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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: 7 hours 8 min ago

Report on Three Actions: Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 16:00

Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports 8-16-14 (August 16, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

During the week of August 10, grassroots groups and peaceful protesters coordinated and staged regional actions against increased coal train traffic in interior Northwest communities and West Coast coal exports [1-3].  Sponsored by several climate and tribal organizations, including 350-Missoula, Blue Skies Campaign, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), Indian People’s Action, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, activists held gatherings, speeches, rallies, marches, and train blockades in eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.  Together, they catalyzed growing inland Northwest opposition largely dismissed by federal and state regulatory processes determining the fate of Powder River Basin coal mines and three proposed coal export facilities at Cherry Point and Longview, Washington, and Boardman, Oregon.

Boardman, Oregon

On Tuesday, August 12, over 40 dedicated people from western Oregon and about a dozen folks from eastern Oregon traveled up to 12 hours via bus and passenger vehicles, through summer storms with wind gusts, heavy rain, and lightning, to the Port of Morrow conference center in Boardman, Oregon [4].  At the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on a 401 water quality certification for Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific coal train terminal, coal export opponents convened a lovely pre-hearing picnic, packed the room, and voiced resistance through about 75 percent of the amazing citizen testimony and inquiries during a DEQ question-and-(un)answer session.  Among health professionals, longshore and warehouse union workers, and eastern Oregon residents, Umatilla tribal representatives spoke powerfully against coal export impacts, offering many compelling reasons to deny state permit approval.  Chief Carl Sampson of the Wallulapum Tribe of the CTUIR welcomed coal export opponents and offered strong words, as did his daughter Cathy Sampson-Kruse, his granddaughter Mariah, and Umatilla Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Burke.

Missoula, Montana

Saturday, August 16, brought nonviolent civil disobedience to a Missoula, Montana, rail line for the second time this year, as Montana writer Rick Bass and three concerned Missoula community members stood on both sides of train tracks and temporarily delayed a coal train [5].  While 50 supporters cheered from the sidelines and forced an inbound coal train to crawl through Hellgate Canyon, police arrested and removed the four brave protesters from the path of the oncoming train in the railroad right-of-way, citing them for trespass and releasing them for appearances in court next week.  In April 2014, police similarly arrested seven people during civil disobedience that delayed an outbound train carrying coal.  Author of nonfiction novels and books, Rick Bass read from his current work to the gathering of coal export opponents and asserted that uncovered, dirty coal shipments by rail through Montana towns, moving all the time through all kinds of weather, violate the Montana constitution and contribute toward still correctable climate change.

Sandpoint, Idaho

In the midst of an intensive week of tar sands refinery megaload protests in northern Idaho, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allied activists gathered in Sandpoint, Idaho, on Saturday, August 16, for a rally, march, and protest of coal export trains traversing and polluting Lake Pend Oreille, the fifth deepest lake in the U.S. [6]  Meeting in Farmin Park, friends and family members brought their protest signs, voices, and chants, and walked through the various parts of the Farmers’ Market at Sandpoint, distributing WIRT brochures and urging convergence and participation in the upcoming march.  Activists walked and chanted “Save Our Lake, No Coal Trains!” for a mile on downtown sidewalks and along the paved, lakeside Sagle-to-Sandpoint community trail that merges into the pedestrian bridge paralleling the two-mile vehicular span of the U.S. Highway 95 Long Bridge.  Among human and canine visitors and swimmers at the sandy, public Dog Beach between the highway and the mile-long, railroad trestle bridge, on which dusty coal trains cross Lake Pend Oreille, participants stood in solidarity with regional action partners and 75 Northwest activists arrested during coal export protests over the last few years.  They supported and immediately shared news of Missoula rail line blockaders arrested concurrently and of the Confederated Umatilla Tribes’ honorable rejection of Morrow Pacific bribes to build and benefit from the Coyote Island Terminal in Boardman.  Local protesters noted that the nearby train tracks remained eerily but thankfully vacant during the hours-long Sandpoint action.

Coal Impacts, Protests, & Support

Several coal trains per day currently pass from Montana and Wyoming mines, through Missoula, Sandpoint, and other inland Northwest communities, to Canadian ports that ship coal overseas.  If state and federal agencies grant pending permits to precariously financed coal companies, to begin construction of controversial new coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington and to open vast eastern Montana lands to coal mining, the number of full and empty coal trains moving through the region each day could increase by as many as thirty.  Unlike the threatened impacts of oil trains, each of the dozens of additional, heavy coal trains per day, 1.5 miles long with their 125 cars, would incessantly spew toxic coal dust, diesel fumes, noise, and periodically derailed loads (especially in and around Lake Pend Oreille), would disrupt local transportation, businesses, emergency responses, and economies, and would degrade railroad tracks, native lands and watersheds, property values, public health, quality of life, and regional identity.  These corporate ventures would cost substantial taxpayer investments supporting the required project infrastructure and mitigating the predictable damages of coal export.  Three proposed West Coast and Columbia River coal terminals and ship transport of coal to Asian markets for combustion would compromise air and water quality, jeopardize aquatic ecosystems and fisheries, and significantly exacerbate global climate change.

But as coal export by rail through the region massively increases, coal and railroad companies can expect increasingly frequent protests, including acts of nonviolent civil disobedience that express heightened concerns about this onslaught, like these August 12 and 16 demonstrations.  Residents of four states will continue to work with the hundreds of frontline communities who live along railroad sacrifice zones, to stop polluting coal trains by every means.  As we together peacefully escalate this movement against dirty energy in new and bolder ways, organizing citizens and pressuring coal and railroad companies and supportive political officials through further, coordinated, regional actions resisting coal export, we ask that you support the grassroots groups who daily risk their freedom to protect our communities and climate from the coal, oil, and gas industries.  Please donate to the legal defense fund of Blue Skies Campaign and help cover the travel and legal costs crucial to Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s ongoing work [7, 8].

Critical Coal Export Permit Denied!

According to Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) on Monday denied a removal/fill permit necessary for Ambre Energy’s proposed Morrow Pacific coal export facilities on the Columbia River in Boardman, Oregon: the Coyote Island Terminal [9].  In the wake of coal export protests in Boardman, Missoula, and Sandpoint over the last week, this news offers welcome relief that Ambre Energy’s coal export dreaming days are numbered.  The financially risky, Australia-based company would ship 8.8 million tons of coal per year on hundreds of coal trains through the region and on thousands of coal barges down the Columbia River, further disrupting our climate with dangerous carbon pollution.  This DSL decision represents a defining, historic moment for the Northwest and the entire country of activists and communities resisting coal exports and other mega fossil fuel projects.  It ensures that Ambre cannot immediately start construction on its coal train terminal dock and warehouses at Boardman and thus offers temporary protection of clean water and climate, healthy salmon and wildlife, and strong public health, safety, and economies.  While the Oregon DEQ deliberates its possible issuance of key water quality permits, please contact the state agency and insist that it upholds the best interests of regional citizens [10].

Congratulations and thanks!

[1] Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports: Join the Action on August 16 (Blue Skies Campaign)

[2] Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports (Blue Skies Campaign)

[3] Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports (August 16, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Greg Sotir photo (August 14, 2014 Columbia Riverkeeper)

[5] Montana Writer and Missoula Community Members Delay Coal Train (August 16, 2014 Blue Skies Campaign)

[6] Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports 8-16-14 (August 16, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[7] Donate (Blue Skies Campaign)

[8] Support WIRT (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[9] Victory! Coal Export Permit Denied! (August 18, 2014 Columbia Riverkeeper)

[10] Public Hearing: DEQ Draft 401 Water Quality Certification for Ambre Energy (August 6, 2014 Columbia Riverkeeper)


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

Sunday Night Megaload Protest Around Idaho Highway 200

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 18:00

Multiple on-site and network sources confirmed at about 9:30 pm on Friday, August 15, that the Calumet tar sands refinery hydrocracker section hauled by Bigge Crane and Rigging would not move on Friday and Saturday nights, August 15 and 16.  Although the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has released the Bigge transportation plan for hauling this million-pound transport on the most convoluted route ever across Idaho and Montana to Great Falls, and several mainstream media sources have circulated information about its Montana route, it is unclear whether MDT has yet issued Bigge a Montana megaload permit [1].  The agency generally does not allow oversize rig travel during the day or on weekend (Friday and Saturday) nights.  As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) compiles a comprehensive report about the last week of megaload protesting, monitoring, and formal petitioning in Idaho, as well as a description of upcoming Montana megaload transit plans and associated resistance, please provide an appropriate send-off to the Bigge/Calumet load and convoy that have so thoroughly degraded public resources and democracy in Idaho.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide is deeply grateful for the enthusiastic and experienced commitment and camaraderie of the progressive Idaho panhandle community, shared during respective Thursday and Saturday Sandpoint protests of this inbound refinery component and outbound coal export shipments.  We are depending on the strength and spirit of a great group of protestors converging in Hope and Clark Fork to oppose the passage of the Bigge/Calumet hydrocracker megaload on its last night in Idaho.  Early on Friday morning, Bigge parked its payload, trailers, and trucks at Idaho Highway 200 milepost 44.4, just west of Hope, Idaho, in anticipation of movement on Sunday night or later [2].  The convoy will travel on Business Highway 200 through Hope and East Hope, use jump bridges to traverse Strong and Riser Creeks, and risk sharp turns from Wellington Place to Centennial Boulevard and back onto Highway 200, not to mention the hazards of roadside cliffs and sloughing roadway along nearby Lake Pend Oreille wetlands and shorelines.  Please see Idaho and Montana Bigge transportation plans posted on the WIRT website and bring your friends, family, and protest signs to gather outside the Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, at 9 pm on Sunday, August 17, and to monitor and protest the last 18 miles of this Alberta tar sands/Bakken shale oil infrastructure onslaught through Idaho [3-5].

[1] Million-Pound Megaload Will Roll through Bull, Swan Valleys (August 15, 2014 Ravalli Republic)

[2] Bigge-Hauled Calumet Hydrocracker Section at Idaho Highway 200 Milepost 44, Idaho 8-15-14 (August 15, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[3] ITD Highway 95 & 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14 (July 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, Idaho (August 17, 2014 Google Maps)

[5] Biggest Megaload Never! (August 10, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)


Filed under: Alerts, Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 17:30

On Saturday, August 16, and during the previous week, grassroots groups are holding a coordinated day of peaceful actions, to protest the passage of coal trains through interior Northwest communities [1, 2].  From Montana and Wyoming to Oregon and Washington, proposals to bring more polluting coal trains through the region impact dozens of communities along rail lines, who are organizing to protect their towns from coal exports.  This summer, 350-Missoula, Blue Skies Campaign, Indian People’s Action, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and other organizations are together catalyzing this movement against dirty energy in new and bolder ways, evident in this regional day of action.

As inland Northwest citizens largely dismissed by the federal and state regulatory processes that determine the fate of three proposed coal export facilities at Cherry Point and Longview, Washington, and Boardman, Oregon, we stand in solidarity with Northwest tribes and climate activists resisting these West Coast ports and Powder River Basin coal mines that despoil native lands and watersheds and ultimately global climate [3].  While Oregon agencies deliberate their possible issuance of key permits allowing financially risky, Australia-based Ambre Energy to begin construction on the controversial Morrow Pacific coal train terminal dock and warehouses at Boardman, we support friends among the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, who rejected  the companies’ bribes of up to $800,000 per year to partner in and benefit from building this Coyote Island Terminal and shipping 8.8 million tons of coal per year down the Columbia River [4, 5].

Residents of four states will continue to work to stop coal exports by every means, including arrestable, nonviolent civil disobedience, as we pressure coal and railroad companies and political officials who support them.  With our protests, we honor the 71 brave Northwest activists who have endured arrest and citation during occupations of coal train tracks and public buildings in Bellingham, Washington (December 2011), White Rock, British Columbia (May 2012), Helena, Montana (August 2012 and September 2013), Spokane, Washington (June 2013), and Missoula, Montana (April 2014), as interior Northwest groups further coordinate regional demonstrations resisting coal export that started in January 2013 [6, 7].

Citizens involved in these August 2014 protests express heightened concerns about proposals to massively increase coal export by rail through their region: corporate ventures that would cost substantial taxpayer investments supporting the required coal export project infrastructure and mitigating the predictable damages of this corporate onslaught.  Unlike the threatened impacts of oil trains, each of the dozens of additional, heavy coal trains per day, 1.5 miles long with their 125 cars, would incessantly spew toxic coal dust, diesel fumes, derailed loads, and noise (especially in and around Lake Pend Oreille), would disrupt local transportation, businesses, emergency responses, and economies, and would degrade public health, quality of life, property values, railroad tracks, and regional identity.  Three proposed West Coast and Columbia River coal terminals and ship transport of coal to Asian markets for combustion would compromise air and water quality, jeopardize aquatic ecosystems and fisheries, and significantly exacerbate global climate change.

Converge with WIRT and allied activists from across northern Idaho for a march and protest of coal export in downtown Sandpoint, beginning at the clock in Farmin Park, at North Third Avenue and Main Street, at 12 noon on Saturday, August 16.  Please bring your family and friends, coal export protest signs, banners, and props, musical instruments, voices, and chants, but especially your spirit of King Coal resistance and solidarity with the thousands of frontline communities who live along railroad sacrifice zones.  Carpools from the Palouse region depart the WIRT Activists House in Moscow (call 208-301-8039 for the address) at 9:30 am and return by 5 pm.  Please join us for this day of nonviolent actions, whether or not you are ready to risk arrest, as we together peacefully escalate this movement.

[1] Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports: Join the Action on August 16 (Blue Skies Campaign)

[2] Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports (Blue Skies Campaign)

[3] Four-State Coal Export Protests and Hearings (November 8, 2012 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Ambre Energy: Caveat Investor (February 13, 2013 Sightline Institute)

[5] Umatilla Tribes Resist Coal Train Export Terminal (July 9, 2014 Union-Bulletin)

[6] 148 Northwest Fossil Fuel Resistance Arrests and Citations (August 1, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[7] Coal Export Resistance Solidarity Actions: 1-11 to 1-20-13 (January 11, 2013 WIRT and allied photos)


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

Biggest Megaload Never!

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 04:45

After eight anxious months and the usual last-minute fiasco to deter legal and physical resistance, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) issued a permit for Bigge Crane and Rigging Company early on Friday afternoon, August 8 [1].  The San Leandro, California-based company plans to haul an up to 1,086,000-pound piece of Great Falls, Montana, refinery equipment across northern Idaho over four to five nights, after departing the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington, at 10 pm on Sunday, August 10.  The bottom, lightest, one-foot wider section of a hydrocracker, which would assist in tripling tar sands production at the Montana Refining Company owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners, measures 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 16 feet, 8 inches high and weighs 926,000 pounds with interconnected trailers and trucks, when additional pull and push trucks are not powering the transport [2].  Accompanied by Idaho State Police, flaggers, and pilot vehicles every night between 10 pm and 5:30 am, the heaviest and longest shipment to (n)ever cross the region can move at speeds between 5 and 35 miles per hour.  It would enter Idaho from the eastern Washington port on Idaho Highway 128, and move north on U.S. Highway 95 up the Lewiston grade, avoiding the bridge over U.S. Highway 195 by briefly sidetracking under the bridge into Washington (with a permit?) and back into Idaho against off-ramp traffic.  After journeying through Moscow, Plummer, and Coeur d’Alene and crossing the two-mile Long Bridge to Sandpoint, the megaload would travel east to Montana on Idaho Highway 200, the federally designated Pend Oreille Scenic Byway with possible weight restrictions and load limits for the lake shore road partially built on fill material [3].  By Idaho law throughout the trip, the convoy must limit the traffic delays of two-lane blockage to 15 minutes, by notifying the transport driver of approaching and trailing vehicles and pulling off the roadway to let them pass.

In less than a Friday hour after ITD’s announcement, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) responded to three ITD offices, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in Boise, and the Idaho Attorney General, alerting them to a formal WIRT petition filed by the 5 pm MDT close of the business day.  The petition requests an immediate stay and reconsideration of ITD’s permit issuance to Bigge only days before it hauls its oversize shipment across northern Idaho [4-6].  By describing the many potential hazards to public safety, convenience, and road and bridge infrastructure that this megaload would impose, the petition outlines ITD’s subsequent violations of the U.S. Fourteenth Amendment and Idaho rules governing open public meetings, overlegal permits, and ITD operating objectives, as explained by Moscow community radio comprehensive coverage and a WIRT interview about the Calumet refinery megaload saga [7].  Wild Idaho Rising Tide did not receive explicitly requested acknowledgement of WIRT petition receipt from ITD, FHWA, and the attorney general on Friday, although the biggest ever megaload could roll before normal ITD business hours on Monday.  But a local reporter noted that, “ITD spokesman Adam Rush said his agency was prepared to receive a petition seeking to halt the shipment and that the matter would be considered over the weekend, before the shipment could legally leave the Port of Wilma…  If the WIRT petition isn’t granted, the megaload shipment could pass through Moscow late Sunday or early Monday” [8].  Whether any state officials bother to notify the petitioning group of their decision or just continue to dismiss it as collateral damage on the roadside to ruin remains uncertain.

Monitor & Protest!

About a year ago, Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) friends and allies passionately blocked and incessantly dogged a huge evaporator all along Highway 12 east of Lewiston during four intense nights, as it trespassed through their homelands to desecrate other indigenous territories in Alberta.  WIRT is honored to again stand shoulder-to-shoulder with tribal allies, as people gather to stop this latest megaload and thus safeguard the next seven generations in 1855 Nez Perce treaty lands, the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, and across beautiful northern Idaho, demonstrating again to the oil and gas industry that their fossil fuel-facilitating loads will encounter vigilant uprisings and covert creativity, with plenty of surprises for interlopers in every regional sacrifice zone.  Climate chaos survival offers no alternatives except to fight this incursion: We intend to take this to the streets every night from the port to the refinery!  Without ITD response to the formal WIRT petition for a megaload permit stay and reconsideration, but with ongoing hopes for legal remedies, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allies believe that the million-plus-pound Calumet transport may illegally commence travel on Sunday night.  If it does, please join us and allied tribal, climate, and conservation activists in the streets, highways, and elsewhere, for week-long protesting and monitoring activities in Clarkston/Lewiston, Moscow, Plummer, Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, and Hope and/or Clark Fork.

Please scrutinize the most pertinent of over 100 ITD public records about this Highway 95/200 transport, which WIRT received and posted on July 31, especially Bigge’s Idaho route and transportation plans with maps, photos, and schedules [9].  Because the megaload travel itinerary and thus WIRT event arrangements will fluctuate nightly, stay informed and share constant WIRT updates of schedule and location changes, available through the WIRT facebook, website, and email event announcements and alerts.  Bring your friends and family to demonstrations and come prepared with protest signs, banners, chants, musical instruments, and voices, take plenty of videos and photos, and support any possible blockades that may arise, either actively or from the sidelines.  Each anti-megaload action in public places will begin with a circle gathering and emergency planning session.  Anticipate police intimidation but strong solidarity and experience among regional monitors, protestors, and organizers.  Please uphold and ensure everyone’s safety, civility, and sanity during all megaload observations, documentations, and demonstrations of civil disobedience.  Remember that we stand against this invasion, not to revel in the behemoth advancing through meek displays of sovereignty.  Ideally, we will together directly and eventually stop this onslaught, which obviously will not happen in places where protesters willingly surround themselves with police.  Additional protests may occur in locations not described in this announcement, and WIRT may host community potluck meetings in several towns along the route.  Even if you cannot participate on-site or on the road, please contribute to the legal expenses of environmental warriors facing arrest and to WIRT’s ongoing work to stop dirty energy in Idaho, in the streets and the courts [10].  Please call 208-301-8039 to find out how you can help or offer suggestions of places to meet and/or protest.  WIRT is grateful for every heart that beats with courage against this rampage and every injustice!

Protest Places & Tentative Times

Lewiston: Sunday, August 10, 9 pm: Arrive at the park/boat launch at Frontage Road and Steelhead Way, before the convoy closes Frontage Road, and expect to move to multiple locations as the megaload progresses.  Carpools depart from Third and Washington streets in Moscow at 8 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/BG4dt).

Moscow: Sunday or Monday, August 10 or 11: Meet at Third and Washington streets outside Moscow City Hall.  Although this venue attracts too much police presence, it endures as the defacto megaload protest location.  The gargantuan load may mount the Lewiston grade and reach Moscow by the end of Sunday night or may park on the Palouse and cross town on Monday night (http://goo.gl/maps/4x0BQ).

Plummer: Monday or Tuesday, August 11 or 12: Converge outside the Warpath at a time and date to be announced (http://goo.gl/maps/G5IV8).

Coeur d’Alene: Tuesday or Wednesday, August 12 or 13: Come to the corner of West Linden Avenue and Lincoln Way at a time and date to be announced (http://goo.gl/maps/0WWbv).

Sandpoint: Wednesday or Thursday, August 13 or 14: Assemble outside the Conoco gas station on East Superior Street, before the Calumet megaload crosses the Long Bridge at 2 am on Wednesday night at the earliest, at a time and date to be announced (http://goo.gl/maps/ryQLa).

Hope: Thursday or Friday, August 14 or 15: Gather at the corner of Centennial Boulevard and Wellington Place at a time and date to be announced (http://goo.gl/maps/6k5SD).

Megaload Rail Transports

In late July, as government and industry remained typically mute about controversial topics and potential confrontational situations such as megaload transports, WIRT circulated three media releases about ever changing Port of Wilma circumstances over eight days.  Perhaps catalyzed by this information influx, regional journalists undertook investigations and overdue articles about the two missing hydrocracker parts, last seen on July 15, while on-the-ground activists scouted and monitored the situation [11].  Confirming May newspaper articles, a Calumet refinery official suspiciously said that the two heavier, narrower loads were going by rail in the future, never disclosing whether they would or had already departed the port by rail via the Great Northwest Railroad (GRNW), a subsidiary of Watco Transportation Services, or by barge to downriver rail ports [12].  Some observers speculated that the two modules remained in the nearby warehouse, where Omega Morgan has previously housed a giant evaporator.  Relentless WIRT activists and curious allies nonetheless cost this fossil fuel production expansion project a security guard and plenty of angst.

Meanwhile on July 29, WIRT initially learned from allies that the remaining Calumet megaload at the Port of Wilma could start moving on Sunday or Monday, August 3 or 4.  As we continued to search for information, via many comrades calling various officials, scouts saw workers put it on trailers, and we heard by the end of the week that Bigge would not launch its colossus until late during this last week or “early on August 11,” possibly Sunday night [13, 14].  Eventually, WIRT received a response to a phone message left with the Lewiston ITD office, questioning the timing and transport method of the three Calumet loads’ departures.  District 2 operations engineer Doral Hoff confirmed a possible Sunday night, August 10, highway megaload launch, after ITD replaced two Highway 95 culverts north of Moscow.  He said that the two other hydrocracker parts, with narrower dimensions that allowed rail transport, traveled downriver by train.  The typically evasive, standard protocol manner of ITD seemed to lead to inconclusive information, so a regional reporter contacted the Port of Wilma, and Mitch Dempke stated that the two larger megaloads left the port approximately three weeks ago, about the time that observers saw them on short, 12-axle trailers, before discovering their absence on July 19.

But transportation of two Calumet hydrocracker sections along the Snake River via rail seems unlikely, because the track capacity from the Port of Wilma to Ayers Junction is only 286,000 pounds, perhaps suggesting that the weakest link in the track’s infrastructure would endure unacceptable risks under heavier loads.  The GRNW tracks probably could not accommodate loads as heavy as the two pieces of the Calumet hydrocracker, weighing 669,593 and 572,871 pounds respectively.  A Schnabel train convoy could add another million pounds [15].  These shipments could still be delayed and/or moving across Washington, Idaho, and Montana to the Great Falls tar sands refinery, so we urge all regional residents to watch for a rusty pressure vessel traveling by train, with its weight distributed over the dozens of axles of a Schnabel rail car.

Background

WIRT and allies welcome growing opposition to the purveyors of new fossil fuel industrial infrastructure, as we push for more people to understand the climate implications of these monstrosities, beyond just “not in my backyard” inconvenience concerns.  As more Earth residents struggle for clean air to breath, clean water to drink, and clean land for wildlife and food, the facts that climate scientists have been wielding for decades, telling us that the world will soon become unrecognizable to its survivors, are becoming more apparent.  As long as Big Oil and extreme energy corporations spend unlimited and unreported funds attempting to bribe citizen representatives and instill in Americans fears of personal loss of jobs, homes, investments, or status, we all are captives to the Earth’s and our own destruction.  But actually witnessing megaloads up close can often help put all of these issues in perspective.  We are counting on all of you, our dearest comrades, to bring your appreciated efforts to the often scary and lonely megaload frontlines of Idaho sacrifice zones, trusting that all of us together will increasingly resist tar sands and shale oil infrastructure from whatever life circumstances and for whatever reasons we can.  Plenty of opportunities urge you to responsibly rise up against extreme energy breaches of basic human rights to healthful resources: Will you heed these calls to action?

Since April 2010, the four-state regional community has worked to block, through seven court cases, 70 arrests/citations, and well over 100 protests, two-lane wide transports weighing hundreds of thousands of pounds and carrying infrastructure components that build Alberta tar sands mining and refining facilities.  The saga of the stranded Calumet hydrocracker megaloads has entailed many changes of plans, players, and opponents.  But its bears a strategically important relationship to the fossil fuel industry’s extraction agenda for both the Alberta tar sands and Bakken shale oil industrial sacrifice zones [16].  Big Oil plans at least ten new 20,000-barrels-per-day (bbl/day) greenfield refineries, the first in the U.S. since 1976, for feed stock from the Bakken shale formation and Williston Basin in the North Dakota/Montana region, where developers have drilled 46,000 wells and disturbed 230,000 acres since 2000, inflicting a scale of destruction second only to Albertageddon.  All of these refineries would produce diesel for Bakken drilling rigs, trucks, trains, and machinery, naphtha diluent to thin Alberta tar sands enough to flow through pipelines, and atmospheric tower bottoms (ATBs), the sludge byproduct of conventional refining.  Built of pre-fabricated modular components, possibly transported by rail or road through Idaho in the future, all of these proposed refineries depend on a facility that can further process the leftover ATBs – the hydrocracker unit at the center of Calumet’s Montana Refining Company expansion in Great Falls, with the capacity to convert 25,000 bbl/day of ATBs into more diesel and diluent.  Another five planned, similar refineries would process Bakken crude in stabilizers that remove the explosive gases that prompt oil train explosions but that also qualify this crude oil as a refined product that circumvents the U.S. crude oil export ban.

[1] Megaload Headed This Way Sunday (August 8, 2014 Spokesman-Review)

[2] Calumet Hydrocracker Section Dimensions (August 8, 2014 Herb Goodwin)

[3] State Highway 200 (Idaho Transportation Department)

[4] Petition Requesting a Stay and Reconsideration of Permit Issuance (August 8, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[5] Megaload Headed for North Idaho (August 9, 2014 Coeur d’Alene Press)

[6] Mega-Loads Taking Longer Than Expected to Reach Idaho Panhandle (August 9, 2014 Boise Weekly)

[7] Evening Report – Calumet Load (August 8, 2014 KRFP, between 19:20 and 5:41 LoFi)

[8] Moscow Group Concerned over Planned Megaload Transport (August 8, 2014 Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

[9] ITD Highway 95 and 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14 (July 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[10] Support WIRT (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[11] Refinery Says Megaloads to Go by Rail (July 25, 2014 Lewiston Tribune)

[12] Watco Companies Railroads Track Capacity Maps: Great Northwest Railroad (Watco Companies)

[13] Evening Report – NPC Forest Chief Rick Brazell (July 31, 2014 KRFP, between 19:55 and 14:35 LoFi)

[14] Evening Report – Tar Sands (August 1, 2014 KRFP, between 28:50 and 25:23 LoFi)

[15] Rail Pictures (RailPictures.net)

[16] The Emerging Threat from the Bakken and the Role of the Calumet Hydrocracker (August 8, 2014 Herb Goodwin)


Filed under: Alerts, Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

Petition Requesting a Stay and Reconsideration of Permit Issuance

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 16:57

From: Wild Idaho Rising Tide <wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com>

Date: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Subject: Re: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

To: John Perry <idaho.fhwa@fhwa.dot.gov>, Brent Inghram <brent.inghram@dot.gov>, ITD Director Brian Ness <brian.ness@itd.idaho.gov>, Reymundo Rodriguez <reymundo.rodriguez@itd.idaho.gov>, Jason Minzghor <jason.minzghor@itd.idaho.gov>, Doral Hoff <doral.hoff@itd.idaho.gov>, ITD Public Affairs Specialist Adam Rush <adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Cc: Natalie Havlina <havlinalaw@gmail.com>, Scott Reed <scottwreed@frontier.com>

Petition Requesting a Stay and Reconsideration of Permit Issuance 8-8-14

(IDAPA 4.11.01.230 Petitions)  (IDAPA 39.03.09 Overlegal Permits)

 

From: Wild Idaho Rising Tide <wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com>

Date: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Subject: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

To: John Perry <idaho.fhwa@fhwa.dot.gov>, Brent Inghram <brent.inghram@dot.gov>, ITD Director Brian Ness <brian.ness@itd.idaho.gov>, Reymundo Rodriguez <reymundo.rodriguez@itd.idaho.gov>, Jason Minzghor <jason.minzghor@itd.idaho.gov>, Doral Hoff <doral.hoff@itd.idaho.gov>, ITD Public Affairs Specialist Adam Rush <adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Mr. Wasden, Mr. Perry, Mr. Inghram, Mr. Ness, Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Minzghor, Mr. Hoff, and all,

Wild Idaho Rising Tide anticipates filing a formal petition requesting a stay and reconsideration of Idaho Transportation Department issuance of this permit to Bigge Crane and Rigging, submitted by the 5 pm MDT close of business today, August 8, 2014.  We would appreciate your acknowledgement of your receipt of this message and this forthcoming petition.

Helen Yost

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843

wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com

 

From: “Adam Rush” <Adam.Rush@itd.idaho.gov>

To: “Adam Rush” <Adam.Rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Sent: Friday, August 8, 2014 12:51:35 PM

Subject: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

8/8/2014

Contact:

Adam Rush

Public Involvement Coordinator

(208) 334-8119

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

BOISE – Motorists are advised to expect delays on U.S. 95 and Idaho 200 during the transport of a Bigge Crane equipment shipment, the Idaho Transportation Department announced.

ITD issued a permit today (Friday, August 8) to Bigge Crane to move a shipment 21 feet wide, 16 feet, 8 inches high, and 311 feet long.  The shipment will weigh as much as 1,086,000 pounds when additional trucks are needed, such as when it is moving uphill.  When additional trucks are not part of the transport, it will weigh 926,000 pounds.

The permit allows travel between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

The shipment will enter Idaho from eastern Washington on Idaho 128, then travel north on U.S. 95 to Sandpoint.  At Sandpoint, it will then travel east on Idaho 200 to Montana. It is anticipated to enter Idaho Sunday night.

As much as possible, delays to other vehicles will be limited to 15 minutes.  Flaggers and pilot vehicles will accompany the transport vehicle and notify its driver when other vehicles are approaching.  The shipment will then move to the nearest available pull-out, and let other vehicles pass.

Idaho State Police will accompany the shipment.


Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

Sunday, August 10, Launch & Opposition to Bigge-Haul​ed Calumet Megaload

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 17:30

Late on Thursday morning, August 7, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) received confirmation from a regional journalist that an overlegal load awaiting transport by Bigge Crane and Rigging Company from the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington, to Great Falls, Montana, may move on Sunday evening, August 10, and successive nights afterwards between 10 pm to 6 am.  As noted by Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) District 1  business manager Scotty Fellom in Coeur d’Alene, ITD public involvement coordinator Adam Rush in Boise said that ITD is preparing and expects to issue a permit and press release on Friday afternoon, leaving little or no time for public and/or legal recourse during normal business hours.

The bottom hydrocracker section would double or triple production of Alberta tar sands crude oil at the Montana Refining Company in Great Falls, Montana, owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners.  Hauled by several heavy-duty pull and push trucks and interconnected trailers, the entire transport weighs 926,000 pounds and measures 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and one inch short of 17 feet high, the heaviest and longest load to ever traverse the proposed U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 200 route in Idaho.  According to two sources, one at the Lewiston ITD office, the two larger and wider parts of the hydrocracker left the Port of Wilma via rail about three weeks ago.  These circumstances lead observers to believe that this shipment is pushing the limits of critical, rural, publicly owned and funded highway and bridge infrastructure.

As exemplified in four years of Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allied resistance to such new fossil fuel infrastructure transported as “megaloads” across four states, WIRT and other concerned groups and citizens oppose this latest onslaught.  In February 2014, we successfully diverted these three loads from Mammoet USA South’s scheme to build a temporary Interstate 90 on-ramp east of Coeur d’Alene, where previous interchange construction had collapsed into Lake Coeur d’Alene, by insisting on full environmental impact statement review of the project.  We will continue to monitor, protest, and petition to halt passage of this Bigge-hauled refinery equipment in Lewiston, Moscow, Plummer, Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, Hope, and throughout the region, for myriad, justifiable reasons, including the ones outlined here.

1. Public Participation Averted

Although ITD hosted and/or participated in open house and public meetings in Coeur d’Alene in December 2013 and in Moscow in January 2014, ITD has provided no public participation or education opportunities regarding this gargantuan transport proposal, the first to attempt movement on the U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 200 route.  May 30 email messages from the ITD Boise and Coeur d’Alene offices to Bigge Crane and Rigging Company stated that, “They [Bigge/Mammoet] will need some public involvement; also they will need Idaho State Police escort in some areas,” and “You will need to work with Jason [Minzghor of ITD District 1] on setting up public meetings, where you will need Idaho State Police, and on contacting ISP to make arrangements for the move” [1].  According to regional journalists and to ITD public records received by WIRT on July 31, the company and perhaps ITD met with city and county officials and police, but never engaged in announced, open public meetings.

2. Public Safety and Highways Imperiled

Since early 2011, several companies have hauled over 100 colossal pieces of tar sands extraction and production equipment, weighing up to 700,000 pounds, on U.S. Highways 12 and 95 and Interstate 90 through northern Idaho, between Lewiston area ports and western Montana [2].  Expensively and dangerously facilitated by the Idaho Transportation Department, state police, and private contractors, these shipments have imperiled the safety and schedules of travelers, while delaying, confusing, and blocking public highway access and traffic with their two-lane widths and lengthy, glaring cargoes and convoys.  Transport operations have caused personal injury and property damage through impeded public and private emergency services and numerous accidents and collisions with vehicles, tree branches, cliffs, and power lines, while they degraded highways with washboard ruts in lane centers, and pummeled saturated road beds, crumbling shoulders, and outdated bridges.  Across the region during the last 18 months, at least five oversize loads have toppled from or with their trailers in the vicinity of Roundup, Montana, Portland, Oregon, and Pocatello, Idaho, or have caused a river bridge to collapse near Mount Vernon, Washington.

3. Unique Natural Values Compromised

North Idaho citizens have expressed intense concerns about the possibilities of this giant load collapsing or degrading the U.S. Highway 95 Long Bridge south of Sandpoint and the two-year-old, elevated bypass around downtown, the Sand Creek Byway, which were both not built to support so much weight on a regular basis [3].  ITD has stated that the Long Bridge needs replacement because of rusty pilings and other structural weaknesses.  The taxpayer-funded agency should not even consider allowing such a heavy load to cross this almost two-mile-long bridge, especially during the August 7 to 17 Festival at Sandpoint series of musical concerts, one of the largest tourist events each year in the area.  Local residents and visiting travelers also cherish remote Idaho Highway 200 between Sandpoint and the Montana border, for its immediately adjacent public lands and waters.  This Bigge and Calumet fast track from natural riches to industrial ruin would transform this beautiful, federally-designated Pend Oreille National Scenic Byway into an oversize equipment-hauling corridor along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille and up the Clark Fork River valley through Cabinet Gorge in Montana.  ITD removed roadside trees along this scenic byway during Spring 2014, likely to accommodate this megaload transport proposal that would impact six state-managed wildlife habitat management areas or preserves, traversing the Pack River Game Management Area and the Pend Oreille State Wildlife Management Area, passing next to the David Thompson State Wildlife Preserve, and traveling close to three other game management areas.

4. Clean Energy Future Forestalled

ITD and the engineering firm and bridge analysis consultants Forsgren Associates assured the public last winter that the Montana Refining Company destination of these reactor vessels would use the three pieces of a hydrocracker “to create ultra-low-sulfur diesel to meet EPA Clean Air [Act] standards,” and that these transports would carry “no hazardous waste or chemicals” [4].  However, WIRT research has disclosed and widely publicized that these colossal megaloads would triple the conversion of 10,000 barrels per day of Canadian heavy bitumen (tar sands) crude into Rockies transportation fuels [5].  This crude oil arrives via pipelines and rail cars as 95 percent of the feedstock of this closest U.S. refinery to Alberta tar sands mining operations.  Such hydrocracking and hydro-treating pressure vessels, which split heavy hydrocarbon molecules and insert hydrogen under high heat and pressure, are essential to tar sands refining and production of lighter, valuable hydrocarbons like diesel fuel.  But refinery emissions of under-regulated, toxic sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and related particulate matter from raw, typically high-sulfur tar sands results in the acidified rain and aquatic and terrestrial environments and the respiratory, cardiovascular, cancer, and other health risks and impacts of increasing U.S. production of fossil fuels from bitumen blends.  As new and upgraded tar sands and shale oil refineries proliferate in greater proximity to Alberta and Bakken mines, the Northwest region can expect and resist more of these megaloads and their anticipated significant impacts on air quality, human and environmental health, and climate stability, both in transit and at their destinations.

5. Social & Economic Costs Escalated

Citizens concerned about the lax state oversight and myriad impacts of these overlegal loads, who have monitored, documented, and protested dangerous convoy practices and conditions, have additionally faced unwarranted targeting, surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and arrest by state troopers and county and city police sworn to serve public safety, but who instead protect corporate interests that challenge Idahoans’ civil liberties and risk the health and wellbeing of people, places, and the planet.  To date, police have arrested 70 Rising Tide allied climate and tribal activists and cited four more during over one hundred direct protesting and monitoring confrontations of this corporate take-over of public highways [6].  They and thousands of regional community members can attest that megaload operations are anything but safe, as private profit consistently usurps public interests.  During just one fiscal year, Imperial Oil transports cost the Idaho Transportation Department $645,000 in administrative costs not covered by megaload permits, not to mention the millions of dollars that American taxpayers spend to repair public transportation infrastructure damaged by tar sands shipments [7].

Respect existence or expect resistance!

[1] ITD Highway 95 and 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14 (July 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] Concerns and Comments about the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route (February 6, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition)

[3] WIRT Newsletter: Congratulations, Condolence​s, Upcoming Events, and Highway 95/200 Megaloads (May 2, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Mammoet Megaloads 2013-14 Public Records (January 10, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[5] WIRT Newsletter: Wednesday Hearing/Action and Public Records/News about Tar Sands Refinery Megaloads (January 14, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[6] Northwest Protests of Omega Morgan-Hauled Tar Sands Megaloads (January 25, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[7] ITD Loses $645,000 Annually on Oversize Load Permits (January 24, 2012 Lewiston Tribune)


Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

WIRT Newsletter: Thursday WIRT Planning Potluck, Montana & Sandpoint Megaload Updates

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 03:50

WIRT Potluck/Planning Meeting Every Thursday

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) would appreciate WIRT activists stepping forward to design direct actions before the next, heaviest and longest megaload ever to traverse northern Idaho’s dilapidated, publicly-owned infrastructure launches from the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington.  Please join us this (and any or every!) Thursday, August 7, at 7 pm at the WIRT Activists House (call 208-301-8039 for directions, if necessary).  We plan to share potluck food and strategize and prepare for tar sands megaload and coal export actions that entail more than just showing up and waving signs.  Please participate in the many necessary roles and work carried forward by the WIRT collective every day!  Through various methods over the next few weeks, we are working to hold state and federal agencies and fossil fuel companies regionally responsible for more transparency, public involvement, and stewardship [1].

Montana Megaload Updates

On Monday afternoon, August 4, one of WIRT’s amazing Montana allies posted a question on the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) website and received this polite and prompt reply: “Thank you for visiting our website and your inquiry concerning Mammoet Company or Bigge Crane and Rigging.  They have been working through the process, and no permits have been issued at this time.”  In his email reply, our friend asked MDT’s Dan Kiely if he could please notify him if MDT grants a permit for this megaload.  He is also keeping his Flathead Reservation tribal council friends and other neighbors apprised of the situation.

During Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, August 5 and 6, the Montana Department of Transportation sent a follow-up note about the planned Calumet tar sands refinery hydrocracker part shipment to the same Montana comrade.  It stated “MDT is planning on issuing a press release prior to any movement in Montana.  Just for a point of clarification, the proposal that is under review only lists U.S. Highway 93 in the Kalispell area.”  Why was MDT so quick to clarify, even without a query [2]?

As suspected and upon further correspondence with MDT to ascertain the latest Montana megaload plan, the agency refers to a proposed Bigge Crane and Rigging transport route, submitted to MDT for review and approval, similar to Mammoet’s April scheme avoiding Montana Highway 200 through the Flathead Reservation.  Instead, the megaload would enter the state from Idaho on Highway 200, then travel on Montana Highway 56 through the beautiful Bull River Valley near the Cabinet Mountains, then move east on U.S. Highway 2 to Kalispell, Montana [3].  The million-plus-pound behemoth would then make a 31-mile, northerly detour around the 14-foot-high railroad overpass above East Idaho Street in Kalispell: North on Route 424 and Highway 93, east on Montana Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 2, then south on Route 206 and Montana Highway 35 to within a few miles of Flathead Lake and the town of Big Fork [See the attached photo: East Idaho Street Kalispell Megaload Obstacle].  It would then invade the wildly scenic Seeley-Swan Valley via Montana Highway 83, to return to eastbound Highway 200 and Great Falls.  To access its Montana Refining Company destination, Bigge would lumber down the Interstate 15 Frontage Road, Northwest Bypass, and the U.S. Highway 87 Bypass/Third Street Northwest in Great Falls.

Kalispell newspaper writers in the new Montana path of megaloads initially conjectured multiple routes on April 1, including Highway 2 to their city, then Highway 93 south to Missoula and Interstate 90, and other options [4].  Other April 2014 media speculation about the Montana megaload route featured a map notably showing a proposed ascent of Marias Pass south of Glacier National Park, taking Highway 2 from Kalispell to Browning, before heading south on Montana Highway 89 to Great Falls [5, 6, see the attached photo: Calumet Megaload Montana Map - KRTV].  According to Missoula megaload blockader Carol Marsh on April 24, the Montana Department of Transportation approved the same weight-tolerant route described here for all three of the largest ever regional megaloads planned by Mammoet, but at the time, had not yet requested a Montana permit.

Have MDT regulators and megaload haulers purposely designed this route to avert traveling through or near not only the Flathead and Blackfoot reservations in Montana but also 12 acres of shared land of a small band of the Kootenai Tribe near Bonners Ferry, Idaho, who refused to sign any treaties with the United States, and even declared war on the U.S. in 1974, and thus have no reservation?  Is the increased mobilization, or just the perceived potential activism, of diverse tribal opposition impacting megaload permitting decisions and thus further raising the complexity and cost of this Montana Refining Company refinery expansion effort?  All non-tribal members need to soon realize that they have as much to lose as tribal neighbors and should also block some megaload roads.  Once they understand that their backyard highways could facilitate the ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos imposed by megaloads, their next steps will hopefully be stronger.

In early April, the Daily Inter Lake newspaper of Kalispell joined at least two other mainstream media editors and/or editorial boards weighing in against megaloads, including the Argus Observer of Ontario, Oregon (across the Snake River from oil and gas drilled Payette County), the Lewiston Tribune, and several more [7].  With the four-state megaload resistance now focused on the Mammoet/Bigge Crane and Rigging-hauled modules soon departing the Lewiston, Idaho, area, each delay and re-route, each security guard at the port, and each extra cop to escort this heaviest and longest megaload increases the cost of extraction of climate-wrecking Canadian tar sands.  If the price of oil does not similarly rise, as most Americans would enjoy or insist, the entire endeavor becomes uneconomical.  As the fiscal and physical bankruptcy of extreme energy production looms, a sustainable energy future dawns.

Sandpoint Megaload News

Over the last week, WIRT has been talking and sharing late breaking news about the current megaload situation with Boise, Moscow, and Sandpoint journalists.  We appreciate the mutual benefit of crucial fact finding and public dissemination of information, which are not so easily accomplished solely by activists, for obvious reasons.  Among numerous concerns expressed during the last four months, residents of the Lake Pend Oreille region near Sandpoint, Idaho, wonder whether the almost two-mile-long Highway 95 Long Bridge over their fifth deepest lake in the U.S. can withstand the weight of this 1.6-million-pound refinery megaload [8].  Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) plans for converting Highway 95 south of Sandpoint into a controlled access highway have determined that the Long Bridge needs replacement.  But the city of Sandpoint has confirmed that it expects the gargantuan piece of industrial equipment to cross Long Bridge at 2 am some morning during the August 7 to 17 Festival at Sandpoint series of musical concerts, one of the largest tourist events of the year [9].  The ‘respectable’ and/or ‘authority,’ figures of Sandpoint do not seem to mind the looming intrusion and traffic conflicts.  Besides typically marginalized activists, city officials could raise some hell about this fiasco happening on any day, but especially during locally significant events, as the Moscow mayor and police chief have.  Some observers suspect that money has silenced their voices that speak on behalf of area residents.  Mayors of other smaller, regional towns along the Idaho Highway 200 trail of megaload destruction have participated in meetings about this situation.  They were unaware that ITD had not yet approved a permit for the transport, when they spoke against the Bigge rig using the highway near their towns, due to its poor condition.  But in response to their concerns, project proponents essentially said, “It’s okay, we have plenty of insurance if there’s a problem.”

Over the last weekend, August 2 and 3, a Highway 200 area resident gathering road measurements encountered a few Bigge crew members doing preliminary measurements and work for megaload passage.  They said that the information in the unused, July 27 to 31 Mammoet permit was incorrect, and that their permit differs for a load that is only 20 feet wide and weighs less than 1.6 million pounds.  Supposedly, the trailer and module without the trucks weigh 700,000 pounds, and they will not use all the trucks going through Hope and other tight spots.  Although they obviously already know the content of the permits, the Bigge workers seemed ashamed that ITD had not issued them a permit yet.

These circumstances have led some of these great sleuths to speculate that, by releasing the July Mammoet permit, even though Bigge is moving a purportedly smaller megaload, ITD has not only set a precedent for huge loads traveling on this route, but is again playing another deceitful shell game with their employer, the Idaho and American taxpaying public.  WIRT has not found a permit for the Bigge subcontractor in our half-finished inspection of over 100 public records received on July 31 from ITD [10].  But in that review, we have noticed weight bearing deficiencies among several Highway 200 bridges.  The most recent Idaho megaload travel plan describes straddling a curved span over Strong Creek with a “jump-bridge” on Wellington Place in East Hope, as the load bypasses the Highway 200 “Bridge to Nowhere” precariously perched over the shoreline of Lake Pend Oreille [11].

[1] Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports: Join the Action on August 16 (Blue Skies Campaign)

[2] WIRT Newsletter: Calumet Megaloads, Oil and Gas Rules, Ziggy for State Rep, and Fight or Flight Workshop (August 4, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[3] Wilma Road to Montana Refining Company (Revised April 24, 2014 Google Maps)

[4] Megaloads May Come through Kalispell (April 1, 2014 Daily Inter Lake)

[5] MDT Discussing NW Montana Options for New Megaload Shipments (April 4, 2014 KPAX)

[6] Megaloads” Heading to Great Falls (April 5, 2014 KRTV)

[7] Megaloads Are a Real Big Problem (April 12, 2014 Daily Inter Lake editorial board)

[8] WIRT Newsletter: Congratulations, Condolence​s, Upcoming Events, and Highway 95/200 Megaloads (May 2, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[9] The Festival at Sandpoint (The Festival at Sandpoint)

[10] ITD Highway 95 & 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14 (July 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[11] Jumper Bridge (Bigge Crane and Rigging Company) (photo)


Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

Fight or Flight Northern Rockies Tour Workshop

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 18:00

Why let Big Oil, Gas, and Coal trounce your unprepared community?  Please participate in the first Moscow direct action skills workshop presented by visiting activists since October 2011.  The Bunny Alliance, Resistance Ecology, and Earth First! Journal are staging their nationwide Fight or Flight Tour during Summer 2014, to intensify protests of Delta Airlines and the global Gateway to Hell campaigns, pushing to end the transport of animals to labs [1].  They are making only two August travel stops in the Northern Rockies, with Buffalo Field Campaign near Yellowstone National Park and with Wild Idaho Rising Tide in Moscow, Idaho.

At a public, evening workshop hosted by WIRT, seasoned activists will discuss their demonstrations and solidarity work, building alliances and empowering and mobilizing the grassroots animal liberation and ecological activist community.  Sharing supportive experience and direct action skills, workshop organizers will train participants on strategic and effective campaigning – emphasizing corporate resistance and research – and protest tactics, security culture, and movement relationships.  The Civil Liberties Defense Center will also talk about legal rights, research, and observation.

Northern Idaho comrades, do not miss this rare opportunity to learn among an expanding, continent-wide coalition of direct action practitioners!  This training workshop starts at 6 pm on Tuesday, August 12, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow [2].  Please invite your friends and family members, attend, and practice the pro-active, frontline defense knowledge that you acquire.  Thanks!

[1] Fight or Flight 2014 Summer Tour (The Bunny Alliance, Resistance Ecology, and Earth First! Journal website)

[2] Fight or Flight Tour: Northern Rockies! (Resistance Ecology facebook event)


Filed under: Events
Categories: Climate Change

WIRT Newsletter: Calumet Megaloads, Oil & Gas Rules, Ziggy for State Rep, & Fight or Flight Workshop

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 18:00

Calumet Refinery Megaloads

Thanks to Julian Matthews of Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) Protecting the Environment for photos of the completely assembled and prepared Calumet tar sands refinery megaload awaiting an Idaho permit and travel at the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington [1].  Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) public involvement coordinator Adam Rush stated late on Friday that the Bigge Crane and Rigging/Mammoet-hauled megaload will not move from the port until late during the week of August 3 or “early” on August 11 (Sunday night?) [2].  The bottom hydrocracker section, attempting Highway 95 and 200 passage across Idaho to Great Falls, already received an ITD permit for unused July 27 to 31 transport (so it could obtain a Washington permit?), according to ITD public records received by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) on Thursday [3].  It represents the heaviest and longest, climate- and Earth-wrecking, fossil fuel machine to ever cross our region, weighing 1,605,152 pounds and stretching out 441 feet long, 28 feet wide, and 16 feet, 4 inches high.

On Monday afternoon, August 4, one of WIRT’s amazing Montana allies posted a question on the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) website and received this polite and prompt reply: “Thank you for visiting our website and your inquiry concerning Mammoet Company or Bigge Crane and Rigging.  They have been working through the process, and no permits have been issued at this time.”  In his email reply, our friend asked MDT’s Dan Kiely if he could please notify him if MDT grants a permit.  He is also keeping his Flathead Reservation tribal council friends and other neighbors apprised of the situation.  WIRT will issue a report and petition on this issue this week…

Idaho Oil and Gas Rules

Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide harbor myriad concerns about the proposed, draft Idaho oil and gas rules as currently rewritten at four June and July 2014 negotiated rulemaking sessions at the Capitol in Boise.  With the assistance of an attorney, we compiled and submitted extensive comments on these rules, but unfortunately, we did not finish these endeavors in time to share them with all of you to support your comments [4].  As demonstrated by regulator discussion and behavior at these recently-concluded sessions, we believe that state commissions and agencies will largely ignore our requests for stronger IDAPA 20.07.02 rules that could significantly improve protections of Idahoans’ democratic participation, property rights, and air and water quality.  As the Idaho Department of Lands presents these rule changes, governing development of the state’s modest oil and gas play, to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Tuesday, August 5, we assume that decision makers may once again favor industry over the best interests of Idaho citizens.  Although the proposed rules will again undergo (YOUR!) public scrutiny through a hearing and 21-day comment period in early September 2014, we suspect that few citizen-suggested alterations will occur before commission approval and Idaho Legislature consideration and enactment.

Spokane Rising Tide Legislative Candidate

Spokane Rising Tide co-founder and Occupy Spokane activist Ziggy Siegfried, a progressive, socially and environmentally responsible, nominal Democrat, is running for office [5]!  If you live in the sixth legislative district in Spokane, Washington, Monday and Tuesday, August 4 and 5, offer your last opportunities to write-in Ziggy as your Position 2 State Representative and send in your Washington primary election ballot.  Ziggy only needs 400 write-in votes by the August 5 deadline, to qualify for the November general election and win a seat at the Capitol in Olympia.  Last month, the Spokesman-Review reported [6]:

Sixth District’s Representative Holy Faces Write-In Challenger

Democrat Ziggy Siegfried has submitted his candidacy to run as a write-in against incumbent Republican Jeff Holy for Sixth District state representative.

Siegfried was born in Spokane and lived in Seattle for 16 years, before returning to his hometown in 2001.  He does maintenance at the Washington State University Spokane campus, and also does landscaping work.

He has been a longtime activist who was involved in the Occupy Spokane movement, and said he aims to “have a regular working person represent the working people.”

Since Siegfried did not file to run against Holy by the May deadline, only Holy’s name will appear on the primary ballot.  However, if Siegfried, the write-in candidate, gets one percent or more of the primary vote, he will earn a place against Holy on the November ballot.

Siegfried paid a $421 filing fee last month, allowing him to become an official write-in candidate.

Fight or Flight Northern Rockies Tour Workshop (excerpted)

August 4 Climate Justice Forum: Justin Kay of Fight or Flight Tour (excerpted)

[1] Untitled Photo Post (August 2, 2014 Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment)

[2] Evening Report – Tar Sands (August 1, 2014 KRFP Radio Free Moscow)

[3] ITD Highway 95 and 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14 (July 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Comments on Proposed Negotiated Idaho Oil and Gas Rules (August1, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[5] Ziggy Siegfried for Sixth District State Representative (D) (Friends of Ziggy)

[6] Sixth District Senate Campaign Likely Another Expensive Race (July 14, 2014 Spokesman-Review)


Filed under: Newsletters
Categories: Climate Change

Climate Justice Forum: Justin Kay 8-4-14

Sat, 08/02/2014 - 20:30

The Monday, August 4, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide gratefully welcomes Justin Kay of Resistance Ecology, who is co-staging the nationwide Fight or Flight Summer 2014 Tour with The Bunny Alliance and Earth First! Journal, to intensify protests of Delta Airlines and the global Gateway to Hell campaigns to end the transport of animals to labs.  From Lakota territory in South Dakota, Justin will provide tour and campaign updates and talk about a Northern Rockies direct action discussion and workshop hosted by the tour and WIRT in Moscow, Idaho, next Tuesday evening, August 12.  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

ITD Highway 95 & 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 09:33

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will post more of the most pertinent Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) public records about a proposed hydrocracker section transport up U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 200, en route to the Calumet Great Falls, Montana, tar sands refinery, as we scrutinize and sort about 100 documents received on July 31, 2014.  Also see the WIRT facebook site for posted email messages between heavy hauler Bigge Crane and Rigging and ITD.

Bigge Idaho Route Plan Draft 2 (May 29, 2014)

Bigge Transportation Plan – Revision 1 (May 29, 2014)


Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

Port Commission President: Coal Doesn’t Rev Our Engine

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 00:03

Coal is not among the ventures the Port of Lewiston is pursuing as it seeks business for its expanded container dock.

The port has had three or four inquiries about coal in the past 31/2 years, with the most recent arriving sometime in the fall. But Port Commission President Mary Hasenoehrl said the port has never actively sought coal customers.

“The Port of Lewiston is not currently working with anyone regarding coal shipments,” said Port Manager David Doeringsfeld.

Any port along the Snake and Columbia river system has likely handled requests similar to those put to the Port of Lewiston, Doeringsfeld said. Barging coal on the system is an option since coal is being mined in Wyoming and Montana and shipped overseas.

The comments from Hasenoehrl and Doeringsfeld followed a records request by the Lewiston Tribune seeking any documents the port had involving coal from Jan. 1 to July 23.

The port provided an economic impact study about a Port of Morrow coal facility along the Columbia River in Boardman, Ore., the Port of Morrow’s lease option for the operation, a newspaper article about increasing traffic on the Lower Columbia River and a letter from a megaload opponent.

The port held back a business record submitted by a third party that Doeringsfeld said falls within the exemptions permitted by Idaho code.

The document didn’t involve a potential coal deal, Hasenoehrl said.

“I personally would have to take a long hard look at (coal). There’s a lot of downsides to that,” she said.

Dried peas, lentils and garbanzo beans are among the products the port ships in containers and Hasenoehrl said massive coal shipments could interfere with that.

“I have always tried to be an advocate for our agricultural industry in the valley,” she said. “I want to be sure we’re always able to fulfill that mission.”

The lease and the economic impact study are items Doeringsfeld said he requested. The Port of Morrow has an option to lease property to the Coyote Island Terminal. The agreement has a potential value of close to $1 million a year after the first portion of the terminal is ready, said Port of Morrow Manager Gary Neal.

It’s expected to take about a year for the terminal to be constructed and no ground-breaking date is set, Neal said. It will handle 3.5 million metric tons of coal a year in its first phase and 8 million metric tons annually when it reaches full capacity.

The coal will be shipped from Wyoming and Montana on Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks to Spokane, where it will go to Union Pacific lines for the trip to Boardman. At Boardman, it will be loaded onto barges that will go to the Portland, Ore., area where the fuel will be transferred to ocean-going vessels.

“I’m curious to see what bulk pricing is for various commodities shipped on the river system,” Doeringsfeld said when asked about his interest in what was happening at the Port of Morrow.

The Tribune raised the question about coal at a time when the port’s direction is not clear. The port has more than doubled its budget for administrative travel this year to $21,500 so it can market its container dock to suppliers of the North Dakota oil fields.

Many of the materials and equipment used in the oil fields are manufactured in Asia and shipped through the Panama Canal and then Houston. Traveling through the ports of Vancouver, Wash., and Lewiston would save thousands of travel miles.

The Port of Lewiston’s container dock was extended to 270 feet in 2013 – using $2.8 million in port and federal dollars – but has not experienced a significant increase in business since completion of the project. Annual container volume at the port has fallen from a high of 17,611 in 1997 to 4,439 last year.

By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)


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

Emergency Tuesday Meeting, Weekly Thursday WIRT Potlucks, & August Events

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 17:48

WIRT Co-Activists,

Please attend the emergency, potluck, protest-planning meeting at the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) Activists House at 7 pm on Tuesday evening, July 29, instead of on Thursday this week.  Thanks to the vigilance of four WIRT scouts over the last four days, including today (Monday, July 28) at 2 pm, we have obtained photos of Bigge Crane and Rigging crews loading on trailers one of the three Port of Wilma megaloads, a hydrocracker section essential to production expansion of its Great Falls refinery destination [1].  WIRT anticipates that heavy haulers, including prior nemesis Mammoet, may attempt to move the half-million-pound module, via similarly heavy, on-site trailers and three semi-trucks, up Highways 95 and 200 before WIRT receives Idaho Transportation Department public records about the transports, due by Thursday, July 31.  WIRT activists and our community must prepare for this onslaught with more than a sign-waving protest…

With plenty of potential road and rail blockades on the near horizon, Wild Idaho Rising Tide is holding weekly potluck meetings every Tuesday at 7 pm at the WIRT Activists House in Moscow.  Please see the WIRT Events Calendar and recent newsletters posted on the WIRT website, for further information about these topics of upcoming strategizing and planning sessions [2, 3].

* Coordination and tactics for scouting, protesting, monitoring, and solidarity demonstrations against the three Mammoet/Bigge Crane and Rigging-hauled hydrocracker parts embarking in late July/early August from the Port of Wilma via river, rail, and/or road, through Moscow, Spokane, and Sandpoint to Great Falls

* Carpools and registration with the Occupy Spokane Scholarship Fund for the Tuesday through Tuesday, August 5 to 12, sixth annual Northwest Localize This! direct action training camp hosted by Backbone Campaign allies on Vashon Island, Washington

* Local publicity and participation in the 6 pm Tuesday, August 12, Fight or Flight Northern Rockies Tour stop and direct action training workshop co-sponsored by The Bunny Alliance, Earth First! Journal, Resistance Ecology, and WIRT at the Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow

* Regional support and involvement in the Saturday, August 16 coordinated direct actions against coal export, Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports, organized by Idaho and Montana groups in Bozeman, Missoula, Sandpoint, and possibly Spokane, Oregon, and Washington locations

* Travel and local input at the Friday 5 pm to Saturday 8 pm, August 22 and 23 Washington State Oil Train Summit at Evergreen State College in Olympia

* WIRT representation at the Friday through Sunday, August 22 to 24 second Rising Tide Continental Gathering near Whitesburg, Kentucky

* Outreach to college students through WIRT informational booths at annual, early academic year events like the University of Idaho Palousafest Street Fair from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Saturday, August 23, the Lewis-Clark State College Welcome Fair from 10 am to 1:30 pm on Monday, August 25, and the Washington State University Cougs Connect from 11 am to 1:30 pm on Thursday, September 4

* Organization of a co-sponsored, September/October benefit concert for Wild Idaho Rising Tide activists and blockaders, involving one or more bands at a Moscow venue

* Arrangements for the regional Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction- and WIRT-led, Saturday, October 11 Global Frackdown in Boise, Payette County, southwestern Idaho, and/or across the state

* Logistics of other, possible Fall 2014 events: 1) a statewide WIRT and allied Gasland I and II Roadshow and Idaho gas drilling/fracking resistance presentation, 2) Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance direct action training sessions on the Palouse, in Boise, and elsewhere in Idaho, and 3) Continuing gatherings, projects, and coordinated actions among nine Northwest regional Rising Tide groups

* Other organizational goals such as mobilizing our collective and community, establishing and delegating roles and tasks, initiating a regional, awareness- and fund-raising canvass, filling the WIRT Activists House, etc.

Rise up with WIRT again!  THANKS!  Expect a personal invitation phone call soon…

[1] Bigge Loads Calumet Megaload on Trailers 7-28-14 (WIRT/Tom Hansen photos)

[2] Events Calendar (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[3] Newsletters (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)


Filed under: Newsletters
Categories: Climate Change

Bigge Stages the Last Calumet Megaload

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 02:30

Bigge Stages the Last Calumet Megaload 7-24-14 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

On Thursday, July 24, two Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists scouted the Port of Wilma, across the Snake River from Clarkston, Washington, to document with photos and ascertain any changes at the fenced compound where Bigge Crane and Rigging stores the last of three rusty, cylindrical, hydrocracker sections stranded since mid-December 2013.  Participants in the Nez Perce Environmental Summit on Saturday, July 19, discovered the two other, larger, megaload parts vanished, with crews still in the port lot leased by Omega Morgan in late 2013, for its two massive evaporator cargoes [1].  Last observed on short, 12-axle trailers at the port on Tuesday, July 15, the two heavier, missing loads, 573,000 and 661,000 pounds each, likely departed by barge downriver or by train on the Watco Companies Great Northwest Railroad to the Tri-Cities, Washington [2].  According to late-May newspaper articles that suggested megaload rail travel, haulers could have transported the shipments on Schnabel train cars as oncoming traffic to potentially explosive, West Coast-bound, unit “bomb trains” of fracked Bakken shale oil.  The behemoths could currently be moving across eastern Washington and northern Idaho on either Union Pacific or Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail lines to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, then eastward on the BNSF railroad to a spur line heading south from Shelby to the Montana Refining Company in Great Falls.  The hydrocracker column formed by stacking the three purportedly irreducible components upright constitutes equipment essential to tripling Calumet Specialty Products Partners’ refinery production of Alberta tar sands, Bow River crude, and Bakken shale oil.

Activists noticed on July 19 that heavy hauler Bigge had left a white and red crane, a heavy-duty, white semi-truck, a small, orange truck, several flatbed trailers, and some white trailer pieces resembling the steel suspension systems seen around other, huge, fossil fuel contraptions in the region since February 2011.  The San Leandro, California-based company also abandoned the 504,000-pound, lightest, bottom part of the hydrocracker.  Its largest diameter of the three modules may have deterred its passage by train through tunnels, close, two-way tracks, or other rail line impediments, while its weight and length, when combined with interlocked trailers and trucks, could forebode the heaviest and longest megaload to ever traverse rural northern Idaho highway routes.  On Thursday evening, July 24, WIRT comrades saw additional Bigge gear that alerted them to imminent megaload movement, perhaps within a week.  A second, white semi-truck occupied the southwestern corner of the lot, while the orange truck, previously parked next to the hydrocracker piece, sat behind it, attached to the white trailer.  Absent during prior scouting forays, long, dark-blue, trailer sections loomed in front of the module, and a colossal, dark-blue, metal bar on a specialized semi-trailer, like the top of megaload lifts seen at the Ports of Pasco and Umatilla, crowded the eastern pavement outside the fence, along with a uniformed security guard in an older, white and red pickup truck.

This gargantuan vestige of fossil fuel infrastructure, presently assembling its impending threats of environmental and climate chaos at the Port of Wilma, could soon maraud under cover of darkness the Lewiston grade, U.S. Highway 95 through Moscow, the almost two-mile span of Long Bridge to Sandpoint, and the federally designated Pend Oreille Scenic Byway encompassing Idaho Highway 200 to Montana [3].  Wild Idaho Rising Tide anticipates new information about all three megaloads, when the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) transmits public records to WIRT by July 31, after previously and recently violating state laws with non-response to citizen inquiries about these transports.  Meanwhile, WIRT climate justice activists are calling on all comrades, tribal allies, and supporters across the Northwest to remain vigilant of these megaloads on regional rivers, rails, and roads, especially around the Port of Wilma and the railroad funnels in and between Spokane and Sandpoint.  Prepare your spirit of resistance to stand in solidarity with your community and comrades who could risk arrest against these monsters, defending the people, places, and planet harmed by ongoing, senseless addiction to expanding extreme energy extraction and transportation.  ITD and local media will probably provide little advance public notification of megaload launch, as witnessed by the last two transports essentially disappearing unheralded downriver.  Please do all that you can to monitor, report, protest, and halt these intruders of a global, clean energy future.

See you soon in the streets!

[1] Calumet Megaloads Depart the Port of Wilma (July 20, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] WIRT Newsletter: Megaload Movements, Nez Perce Summit, Transportation Board U.S. 95 Tour (July 18, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[3] Pend Oreille Scenic Byway (2014 Federal Highway Administration)


Filed under: Alerts, Mammoet 2014 Megaloads, Photos
Categories: Climate Change

Refinery Says Megaloads to Go by Rail

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 00:13

But Calumet official won’t disclose when heavy machinery will leave Port of Wilma for Montana

Two of the three megaloads bound for a Calumet refinery in Great Falls, Montana, will leave the Port of Wilma by rail, not truck.

Exactly when the shipments will depart the Port of Wilma is not being disclosed, said company spokesman Noel Ryan.

Calumet will provide an update on the Great Falls project, which is doubling the capacity of the refinery, in its quarterly earnings report in early August.  Ryan said the company will not get into the details of how the machinery at the Port of Wilma is being transported.

Ryan’s statements came after days of heavy speculation by megaload opponents that two pieces of the equipment have left the port.  The machinery is so large that it would take up two lanes of highway, if it went by road.

The crude unit and hydrocracker that were taken to the Port of Wilma are key components in the expansion of the refinery, and Ryan said they will separate crude oil into products such as gasoline, diesel, and asphalt.

The equipment was originally scheduled to leave the Port of Wilma by truck and go north on U.S. Highway 95 to Coeur d’Alene, then east into Montana on Interstate 90.

That route was later shifted, with Idaho State Highway 200 near Sandpoint replacing Interstate 90, after concerns emerged that the shipments were too heavy to cross Veterans Memorial Centennial Bridge on Interstate 90, said Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Adam Rush.

“There isn’t a time frame or schedule to issue a permit for the shipments,” Rush said.

Rush referred all other questions about the shipments to Mammoet, a third-party hauler that was going to move the megaloads, and to Bigge Crane, a company that Rush said worked with transportation department staff members on moving the equipment.

Mammoet and Bigge Crane haven’t returned messages left by the Tribune.  Others that might know the whereabouts of the cargo have not returned calls or have declined to comment.

Among them are the Washington State Department of Transportation and The Great Northwest Railroad, which operates the only rail line at the Port of Wilma.

The Tribune has submitted written records requests to transportation departments in Idaho and Washington, seeking additional information.  Neither agency has yet provided documents in response to those queries.

(By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)


Filed under: Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

Support the Land Defenders Arrested on Monday at the Utah Tar Sands!

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 02:00

On Monday, July 21, about 80 climate justice land defenders peacefully expressed their First Amendment right to free speech, by staging a massive direct action at the site of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands strip mine at PR Springs in the Book Cliffs, Utah.  The protest that blocked mining facilities construction culminated a week-long direct action training camp held within two miles of the mine.  Participants of Climate Justice Summer Camp traveled from numerous organizations, states, and sovereign tribal nations to learn direct action skills and build networks.  These inspiring heroes left the comfort of their homes, the company of their families, and the security of their jobs to fight for the future of this beautiful, historical area.

Early in the morning, activists and supporters of Canyon Country Rising Tide, Peaceful Uprising, and Utah Tar Sands Resistance locked themselves to equipment, and a fenced storage cage around it, used to clear-cut and grade an area designated for the tar sands mining company’s processing plant.  Other protesters formed a physical blockade with their bodies, to halt construction work and to protect their locked-down comrades.  They hung and displayed banners off the cage that read: “You Are Trespassing on Ute Land” and “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.”

Various law enforcement agencies arrived with dogs and arrested 13 people for locking to the equipment and cage, and six additional folks for sitting in the road to prevent the removal of those arrested and transported in two police vans to the Uintah County Jail in Vernal, Utah.  Two of the arrested protesters incurred injuries not disclosed by county sheriffs, who took one to a nearby hospital, while the other received medical treatment at the jail.  Among a total of 21 persons held in custody overnight and most of Tuesday, police arrested legal observers, independent media workers, and jail support volunteers, as well as several indigenous and trans individuals, whose safety in jail raised deep concerns.

Another two people sacrificed arrest when they arrived at the Uintah Country Jail to provide support for the land defenders.  An estimated ten armed deputies with police dogs stood outside the jail wearing bullet-proof vests and told people coming to the jail that they were there to deter them.  All 21 arrested have been bailed out and released from the Uinta County Jail, including an Unedited Media representative and Cindy Spoon of Tar Sands Blockade.  But several are facing felonies and urgently need financial support for legal processes.

Please donate to the legal support fund for all of our brave network friends and allies, who put their hearts and bodies on the line to defend the eastern Utah plateau from the first tar sands mine in the United States.  Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Rising Tide North America are accepting donations through The Action Network first link below.  Follow updates on Twitter at #NOTARSANDS and @tarsandsRESIST and @Peace_UP_, and widely share this fundraising request.

Support Utah Land Defenders! (July 21, 2014 Utah Tar Sands Resistance)

Blockade, Lockdown Halts Utah Tar Sands Mine (July 21, 2014 Earth First! Newswire from a Utah Tar Sands Resistance media release)

Urgent Help Needed: Tar Sands Shutdown Ends in Police Brutality, Injuries (July 21, 2014 Earth First! Newswire from Utah Tar Sands Resistance posts)

Tar Sands Shutdown: Support Still Needed for Arrestees as Reports of Police Brutality Surface (July 22, 2014 Earth First! Newswire from Utah Tar Sands Resistance posts, with Democracy Now! coverage at 3:41)

Uintah Deputies Arrest Anti-Tar Sands Activists (July 21, 2014 Salt Lake Tribune front page)

“Twenty-one activists were arrested Monday during a ‘blockade’ of a tar sands company’s construction equipment in eastern Utah, according to anti-tar sands groups who accused Uintah County sheriff’s deputies of ‘brutality.’”

21 Arrested at Tar Sands Site (July 22, 2014 Moab Sun News)

“The protests will continue and, if anything, we feel galvanized in our mission to stop tar sands mining in Utah.”

Thank you!


Filed under: Alerts, Wild Idaho Rising Tide
Categories: Climate Change

Oil and Gas Rulemaking Public Meeting on Tuesday, July 22

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 17:25

In April 2014, the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted to enter into negotiated rulemaking, to improve and clarify the existing Rules Pertaining to Conservation of Crude Oil and Natural Gas, IDAPA 20.07.02.  The commission published a notice of intent about this process in the Idaho Administrative Bulletin on June 4, 2014.  The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) is holding four negotiated rulemaking public meetings in the Idaho Capitol at 8:30 am MDT on June 6 and 18 and on July 2 and 22 [1].  Purportedly state-initiated, but primarily industry-instigated, changes to the rules governing oil and gas development in Idaho are open to oral and written public comments and eventual hearings on the final draft of the proposed rules.  IDL oil and gas program manager Bobby Johnson has managed these rulemaking sessions that have drawn the attendance of agency staff, industry representatives, and stakeholders from Alta Mesa, the Idaho Association of Counties, Idaho Conservation League, IDL, Idaho Department of Water Resources, and Idaho Petroleum Council, and concerned county commissioners, Gem and Payette county residents and landowners, and Boise citizens.

Much that Idahoans cherish is at stake through this rulemaking and associated legislative approval of revised Idaho oil and gas rules and other related laws.  As Gem County activist Joe Morton asserts, the new IDAPA rules and prerogatives advanced by Governor Otter’s appointed Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are eroding, if not eliminating, Idaho private property rights [2].  The state legislature mandated legal clauses proclaiming that the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission shall have “authority over all persons and property, public and private” concerning oil and gas extraction.  Idaho lawmakers also removed local government control of oil and gas exploitation with passage of House Bill 464 in 2012, which states that “No ordinance, resolution, requirement, or standard of a city, county, or political subdivision, except a state agency with authority, shall actually or operationally prohibit the extraction of oil and gas.”  Besides many other troublesome rule changes favoring industry, state agency and commission members are currently displaying corporatism at its best: Writing new IDAPA rules that could force pool 45 percent of non-participating private property owners into relinquishing their rights to minerals taken from under their lands.  Like landowners who do not own their subsurface minerals and accompanying rights in “split estates,” the state of Idaho would allow extraction of oil and gas regardless of property owners wishes.

Citizen comments and threats of protest have already impacted the processes of this second series of Idaho oil and gas rulemaking led by the Idaho Department of Lands.  As individuals or on behalf of grassroots groups, several people sent email messages to IDL’s Bobby Johnson respectfully requesting a minimum two-week extension of the public comment period on the revised rules, prolonged past its conclusion on the same day as the last rulemaking meeting.  The original deadline, during the July and August time when Idahoans typically enjoy distant summer vacations, discouraged opportunities for citizens to thoughtfully consider and immediately respond with detailed comments to oil and gas rule changes implemented during the last rulemaking session.  Moreover, the Idaho legislature will not take any action on the proposed revised rules until next January, a situation that further emphasizes the arbitrary and capricious nature of the comment period deadline for these new oil and gas rules.

As indicated on the Idaho Department of Lands website housing the revised oil and gas rules, a public hearing is also within the possible scope of negotiated rulemaking.  Like WIRT, please call or email IDL oil and gas program manager Bobby Johnson (208-334-0200, brjohnson@idl.idaho.gov) leaving or sending a message asking him when the Idaho Department of Lands will post the final draft of the proposed negotiated rules for public comment, and if and when IDL plans to schedule a public hearing about these revised rules before the next legislative session.  Also inquire about how the public can obtain explanations of anticipated public benefits derived from the rule changes presently being considered.

The July 22, 2014 session agenda concludes with the remarks “Next Steps: Please submit all comments on the draft negotiated rule to the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) by August 1, 2014…Dates for the comment period and public hearing will be identified in Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  IDL’s rulemaking website will also identify this information” [3]  If the responsible agencies do not grant a public hearing and more than a ten-day comment period extension, WIRT and allies are planning “people’s hearings” and protests of oil and gas rule modifications that diminish safe setback distances between public/private structures and oil and gas wells and infrastructure, that undermine citizen and private property rights, and that limit public involvement and oversight of dangerous industry practices, including use of fracking chemicals.  Although very few media and fractivist reports about these meetings have emerged, independent journalists who have been writing about oil and gas issues in Idaho for years will cover the July 22 negotiated rulemaking.

Please plan to attend and participate in the last of four negotiated oil and gas rulemaking sessions at 8:30 am MDT on July 22 in the Lincoln Auditorium at the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho [4].  At these industry-dominated public meetings, Idaho citizens are essentially “at the table” with state regulators and industry representatives, to update rules that govern oil and gas extraction in Idaho.  Strong citizen input is essential to balance public interests and the common good with the mercenary objectives of oil and gas companies and state government.  See the following links to oil and gas rulemaking session agendas, draft revised rules, and citizen comments available on the Idaho Department of Lands website.  Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, with the assistance of Boise attorney Natalie Havlina, will prepare, share, and submit written comments on Idaho oil and gas rules to IDL, while providing more information over the next week to inform and elicit written citizen comments.

[1] Oil and Gas: Rulemaking for IDAPA 20.07.02 Rules Pertaining to Conservation of Crude Oil and Natural Gas (Idaho Department of Lands)

[2] Photos from Jason Casella’s Post in Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction – IRAGE

[3] Idaho Department of Lands – Negotiated Rulemaking IDAPA 20.07.02 Agenda July 22, 2014, 8:30 am MDT (Idaho Department of Lands)

[4] Fracking in Idaho! Negotiated Rule-Making with the Oil and Gas Companies (Ashley Harker facebook event)


Filed under: Alerts, Idaho Fracking
Categories: Climate Change

Calumet Megaloads Depart the Port of Wilma

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 23:23

Calumet Megaloads Depart the Port of Wilma 7-19-14 (July 19, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

According to at least four Saturday, July 19, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) eyewitnesses, two of the three Calumet tar sands refinery hydrocracker sections stranded at the Port of Wilma, Washington, since mid-December 2013 have vanished [1].  During the week of July 20, Bigge Crane and Rigging of San Leandro, California, is likely hauling these megaloads via river, rail, or road, from the port on the Snake River near Clarkston to the Montana Refining Company in Great Falls.  Last observed and described (but not documented with photos?) on short, heavy-duty, 12-axle trailers at the port on Tuesday, July 15, the loads were missing when a Saturday morning scout noticed crews still in the port lot previously leased for storage and staging of Omega Morgan “water filtration units.”  Questions about whether the hydrocracker parts departed by barge or rail downriver still linger, but after only a few days of travel, these megaloads may not have gone far.

In the fenced port compound, Bigge left white trailer pieces resembling the steel suspension systems seen around other huge fossil fuel extraction contraptions in the region since February 2011.  The company also abandoned the half-million-pound, lightest weight piece of the hydrocracker, the bottom part of the column formed by stacking the three components upright.  Its largest diameter, not weight, may have proved the critical factor restricting its passage by train through tunnels, close bi-directional tracks, or other rail line impediments [2].  Megaload owners and haulers cannot further downsize the three rusty, cylindrical sections and, as announced by late-May newspaper accounts, are probably shipping them to a trans-loading facility for transport on Schnabel train cars [3].  They could be moving the megaloads to the Port of Umatilla on the Oregon side of the Columbia River and attempting the previously permitted eastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and western Montana heavy-haul route pummeled by three almost-as-massive Omega Morgan loads last winter, especially while forest fires close eastern Oregon rural routes.

But a stronger possibility, outlined in the June 21, 2014 WIRT newsletter, entails carrying the two heavier loads, 573,000 and 661,000 pounds respectively, west on barges down the Snake River or by train on the Watco Companies Great Northwest Railroad to the Tri-Cities, Washington [4].  As oncoming traffic to the potentially explosive and fragile DOT-111 and DOT-111A oil tank cars of unit “bomb trains” headed from the fracked Bakken shale region to the West Coast, the megaloads could travel north on either the Union Pacific or Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail lines to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, then eastward on the BNSF railroad to a spur line heading south from Shelby to Great Falls, Montana [1, 5].  The remaining 504,000-pound behemoth could soon labor up the Lewiston Grade and U.S. Highway 95 through Moscow and over the two-mile Long Bridge to Sandpoint, Idaho, and Idaho Highway 200 to Montana.

Even stranger occurrences lead WIRT to suspect that tar sands refinery expansion facilitators are transporting these two megaloads by rail.  At 2 am one morning during the dark, new moon phase two weeks ago, a loud train horn awakened residents living along railroad tracks near the Palouse River north of Moscow, where trains have never moved after about 4:30 pm for over ten years.  That night, a train similar to the one that travels empty to Bennett Lumber in Princeton, Idaho, and leaves full of plywood approximately three times per week passed by.  Observers saw a train engine proceeding very slowly and pulling two flat cars carrying between them unseen, enormous cargo, much taller than the engine.  As the train neared a sharp bend in the tracks, it stopped, backed up, and tried to move forward three times, before finally retreating to the west and south of its origin.  A couple of nights before the train incident, nearby residents heard a small drone fly over the same area.

Participants in the Nez Perce Environmental Summit on June 19 discovered these two megaloads disappeared from the Port of Wilma.  Unfortunately, in a room full of Nimiipuu warriors and allies, no one publicly spoke of the threats to people, places, and the planet of these particular monsters crawling through ancestral homelands on routes other than Highway 12 and ultimately tripling Great Falls refinery production of Alberta tar sands, Bow River crude, and Bakken shale oil.  If people across the Northwest are truly intent to halt the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure and subsequent ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos, we must vigilantly keep our eyes and ears open to these megaloads on regional rivers, rails, and roads over the next several days and nights, especially in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and around the railroad funnels in and between Spokane and Sandpoint.  If the gargantuan transports are moving by rail, community and tribal emergency response personnel – but not the public – will receive advance notification of their itinerary.  By road, they travel mostly at night on rural routes and stay parked and guarded during the day.  We need everyone to watch, report to WIRT, and stop these loads, and Great Falls activists to monitor their approach to and arrival at the refinery.

[1] Calumet Megaloads Depart the Port of Wilma 7-19-14 (July 19, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

[2] Mammoet/Perkins MegaLoads (May 21, 2014 Herb Goodwin photos)

[3] Train MegaLoads (July 19, 2014 Herb Goodwin photos)

[4] WIRT Newsletter: Retreating Highway 95 Megaloads, Montana Manufacturers, Idaho Resistance Prevails? (June 21, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[5] North American Crude by Rail (June 2014 Oil Change International)


Filed under: Alerts, Mammoet 2014 Megaloads
Categories: Climate Change

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