, December 10, 7 to 9 pm at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho

Extraction, production, and transportation of carbon-dense, dirty energy fuels across the Northwest increasingly threaten the wellbeing of people, places, and the planet with their risky and toxic byproducts of polluted air, water, land, policies, and perspectives.  Inbound Alberta tar sands megaloads and pipelines, expanding drilling and processing of oil and gas, and outbound coal, oil, and tar sands trains bound for West Coast export terminals crisscross the region, as they transform the continent into a resource colony serving Asia and the world.  Governments consistently fail to defend their citizens from the ravages of some of the largest multinational corporations on Earth, as they together plunder public resources, taxpayer coffers, and civil liberties in pursuit of billions in profits.  Fracking Idaho farmlands for gas and North Dakota and Alberta grasslands for shale oil, strip-mining Montana and Wyoming prairies for coal, and steam blasting Alberta boreal forests and bogs for tar sands challenge the conscious and quality of life of Pacific and Inland Northwest residents and businesses.  The railroad industry increasingly hauls countless gallons of explosive oil and tons of dusty coal every day around remote lakes, within river valleys, and through ranches, farms, and cities to terminals and refineries on Oregon, Washington, and California coasts and rivers and ultimately to Asia, hastening climate chaos.

Because conventional avenues for citizen recourse to corporate crooks and colluded public officials predictably succumb to industry influenced rules, laws, elections, and bribes, Northwesterners must challenge this corruption and confront the root causes of ecological and economic oppression and devastation in more creative and assertive ways.  On Monday through Wednesday, December 8 to 10, Spokane and Wild Idaho Rising Tides encourage concerned people throughout the region to push back the boundaries of their resistance to industrial invasions, with new allies, tactics, and strategies.  Event organizers and facilitators expect participants to graciously contribute their insights throughout the gatherings, to provide potluck food and beverages, and to share their understandings of ways to stall and stop the forces that are destabilizing our climate and destroying our democracy.  Please print and post the color, letter-sized Stand Up Fight Back 2014 Flyer and urge family, friends, and co-workers to attend these catalyzing discussions and networking opportunities.

[1] Stand Up! Fight Back! Against Big Coal in the Northwest 11-3-12 (November 9, 2012 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] Stand Up! Fight Back! Against Fossil Fuels in the Northwest! (November 5, 2013 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[3] Missoula Eco-Warriors Unite (Elrae Mazakahomni facebook event)

[4] Everett Coal and Oil Trains Panel Discussion (Sightline Daily)


Filed under: Alerts
Categories: Climate Change

WIRT Newsletter: Giving Events, Idaho Gas Plant/Bomb Train Hearing, & Highway 95 Safety Petition

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 02:40

Giving Tuesday

On this worldwide day dedicated to giving back to various causes, December 2, we received news that a generous contributor will match year-end donations to Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) in your honor before December 31, 2014.  By helping to meet this challenge, your gift to WIRT doubles, for instance, from $25 to $50, or $50 to $100, etc.  Please consider donating so our grassroots collective can continue to confront the root causes of climate change through direct actions and locally organized solutions that protect Idaho’s world-renowned clean water, fresh air, and rural and remote environments from dirty energy schemes like coal, oil, gas, and tar sands extraction and transportation.  Your contributions and participation support WIRT’s climate activism and outreach and legal expenses for fossil fuel opposition with frontline resistance communities and an international activist network.  WIRT appreciates, celebrates, and honors such generosity and solidarity in joining protests and/or supporting our work through the electronic, website “Donate to WIRT” button, or by check to the group mailbox at P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843, or by calling us at 208-301-8039 [1].  Thanks for your gracious assistance!  We could not do this work without you!

Four December Giving Events

WIRT is seeking volunteers and donors for four public events over the next few weeks.  From 4 to 8 pm on Wednesday, December 3, meet us outside the 2014 Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse at the 1912 Center, 412 East Third Street in Moscow, Idaho [2].  We will distribute donation envelopes and accept contributions for holiday card index-card-sized inserts that sustain WIRT activism and outreach.  WIRT will also offer these cards in any number and dollar amount outside the Buy Local Moscow Seventh Annual Winter Fest at the 1912 Center from 5 to 8 pm on Thursday, December 4 [3].  Please additionally find the WIRT information table among other community groups in the 1912 Center Fiske Room, during the 10 am to 2 pm Winter Markets on December 6 and 13, February 7, and March 7 [4].  Visit WIRT at these appreciated opportunities to enhance winter holidays with climate activism and provisions.  THANKS!

Gas Processing & Train Loading Facility Appeal Hearing

Please attend a public hearing of three appeals of Alta Mesa’s industrial hydrocarbon processing and rail transfer facility at 7 pm on Thursday, December 4, at the Payette County Courthouse [5].  The Payette County Planning and Zoning Commissioners, who have mostly leased their mineral rights to Alta Mesa, rubber-stamped a conditional use permit for this project, located less than one mile from New Plymouth High School, in early September.  Nearby landowners Joli and Pete Eromenok, Joe Morton of Gem County Concerned Citizens, and Alma Hasse of Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment have filed initial and amended appeals and supporting documents disputing this fossil fuel infrastructure that would degrade public health and safety, private property rights, uses, and values, and the local economy of the area.  We all greatly appreciate their work on this opposition, as we wish that we could participate in this distant Payette County meeting more than any other (except a few public, pre-permitting, private property site visits), but WIRT travel funds are depleted and two fundraising event times conflict.  At the hearing, please tell Payette County officials that their unacceptable approval decision on this gas plant does not benefit southwest Idaho citizens and sets an adverse precedent for other Idaho gas processing facilities.

Texas-based corporation Alta Mesa continues to exploit New Plymouth, Idaho, citizens and their natural gas via “legal plunder” [6].  As a vast, state-constituted machine purposely designed to take and transfer property from people without their consent, legal plunder attains its full meaning as a form of income redistribution from the poor and majority of citizens to the favored, wealthy elites.  For instance, the State 1-17 well, Idaho’s only producing gas well since March 2014, provided only $357 for cities and counties, public schools, and local economic development during the combined 2014 and 2015 fiscal years.  How many more gas wells will Idaho seek to fill its coffers?

In 2012, the Idaho Legislature conducted legal plunder by enacting a bill forcing citizens to relinquish their natural resources for the sake of Idaho’s “best economic interest.”  Law 47-315 asserts that

It is declared to be in the public interest to…promote…oil and gas in the state of Idaho in such a manner…to encourage…operations in order that the greatest possible economic recovery of oil and gas may be obtained within the state to the end that…the producers…may realize and enjoy the greatest possible good from these vital natural resources.

Idaho legislators returned to the statehouse in 2013 and passed another law limiting local authority over oil and gas development, in section 47-317, stating, “The [Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation] commission shall have and is hereby given jurisdiction and authority over all persons and property, public and private…”

Highway 95 Reisenauer Hill Safety Petition

The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) anticipates that the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will release the final Thorn Creek Road to Moscow Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) sometime this winter, likely before the holidays.  ITD has again chosen its preferred E2 alternative for realignment and expansion to four lanes of six-plus miles of U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow.  This most destructive and invasive route, farthest up the slopes of Paradise Ridge, will not mitigate traffic dangers on and around Reisenauer Hill.  PRDC recommends that ITD implement alternative C3, a lower-elevation traverse that will permanently improve safety on this section of highway and minimize impacts to wildlife and the critically endangered Palouse Prairie.

Meanwhile, during two impending years of highway construction, PRDC and citizens of Latah County, Idaho, remain concerned about serious accidents during inclement weather on this substandard, dangerous stretch of Highway 95 on Reisenauer Hill.  We again strongly urge ITD to immediately implement significant, site-specific measures to mitigate highway conditions.  By midnight on Wednesday-Thursday, December 17-18, please sign the PRDC highway safety petition linked below, requesting that ITD lower and seek enforcement of the speed limit, erect reduced speed limit warning signs, and install rumble strips in appropriate places on this section of Highway 95 [7].  PRDC members are arranging mid-December, Highway 95 roadside demonstrations on the south side of Moscow, as we prepare for another possible lawsuit and further direct actions, in response to predictable, pernicious ITD and Federal Highway Administration decisions about highway re-routing.

[1] Support WIRT (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] Alternative Giving Market of the Palouse (facebook page)

[3] Buy Local Moscow 7th Annual Winter Fest (facebook event)

[4] What’s Happening at the 1912 Center (1912 Center)

[5] Dear Fellow Citizens and Neighbors and Friends (November 29, 2014 Joe Morton)

[6] How Many Gas Wells Will It Take to Fill Idaho State Coffers? (November 25, 2014 Joe Morton)

[7] Petition to the Idaho Transportation Department Requesting Immediate, Site-Specific Actions to Mitigate Dangerous Conditions on Reisenauer Hill (November 28, 2014 Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition)


Filed under: Newsletters
Categories: Climate Change

Climate Justice Forum 11-24-14

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 18:00

The Monday, November 24, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will discuss recent resistance to oil and gas development in southwest Idaho, the Trans Mountain pipeline in Burnaby, British Columbia, natural gas storage by Seneca Lake, New York, and other industrial invasions and grassroots opposition.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.


Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Categories: Climate Change

WIRT Newsletter: Payette River Gas Well & P&Z Hearing Tank Farms

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 06:00

Please comment before Friday, November 14, the day after Alta Mesa Services plans to drill a 4000-foot-deep, vertical, natural gas well, surrounded by casing that will eventually or immediately leak into Birding Island, only 385 feet from the Payette River, upstream from its confluence with Big Willow Creek and closely downstream from the impacted Payette River Wildlife Management Area, composed of braided river channels, wetlands, ponds, and riparian habitat to the southeast. Imagine and witness the destructive scene from NW Fourth Avenue, New Plymouth, Idaho, across the river and a short distance up the right side of the floodplain dirt road in the following photo.  Before drilling the nearby, temporarily capped Smoke Ranch well 1-21 in July 2013, Alta Mesa pumped standing water off and later spilled diesel and/or drilling mud on the square well pad off Highway 52 to the northeast.  In the next few weeks or months, Alta Mesa could complete gathering line installation from a dozen other idle wells to the Highway 30 processing plant, and could unfortunately further initiate and achieve full production.  Check these two previous Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) facebook posts for links assisting your comments to the Idaho Department of Lands at comments@idl.idaho.gov and brjohnson@idl.idaho.gov.

Facebook Photo Post (November 6, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

Facebook Photo Post (November 9, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

Also plan to attend and fill the courtroom for the Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) public hearing at 7 pm on Thursday, November 13. On the agenda, Alta Mesa proposes constructing tank farms on four existing well sites and one radio tower, all on Simplot land in the bluffs surrounding Little Willow Creek, above the Payette River and Fruitland and Payette, Idaho.  See the following agenda and event links and visit the Payette County Courthouse at 1130 Third Avenue North in Payette.

Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting Agenda (Payette County)

Payette County Planning & Zoning Commission (Alma Hasse facebook event)


Filed under: Newsletters
Categories: Climate Change

Acoustic Folk Benefit Concert

Mon, 11/10/2014 - 06:00

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is hosting a special fall benefit concert to open the year-end giving season and raise funds for strategic relocation and expansion of our anti-fossil fuels infrastructure, direct action campaign and operations in southwest Idaho. Please join community supporters and WIRT activists at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho, from 6 to 9 pm on Sunday, November 16, for a social hour with refreshments and discussion of ongoing WIRT climate justice campaigns and an evening of rousing, acoustic, live folk and blues music at this intimate downtown venue.

At 7 pm, local husband-and-wife composers and musicians Joshua Yeidel and Sharon Cousins will open performances with their original, eclectic, multi-generational songs and lyrical messages of love and life, history and hope.  After performing as solo street musicians in San Francisco, Sharon and Josh have been filling the Palouse community with tunes since their migration to the region in 1976, lately hailing from a ridge above Viola.  They have formed and collaborated with several, local, folk/rock bands over the years, including Sun-on-the-Mountain, Jasper, We Here Now, and Sagin’ Time, performing primarily at Inland Northwest festivals, concerts, and private parties, and producing and releasing the albums Sign to the Blind, Early Morning Rising Glow, and The Taste of Life Itself [1].  Through a revitalizing mixture of uniquely upbeat, inclusive, alternative music, these fellow WIRT members have been singing since they could talk and playing their primary, respective instruments, the guitar and flute, for more than 50 years.  Together, they offer concert listeners over a century of experience in the enlightening joy of rich, diverse music.

Tom Bennett of Salt Lake City will take the stage next. A native of Villa Rica in the rural, north Georgia countryside, Tom is a true, relentless, traveling, folk/blues singer and activist [2, 3].  At age nine, he began playing the harmonica given to him by an old woman from West Virginia.  He has journeyed in nearly every U.S. state on buses, freight trains, and by hitchhiking, and has stayed with East Los Angeles gang members and at isolated, polygamist enclaves.  Always seeking adventures, Tom shares his stories while performing on resonator guitar, harmonica, tambourine, suitcase percussion, and vocals, which he often plays together in the style of a one-man-band busker, as demonstrated in his recent video rendition of Sharecropper’s Blues [4].  Along with founding a regular, folk-music showcase and a folk-centric record label, Sweet Salt Records, and releasing a debut album, The Man Who Shook the Trail of the Devil’s Hounds, this talented and inspiring musician likes doing shows that spread awareness of various issues [5].  He has performed at the Utah March against Monsanto and the Clean Air No Excuses rally at the Utah Capitol, and at other human rights and environmental events besides a recent, 20-plus-state, summer tour through the West Coast and Deep South.

For admission by free-will donation, WIRT welcomes everyone to come and hear Josh’s, Sharon’s, and Tom’s rowdy tales and gritty, soulful songs of authentic, Americana folk life and music, and to enjoy the opportunity for a rare WIRT convergence, before the dual college towns of Moscow and Pullman disperse for Thanksgiving-time vacations. Please bring your resistance spirit and friends and your contributions of funds and additional beverages and/or snacks on Sunday evening, November 16, at 6 pm.  We hope to give some of the proceeds to these valiant, volunteer, visiting musical guests, who consider it “a great privilege and honor to do this show” for Wild Idaho Rising Tide.  Peruse the WIRT facebook and website pages for further information about this event and our campaigns, share this announcement, and print and widely post the color, letter-sized Acoustic Folk Benefit Concert Flyer.  Thanks!

[1] Sagin’ Time (Sagin’ Time website)

[2] Tom Bennett, Utah (SoundCloud songs)

[3] Tom Bennett (facebook)

[4] Sharecropper’s Blues (Logan Crannell YouTube video)

[5] Tom Bennett and Sweet Salt Records (December 19, 2013 Salt Lake City Weekly)


Filed under: Events
Categories: Climate Change

Climate Justice Forum: Lynne Quarmby 11-10-14

Sun, 11/09/2014 - 19:00

The Monday, November 10, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Lynne Quarmby, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia (B.C.), and one of five defendants in a $5.6 million injunction SLAPP lawsuit brought by Texas-based Kinder Morgan.  Lynne will discuss the background of government, industry, and resistance actions and their implications for unceded Coast Salish territories and indigenous and settler protectors of Burnaby Mountain forest conservation lands from Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion, in the wake of a years of citizen opposition, City of Burnaby and other lawsuits, recent encounters with Kinder Morgan survey crews, and Supreme Court of B.C. hearings on the SLAPP lawsuit.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.


Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Categories: Climate Change

Climate Justice Forum 11-3-14

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 18:00

The Monday, November 3, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will discuss Idaho political candidates’ stands on extreme energy, grassroots resistance to Payette County gas pipelines and the TransCanada tar sands pipeline in British Columbia, blockades and arrests confronting natural gas invasions and policies in New York state, Vermont, Delaware, and Washington DC, and the thousand-strong turnout at Washington state public hearings and rallies debating rail and ship transport of Alberta tar sands and fracked Bakken shale oil across the Northwest.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.


Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Categories: Climate Change

Climate Justice Forum 10-27-14

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 18:00

The Monday, October 27, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will discuss rail and ship transport of Alberta tar sands and fracked Bakken shale oil across the Northwest, in anticipation of the Tuesday evening, October 28, Spokane public hearing about the draft 2014 Washington Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study report.  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 continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.


Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Categories: Climate Change

October 28 & 30 Rallies & Hearings on Washington Marine & Rail Oil Transportation Study

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 01:25

Spokane: Tuesday, October 28, 5 to 10 pm

The doors to the public hearing room at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel, 322 North Spokane Falls Court, open at 5 pm. Gather at the Riverfront Park Rotary Fountain at 5 pm for a rally with music, youth climate ambassadors, and other dynamic speakers, then march three blocks to the hearing, where public comment begins at 6 pm and a hospitality suite will provide snacks.

Olympia: Thursday, October 30, 5 to 10 pm

The hearing room doors at the Red Lion Inn, 2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW, open at 5 pm. Meet outside for a coastal jam session at 4 pm and for a rally and music at 5 pm, before a Department of Ecology presentation at 6 pm and public input starting at 6:30 pm.

On October 1, 2014, the Washington state Department of Ecology released for public review the 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study Preliminary Findings and Recommendations Report, which assesses the serious health, safety, and environmental risks and impacts of the onslaught of Northwest oil shipments by rail and vessel [1]. When the 2014 Washington Legislature failed to pass a bill assuaging growing concerns about more volatile and unpredictable crude oil traffic, lawmakers directed and funded the state agency to conduct the study in April 2014.  Governor Jay Inslee issued a directive in June 2014, outlining key components of the study designed to identify regional oil transportation risks, regulatory gaps addressing these risks, and possible state actions to reduce risks.  For this research, the administration-appointed Department of Ecology consulted the Federal Railroad Administration, the Washington Department of Transportation, the Utilities and Transportation Commission, and the Military Department’s Emergency Management Division [2].  If the state adopts an aggressive regulation plan in its final report due to the Legislature in March 2015, which will guide state agency, executive, and legislative actions, industry could mount legal challenges.

Although this draft report intricately describes the vulnerabilities of Washington sacrifice-zone communities and resources to the explosive, toxic dangers of existing oil train traffic and proposed port facilities, and thus supports citizens’ and firefighters’ demands for an immediate moratorium on rail-shipped crude, it flagrantly dismisses these hazards potentially affecting tribal treaty rights, public infrastructure, and the regional economy as secondary to the focus of the study [3]. The report partially conducted by the only paid railroad consultant, Mainline Management – comprised of retired, career Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) corporate executives with former BNSF, Port of Vancouver, and Washington Public Ports Association clients – incorrectly seeks to normalize the new risks of unconventional extreme energy extraction and transportation as simply additional threats augmenting decades of similar rail and ship activities that can be mitigated.

Even worse, this study defers to federal authorities regulating interstate commerce, relinquishing state leverage of railroad and ship traffic to national agencies such as the industry-dominated, inspection capacity-challenged Federal Railroad Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard. It insufficiently suggests actions to protect public waters and their changing dynamics from the risks of tar sands oil shipments and increased tanker passage.  While state and federal agencies declare the environmental non-significance of Northwest coal and oil terminals and the report promotes further investigation but sidesteps safety precautions to avert catastrophes, regional fossil fuel freight and facilities proliferate, and bulk commodity and passenger rail service suffer.  Attempting to deter widespread resistance to policies ensuring climate chaos, the study authors overlook significant, statewide opposition to proposed oil terminals, misused public ports, expanding oil refineries, risky oil trains and ships, and bureaucratic collaboration in transformation of the Northwest rail system into a permanent, global carbon pollution export corridor.  Did they consider the best interests of Washingtonians over those of private industry in this report that recommends implementation of several procedures costing more than $13 million?

With the present number of 19 loaded trains each week carrying diluted Alberta tar sands and fracked Bakken shale crude through northern Idaho and Spokane possibly doubling or even tripling by 2020, rail line residents rightfully fear the consequences of spilled bitumen sinking to the bottom of waterways, like during the 2010 Kalamazoo River pipeline leak, and derailed Bakken “bomb trains” igniting life-threatening explosions and fires in mile-wide “blast zones” around train tracks, as in the July 2013 Lac Megantic disaster [4-6].

But BNSF, other railroads, and Big Oil still unreasonably argue that replacing outdated oil cars with sturdier tankers in two years, instead of their proposed ten-year deadline, is impossible, although some manufacturers and refineries are already eliminating the older cars. Bakken crude vapors that ignite at lower temperatures than conventional heavy oil gases “require thicker tank shells, puncture-resistant shields, and stronger valve fittings to prevent spills that could easily explode.” [5]  The railroad and oil industries also insist that disclosing records of these hazardous fuel shipments to emergency responders and the public would compromise their safety and expose proprietary commercial information to competitors.  Idaho and Washington rail line residents and officials are justifiably frustrated by a dearth of industry transparency, accountability, timely remedial action, and even a purposeful filibuster at a June 2014 Washington legislative hearing on oil train safety.

Since 2013, nine serious train derailments have spilled oil and unleashed explosions, more than during the last four decades. The massive surge of North Dakota fracked oil and Alberta bitumen has expanded oil transported by rail throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Proposals and ongoing endeavors to ship more oil overland to Washington refineries and ports could result in 850,000 barrels per day crossing the region, more than through the stalled Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  If proponents build huge, dusty, coal export terminals at Cherry Point and Longview, together handling 100 million tons of coal yearly, the cumulative impacts of more than 60 loaded and unloaded trains per day and 4,000 additional tanker ships annually could impose grave threats to community safety, public health, local businesses and economies, wildlife, and waterways and exacerbate the current climate crisis.

The Port of Olympia and 16 Washington cities from Spokane to Aberdeen and from Bellingham to Vancouver have passed resolutions of concern about recent and potentially increased, dangerous, volatile fossils fuels traversing the rails and waters of the region. Reducing the number of oil and coal trains, tankers, and barges, preventing construction of new coal and oil terminals, and immediately banning unsafe oil cars like the DOT111s that killed 47 Quebec residents would best limit the exorbitant risks and costs that Northwesterners now bear, while dirty energy companies profit.  Stronger, responsible, federal and state regulations should also mandate: full public disclosure of the content, location, and schedule of oil and coal trains; coordinated training and accessible cargo information and emergency equipment for first responders; slower train speeds through public parks and crossings; and better protections of waterways from oil spills and coal pollution, such as the tug boat escorts required for large ships and barges carrying hazardous freight in other West Coast states.

Instead of wasting public funds on expanded infrastructure and safety precautions for declining energy corporations, the Northwest should demonstrate the alternative energy leadership desperately necessary for global survival. Investing in 21st century clean energy technology and solutions and diversifying sustainable fuel choices for transportation and electricity generation must advance in every private and public sector.  Please do not miss these unique, critical, collective opportunities to comment on the 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study, to engage state leaders about the combined impacts of regional fossil fuel traffic, and to galvanize emerging partnerships and alliances around this issue among sovereign tribes, local governments, organized labor, and community resistance groups.

To assist your participation in respective Spokane and Olympia public hearings on October 28 and 30 – developing your testimony, expressing your concerns, talking with media personnel, and informing state responses to this significant situation – many groups have created and compiled specific talking points and message guidance [7-9, also see the Washington Oil Transportation Safety Hearings Testimony Reference Sheet]. Together, we are working to encourage enthusiastic and committed turnout that, like the Gateway Pacific coal terminal review, ensures that this study considers the entire region and the cumulative risks, threats, and impacts of both oil and coal transport to rail and terminal communities, public health and safety, alternative economies and resources, and lands and waterways from Lake Pend Oreille and the Spokane and Columbia rivers to Grays Harbor and the Salish Sea.

As insightful preparation for these rallies and hearings, hosts of two radio programs, Earth Matters Now! and Down To Earth, on the Spokane nonprofit community radio station KYRS are combining their broadcasts for a second time, to again discuss regional oil and coal transportation and this study with three great public servants.  On Tuesday, October 28, from 12 noon to 1:15 pm, Laura Ackerman, Paul Dillon, and Bart Mihailovich will talk with Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, and King County Executive Dow Constantine.  Listen to this joint radio show at 88.1 and 92.3 FM or via the live-streamed podcast at http://www.kyrs.org.

Spokane: Tuesday, October 28, 5 to 10 pm

The doors to the public hearing room at the Hilton Double Tree Hotel, 322 North Spokane Falls Court, open at 5 pm. Gather at the Riverfront Park Rotary Fountain at 5 pm for a rally with music, youth climate ambassadors, and other dynamic speakers, then march three blocks to the hearing, where public comment begins at 6 pm and a hospitality suite will provide snacks.

Olympia: Thursday, October 30, 5 to 10 pm

The hearing room doors at the Red Lion Inn, 2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW, open at 5 pm. Meet outside for a coastal jam session at 4 pm and for a rally and music at 5 pm, before a Department of Ecology presentation at 6 pm and public input starting at 6:30 pm.

Tips for Providing Testimony

* Succinctly share your personal story, naturally integrating some of the shared talking points to emphasize key messages.

* Explain how oil and coal transport proposals specifically affect you and your family, business, and community.

* Name particular locations near you where oil and coal transport expose you and your community to risks and impacts.

Please circulate this message and facebook event pages among your social networks, invite your friends, wear red, and join Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), a multitude of allied organizations, and hundreds of concerned citizens at one of these pre-hearing rallies and public hearings starting at 5 pm this Tuesday and Thursday! As WIRT coordinates successive oil train actions in Sandpoint and supportive Idaho and Washington communities, share your thoughts about the 2014 Washington state Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study preliminary report, through the lingering vestiges of participatory democracy.  Together, we need to demand more proactive regional protection from hazardous fossil fuel trains and tankers endangering communities and waterways with frequent derailments, accidents, spills, explosions, and loss of life and property.

For more information and to arrange Palouse carpools, get involved and please RSVP to WIRT at 208-301-8039 and this email address. Contact the Idaho Conservation League to travel from the Sandpoint area to this public hearing [10].  If you cannot attend, please send your draft report feedback through the Department of Ecology comment form [11].

No more oil, no more coal!

[1] 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study (Washington Department of Ecology)

[2] Oil Transport Study: Governor Inslee Hires Fox to Study Coop (October 4, 2014 Railing Against Crude)

[3] Inslee’s Draft Marine and Rail Oil Report: A Study in Mis-Direction (October 16, 2014 Railing Against Crude)

[4] Editorial: New Oil Rail Rules Must Ensure Accountability (October 15, 2014 Spokesman-Review)

[5] Port Has Valid Concerns about Oil Trains (October 23, 2014 Olympian)

[6] Oil Shipments across Washington Could Triple by 2020 (October 26, 2014 Spokesman-Review)

[7] Oil Transport Hearings: Message Points (Washington Environmental Council)

[8] Help Stop Dangerous Fossil Fuel Trains from Traveling through Your Community! (Sierra Club)

[9] Public Hearing: Help Stop Dangerous Fossil Fuel Trains! (October 12, 2014 Coal-Free Spokane)

[10] Safety of Oil-by-Rail Studied in Northwest (October 16, 2014 Idaho Conservation League)

[11] Public Comments for the 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study Preliminary Findings and Recommendations (Washington Department of Ecology)


Filed under: Alerts, Coal/Oil Trains/Ports
Categories: Climate Change

Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protests 10-15-14

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 00:08

Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protests 10-15-14 (October 15, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, beginning at 8:30 am MDT, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and allies converged and protested for a second time another auction of oil and gas leases of state lands and sub-surface mineral rights conducted by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) for the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners [1]. Held in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Trophy Conference Room in Boise, Idaho, the public meeting offered 11 tracts totaling 5,250 acres in Cassia, Gem, and Owyhee Counties, including 600 acres in Cassia County and 160 acres in Gem County of state lands and 4,479 acres in Owyhee County of split estates with private landowners and state mineral holders.

Although citizens at the auction observed four bidders, only the drilling companies Alta Mesa Idaho of Houston, Texas, and Trendwell West of Rockford, Michigan, paid an average of $46 per acre on purportedly competitive, oral bids for subsequent ten-year leases [2, 3]. Increasing the current tally to nearly 98,000 leased state acres (besides thousands of leased private acres in six southwestern counties), IDL raised $263,000 from the auction of state public trust and endowment trust lands and minerals for oil and gas exploitation, “benefitting” the general fund, state wildlife and transportation departments, and specific educational and beneficiary institutions.  The state will receive a 12.5 percent royalty on any resulting oil and gas extracted from producing wells impacting lands, resources, and waterways at bargain prices.

At the successful, three-woman Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protest in Boise, which delayed the auction for a half-hour, the Idaho Department of Lands leased 160 acres of state lands in Gem County for only one dollar per acre. The first ever Cassia County acres went for only $10 per acre, but the other nine parcels in Owyhee County elicited $40 to $55 per acre, with one at $105 [4].  These discrepancies infer (at least to WIRT) that oil and gas industry representatives are leery to invest in Gem County drilling, due to the County Commissioners’ recent decision to establish a committee guiding and (hopefully soon) implementing independent, legally defensible, baseline, water quality sampling and testing of water bodies and wells prior to potentially harmful oil and gas activities.  Congratulations, Gem County activists!

Most remarkably but predictably, the Wednesday morning frontline demonstration drew scant local media attention and citizen participation but plenty of state repression, via eight agency, city, and state cops attempting to squash the First Amendment rights of only two to three Idaho activists [5]. Even while leading Idaho fractivist Alma Hasse persisted in her sixth day of a jailed hunger strike, after her wrongful arrest while requesting information at a Payette County hearing on the previous Thursday, officials tried to displace and detain her daughter and friends and their protest signs at the next oil and gas public meeting.  As described in photo captions and an article and video that garnered nationwide interest, Boise police reinstated these protesters’ rights to peacefully wield signs and quietly videotape and occupy the auction room filled with gas company executives and attorneys.

Where were concerned people across Idaho and the region, coordinating actions and influencing and determining how industry-enforcing bureaucrats manage these shared resources? Allowing 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 politically appointed Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which oversees IDL and industry regulation, enjoys a 1.5 percent severance tax on oil and gas production for its “responsibility.”  With 18 drilled but capped wells and pipelines and processing and transportation infrastructure currently under construction or proposed, the first producing well in Idaho in March 2014, on the Teunissen Dairy near New Plymouth, may mark the dawn of a statewide movement against oil and gas industry hegemony.

As five years of frenzied oil and gas rule-making, legislation, exploration, and production, centered primarily in Payette County and the Boise halls of government, continue to degrade relatively pristine and increasingly valuable watersheds and reliant communities, IRAGE and WIRT encourage Idahoans to boycott and divest from oil and gas, engage in grassroots public participation, and generate resistance to the ongoing, boom-and-bust, extreme energy practices of drilling, fracking, acidizing, processing, and transporting hydrocarbons. In the spirit of solidarity with more severely affected Americans, we support displays of collective citizen disapproval of government and corporate use of public lands and waters as sacrifice zones for the toxic aftermath of oil and gas extraction profits.  If state residents dismiss opportunities to protect precious, clean air, water, and lands from fossil fuel incursions, they can expect to suffer ruined rights, health, properties, livelihoods, and prolonged climate chaos in the crosshairs of dirty energy corporations.

[1] Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protests (October 7, 2014  Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] Idaho Leases Thousands More Acres for Oil and Gas Development (October 16, 2014 Idaho Department of Lands)

[3] Idaho Auctions Off More Oil and Gas Leases (October 17, 2014 Idaho Statesman)

[4] Cassia County Gas and Oil Lease Auctioned to Development Company (October 23, 2014 Twin Falls Times-News)

[5] Fish and Game Cop Tries to Gag Fracking Activists and is Shut Down by Boise PD (October 17, 2014 EnviroNews)


Filed under: Idaho Fracking, Photos
Categories: Climate Change

Climate Justice Forum: Alma Hasse 10-20-14

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 15:00

PLEASE CALL IN: 208-892-9200!  The Monday, October 20, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes leading Idaho citizen fractivist and co-founder of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, Alma Hasse.  Alma will share her experiences of her wrongful arrest at an October 9 Payette County planning and zoning meeting approving a natural gas processing plant expansion and her week-long incarceration and hunger strike confined to a holding cell while refusing to participate in the booking process.  She will also discuss the government, industry, and resistance background and implications of oil and gas development for civil liberties and property rights in Idaho.  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 continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.


Filed under: Climate Justice Forum, Idaho Fracking
Categories: Climate Change

Climate Justice Forum: Jim, Alma Hasse’s Husband, & Tina Fisher 10-13-14

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 15:45

The Monday, October 13, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Jim, husband of leading Idaho fractivist Alma Hasse who is hunger striking in the Payette County Detention Center since her wrongful October 9 arrest at a county meeting approving a natural gas processing plant expansion.  Tina Fisher, cofounder with Alma of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction and present at Alma’s arrest, will discuss the local background and implications of oil and gas development for civil liberties and property rights in Idaho.  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 continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.


Filed under: Climate Justice Forum, Idaho Fracking
Categories: Climate Change

Global Frackdown Idaho 10-11-14

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 13:45

In conjunction with the Global Frackdown worldwide day of action on Saturday, October 11, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and other groups and individuals arranged and supported Global Frackdown Idaho for a third year in Boise and for the first time in Moscow.  To publicly oppose fracking, concerned citizens and climate justice activists from across Idaho converged and staged demonstrations, calling for a ban on looming first fracking in Idaho and around the Earth.  In response to state and local policy makers and administrators and in solidarity with harmed communities and wrongfully jailed and hunger-striking Idaho fractivist Alma Hasse, protesters gathered with family, friends, neighbors, signs, and banners at the Boise and Moscow farmers markets.  Event coordinators provided verbal descriptions and printed information about the current state of oil and gas development and resistance in Idaho, as they circulated and signed a petition to state officials and considered a ballot measure, to ban fracking, waste injection wells, and all toxic oil and gas practices statewide.  At both events, participants expressed their outrage over government complicity with industrial harms to shared air, water, climate, and community, as they demanded that Idaho officials secure a future powered by clean, renewable energy, not by dirty, polluting fossil fuels that poison people and the planet.

Global Frackdown Idaho (Wild Idaho Rising Tide) (facebook event)

Global Frackdown on the Palouse (Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition)

Global Frackdown (Food and Water Watch)

Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction)

Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition)

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)


Filed under: Idaho Fracking, Photos
Categories: Climate Change

Idaho Fractivist Arrested Requesting Public Information

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 01:30

At the Payette County Courthouse in Payette, Idaho, police arrested Alma Hasse of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction after the 7 pm Thursday, October 9, Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing about the proposed expansion of the first of two natural gas processing plants and bomb train loading facilities still under construction.

Ms. Hasse was within her rights as a Payette County and Idaho citizen to insist on obtaining public official contact information before departing after the meeting. Denied such access and allegedly refusing to leave, she may be charged with trespassing and possibly disorderly conduct or resisting arrest, according to the Payette County Detention Facility where she is being held.

Multiple calls to the jail (208-642-6006, extension 2) with questions from family and fellow activists revealed that staff will not allow incoming communication and that they claim that Alma is not cooperating with booking procedures. They also state that she will be spending the night and allowed one phone call and, if the judge is willing to see her, she will be arraigned and released at a 1:30 pm hearing on Friday, October 10.  If not, she could remain jailed until Tuesday, over an upcoming “holiday.”

Because Alma has served as the preeminent, outspoken opponent of nascent Idaho oil and gas development over the last four years in the Payette County ground-zero countryside surrounding her home and business, her friends and allies fear that she is being detained by excessive force in a rural prison. We are unsure of her bail amount, but her eagerly anticipated court appearance on Friday may not require it.

Please send Alma your best thoughts and energies throughout Friday morning and beyond, and call the detention center to ask about her situation and to convey that the world is watching. If you can, attend her hearing in solidarity and ensure that she knows to plead “not guilty” and ask for a public defender.  Share this report via email, facebook, Twitter, and phone, and consider donating to Alma’s legal expenses (she has also appealed the second gas processing plant) at P.O. Box 922, Fruitland, ID 83619-0900.  Thanks for supporting our climate heroes!


Filed under: Idaho Fracking
Categories: Climate Change

Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protests

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 22:40

On Wednesday, October 15, 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 a public auction in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Trophy Conference Room 101, at 600 South Walnut Street in Boise, Idaho [1]. The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) periodically conducts these auctions and administers subsequent leases, with oversight and approval of 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 11 tracts in Cassia, Gem, and Owyhee Counties, 600 acres in Cassia County and 160 acres in Gem County constitute state lands, while the nine parcels totaling 4,479 acres located in Owyhee County involve split estates of private landowners and state mineral holders [2].

Minimum, competitive bids by drilling companies at the oral auction open at only $0.25 per acre for the 5,279 acres available for leasing [3]. Successful bidders must pay their bid and the first year’s annual rent of $1.00 per acre for leases lasting up to ten years.  If these leases are not drilled or productive, IDL assesses additional drilling penalties 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, companies must acquire IDL permits costing $100 per mile across contiguous tracts or a minimum of $100 per section.

At the last of several state lands and minerals auctions in Boise, on April 17, 2014, activists raised concerns about drilling under rivers and fossil fuel effects on climate change, demonstrating outside IDL headquarters and quietly occupying the auction room filled with gas company executives and attorneys who bid more than $1,148,435 to the state of Idaho [4]. The Idaho Department of Lands leased 17,700-plus acres for oil and gas drilling, including 1,415 acres of state public trust lands and minerals under or adjacent to Boise, Payette, and Snake river beds.  AM (Alta Mesa) Idaho of Houston, Texas, and Trendwell West, of Rockford, Michigan, paid an average of $76 per acre for the 150  tracts in Ada, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington counties.  The April 17 auction doubled the 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 [5].  Eighteen drilled but capped wells, awaiting pipelines and production and transportation infrastructure currently proposed or under construction, surround 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 [6].

If the people of Idaho own 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 cares for 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 but subsequently impacted lands, resources, and waterways for bargain prices.

Because the last five years of frenzied oil and gas rule-making, legislation, exploration, and drilling, 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 arrived for communities across the state to organize resistance to looming drilling, fracking, and acidizing of oil and gas wells. Historic and current fossil fuel development in the state infer that major portions of Idaho are ripe for extreme energy extraction and could eventually suffer in the boom-and-bust crosshairs of dirty energy corporations [7].  Please participate in one or more of these opportunities for citizen protection of our clean air, water, and lands:

1) Join the auction protest of these state leases, converging at 8:30 am MDT on Wednesday, October 15, outside the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at 600 South Walnut Street in Boise.  Organized by Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment (ICARE), Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and allies, this frontline demonstration affords various roles that will display collective citizen disapproval of 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, family, friends, co-workers, songs, and spirit of solidarity with communities devastated by fossil fuels.  Park in the MK Nature Center lot south of the Fish and Game building, and contact ICARE, IRAGE, and WIRT to discuss event logistics [8, 9].

2) Coordinate statewide protests at Idaho Department of Lands offices on the holiday or business day before this auction, Monday or Tuesday, October 13 or 14.  Like the June 4 to 7, 2013, Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! actions across the state, we are encouraging and instigating demonstrations outside IDL offices at Bonners Ferry, Coolin, Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene, Kingston, Saint Maries, Deary, Kamiah, Orofino, Craigmont, McCall, Jerome, and Idaho Falls [10, 11].  Recruit your friends, family, and neighbors, wield your protest signs, banners, and chants, engage in grassroots public participation by sharing your thoughts with agency personnel, and take plenty of photos and videos to share with Boise IDL staff!  Oil and gas development could soon be coming to the Grangeville area and southeastern Idaho [12, 13].  Please reach WIRT at 208-301-8039 or wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com, for further information.

3) Sign the petition addressed to Idaho Governor Butch Otter, entitled Protect Idaho’s Water [14].  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.

4) Test your well water before any oil and gas 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 transparent chain of custody.  Contact Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of ICARE and IRAGE, who can guide you through this process.  If you pool four to eight neighbors for water well testing within a zero- to three-mile radius of looming drilling, ICARE can cover the $35 hourly rate for a technician.

5) Arrange meetings among your neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends for presentations and discussions with ICARE, IRAGE, and WIRT activists about oil and gas development in Idaho and other states more severely affected by industry inroads.  Local organizers can answer your questions and talk with you over coffee or iced tea.

6) Explore information on the IRAGE and WIRT facebook and website pages, join these community groups, and share this action alert with concerned citizens around the region.  WIRT will periodically release more updates about Idaho oil and gas incursions and resistance in upcoming newsletters.

[1] Notice of Oil and Gas Lease Auction (Idaho Department of Lands)

[2] Tracts to be Auctioned on October 15, 2014 (Idaho Department of Lands)

[3] Oil and Gas Leasing (Idaho Department of Lands)

[4] Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest and Petition Report (April 17, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[5] Fracking Campaign (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[6] WIRT Newsletter: Direct Action Manuals, Idaho Gas and Fukushima Plans, Fracking, Shale Oil, Coal, and Tar Sands Resistance (November 3, 2013 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[7] Oil and Gas Exploration in Idaho (2006 Idaho Geological Survey)

[8] Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (facebook)

[9] Wild Idaho Rising Tide (facebook and website)

[10] Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! 6-4-7-13 (June 4, 2013 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[11] Supervisory Areas (Idaho Department of Lands)

[12] Fracking Brothers Buy Chunk of Idaho County (January 12, 2013 Lewiston Tribune)

[13] Don’t Frack Birding Island in Idaho’s Payette River (May 30, 2013 Earthworks Earthblog)

[14] Protect Idaho’s Water (CredoMobilize petition)


Filed under: Alerts, Idaho Fracking
Categories: Climate Change

Background: Second and Third Bigge/Calumet Megaloads

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 23:45

(August 28 to October 5, 2014, Montana megaload news soon…)


Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

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