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Wild Idaho Rising Tide
Climate Justice Forum: Lewiston Protest & Hearings on Highway 12 Megaload Rules, Recent & Upcoming WIRT Events, Expanding Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance, & 2013 Nez Perce Megaload Blockade 9-28-16
The Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) shares updates on a September 28 Lewiston protest and statewide hearings on proposed Idaho Transportation Department rules for Highway 12 megaloads, descriptions of recent and upcoming films, rallies, and concerts supporting climate activism across the state, news of Dakota Access pipeline resistance and support in North Dakota and north Idaho, and a WIRT activist recording of the early August 2013 Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) blockade of a tar sands megaload on Highway 12. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Are megaloads preparing to again invade U.S. Highway 12, through the remote Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and the Lochsa-Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor?  On September 7, 2016, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) distributed a media release, read by a Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activist to participants in the #NoDAPL Fundraiser and Rally in Lapwai, Idaho [2, 3]. ITD is proposing new, illegal rules for oversize shipments – megaloads – on Highway 12, seemingly to circumvent ongoing mediation among several parties to a federal lawsuit. In September 2013, in response to this case argued by Advocates for the West for Idaho Rivers United (IRU) and the Nez Perce Tribe against the U.S. Forest Service, a federal district court in Boise issued an injunction blocking any transport wider than 16 feet, longer than 150 feet, and traveling slower than 12 hours on the 100 miles of Highway 12 between Kooskia, Idaho, and the Montana border [4, 5]. ITD’s version of the situation suggests that:
Recent federal litigation raised new considerations for certain oversize vehicles and non-reducible loads traveling through the Nez Perce National Forest (NPNF) on U.S. 12. The federal district court held that the United States Forest Service (USFS) has concurrent jurisdiction of vehicles and loads traveling through the NPNF. The USFS responded and stated it would review all oversize vehicles/loads greater than 16 feet wide and/or 150 feet in length, when such vehicles or loads travel on U.S. 12 between milepost 74 and milepost 174.
While current federal lawsuit litigants have necessarily remained silent about the results of confidential negotiations developing criteria and rules for Highway 12 megaloads over the last three years, the Forest Service has only established interim oversize vehicle definitions, which the proposed ITD rules mimic, not regulations governing their movement. An outsider to mediation talks, ITD is currently rushing the usual, inclusive, rulemaking procedures, contending that IRU, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Forest Service “have no apparent motivation to pursue a resolution in the mediation mentioned above. Thus, a compromise or consensus cannot be reached through negotiation.”  Anxious to devise new Highway 12 megaload rules and lure commenters to its side of this issue, the state transportation agency is perhaps again attempting to gain some legal control over megaload permitting decisions for the stretch of highway requiring U.S. Forest Service approval and consultation with Nez Perce officials. But since U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued the Highway 12 megaload injunction, the state of Idaho lacks both the authority and discretion to allow certain types of shipments through this federally protected Wild and Scenic River corridor managed by the Forest Service, with required tribal and public input, for values generally contrary to massive, industrial equipment traffic.
Because tribal, conservation group, and federal agency representatives still engaged in mediation processes ordered by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cannot talk about this issue, indigenous and grassroots groups and individuals who know the extended history, background, and complex intricacies of the megaload issue must lead this round of resistance. We again call on allies across the region to assert diverse, creative responses seeking to abolish ALL fossil fuel and industrial infrastructure from Highway 12 and beyond, while supporting tribal and non-Native partners in this opposition. Let’s maximize this opportunity to proactively unify our voices: NO MEANS NO to megaloads in Idaho!
Please join strong, statewide protests and sit-ins against proposed ITD rules for Highway 12 megaloads, led by Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) activists between 3 and 6 pm Pacific time/4 and 7 pm Mountain time on Wednesday, September 28, at the Idaho Transportation Department district office at 2600 Frontage Road in Lewiston, Idaho, during ITD’s public hearing presumably only livestreamed/teleconferenced from Boise, rather than from all of the hearing locations at ITD district offices . As the region apparently readies to confront another onslaught of megaloads through the traditional, ancestral lands and waters of the Nimiipuu people, protectors have requested the presence of legal observers and state legislators at these protests. We are encouraging friends across the state to arrive early and sign-up to speak, pack hearing rooms, rally at solidarity actions, reject these premature ITD rules, ask for an extension of the comment period and an expansion of hearing sessions to include impacted communities, and keep ITD officials listening long into the night at ITD headquarters in Boise at 3311 West State Street and at ITD district offices in Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Pocatello, Rigby, and Shoshone concurrently on Wednesday. Moscow-Pullman carpools to Lewiston are departing at 2 pm on Wednesday from the parking lot near the Rosauers sign at 411 North Main Street in Moscow, Idaho.
Bring your family, friends, and protest signs and gather to demonstrate and march in silence, with symbolic gags (black tape over mouths?) signifying grassroots distrust of this public comment period and hearings. These processes not only circumvent federal court-mandated mediation, they omit a public hearing among the most affected people on and around the Nez Perce Reservation, instead of accommodating culturally appropriate, oral testimony in open, supportive, local forums. Unlike the dynamics of most mainstream, anti-fossil fuel campaigns that push for better regulations, many frontline communities encounter barriers to their input on state decisions through written comments. In this proposed rulemaking, the state has not provided any meaningful tribal engagement outside the parameters of a distant public hearing and written/telephoned comments. Lewiston and other protests will highlight the fact that the monetary incentives offered by corporations, to influence the state to allow private contractors to haul industrial equipment to dirty energy extraction projects in the continent’s interior, overshadow the local community’s voice and the potential harms imposed by oversize shipments on the health and safety of water, wildlife, habitats, and people. A replay of past megaload rampages is not an option in Idaho!
Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment invited everyone to a free dinner meeting, to discuss strategies for these megaload hearings and proposed state rules for the transport of oversized loads on Highway 12, through Nez Perce Treaty homelands above the reservation, still essential to traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering practices. Several dozen people participated on Monday evening, September 26, at the Nimiipuu Health Clinic in Lapwai, Idaho.
If you cannot attend these crucial uprisings (because you are fighting on another frontline harassed by a divide-and-conquer, “Just Us” system?), please show your support for ongoing indigenous and allied endeavors to restrict all transports of toxic, hazardous, and volatile chemicals on Highway 12, even commercial semi-trucks not needed for local delivery, as per original agreements with the Nez Perce Tribe. Comment and take action against these ITD rules and at every opportunity to banish megaloads from all Northwest roads, rivers, and rails. See ITD’s U.S. 12 Rulemaking website and send your comments by the end of Friday, September 30, demanding a halt to regional megaload traffic and these ITD rules and requesting expansion of the comment period and hearing sites . Contact Ramon Hobdey-Sanchez by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by mail to Idaho Transportation Department, Attn: Ramon Hobdey-Sanchez, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID 83707, or by phone at 208-334-8810.
Qeci’yew’yew (thanks) to each of you for protesting ITD practices and protecting Nimiipuu homelands!
 Are Megaloads Returning? September 8, 2016 Spokesman-Review
 U.S. 12 Rulemaking, Idaho Transportation Department
 Idaho Administrative Bulletin Volume 16-9, September 7, 2016 Idaho Department of Administration
 Idaho Looks at Updating Megaload Rules of Road, September 8, 2016 Lewiston Tribune
 Why is Idaho Preparing for Phantom Megaloads? September 15, 2016 Lewiston Tribune
 NO Means NO Mega Loads Sit In, September 24, 2016 Clearwater Valley Group Fit
Filed under: Alerts, Megaloads
How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change
#ClimateRevolution Film Explores Community Values
On September 26 and 27, three regional, climate change-concerned groups are hosting public screenings and discussions of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change. In his deeply personal style, the Oscar-nominated director of Gasland, Josh Fox, continues to investigate climate change – one of the greatest threats our planet has experienced. Humanity is facing a difficult period of change; this film explores the values needed to wisely navigate this transition.
Traveling to twelve countries on six continents to witness communities on the frontlines of climate change and to glean insights from dozens of climate heroes featured in this movie, the filmmakers acknowledge that it may be too late to stop some of the worst climate consequences. Throughout its two hours, the documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016 asks, “What is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?”
Co-hosts 350Sandpoint, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC), and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) welcome everyone at these events offering free admission and accepting donations at the door and at group information tables in the lobby. Screenings start at 7 pm on Monday, September 26, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 South Main Street in Moscow, and at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 27, at the Little Panida Theater, 300 North First Avenue in Sandpoint. Conversation after the film will explore audience member reactions, renewable energy transition and climate change challenges in Idaho communities, and local and Northwest participatory movements seeking climate justice and solutions.
People have already significantly warmed the Earth and oceans by one degree Celsius, melting and diminishing frozen glaciers, polar ice caps, and continental ice sheets, and making the atmosphere four percent wetter. In addition to these huge changes, another half degree of warming will likely occur, from carbon dioxide and methane already in the atmosphere. Scientists warn that two degrees Celsius of warming could provoke unstoppable processes that raise sea levels by five to nine meters.
Environmental analyst Lester Brown advises that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2020, to stop Greenland ice sheet melting. But fossil fuel use is actually expanding, and emissions are increasing. In desperate attempts to prolong its reign, the fossil fuel industry is rushing to switch current energy sources from coal to natural gas, via extraction methods like fracking and acidizing, while pushing through thousands of miles of pipelines and oil and gas transfer, storage, and port facilities. The entire natural gas production process, from extraction to delivery, leaks large amounts of its greatest component, methane, a greenhouse gas 86 to 104 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short-term.
Besides fossil fuel combustion, animal agriculture also contributes to climate change, releasing nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unsustainable factory farms use vast quantities of water, and cause much of worldwide deforestation.
For decades, individuals have taken small steps to stop climate change, by consuming less meat and dairy, using alternative and public transportation, implementing energy efficiency, and switching to renewable energy. But as the fossil fuel industry expands, many communities are fighting pipelines, compressor stations, power plants, export terminals, and other development projects. The global struggle against climate change entails thousands of local resistance battles that we all need to win.
With tough times ahead, strong communities are our best assets for overcoming climate change. Friends, families, co-workers, and neighbors gathering to talk, learn, brainstorm, and decide what they can do together to stop fossil fuel infrastructure, develop renewable energy, and deal with drought, floods, and wildfire fosters shared values and builds resilient, more active communities. Engaging group actions bring more tangible benefits for enlightening and broadening communities.
How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change seeks to help citizens work together within their community against dangerous climate change. Through the combination of heartbreak and joy, despair and desire for action that the film inspires, 350Sandpoint, PESC, and WIRT invite participants to activate their moral imaginations, raise their individual voices, and connect with local community groups and the regional climate movement, to create a better world powered by renewable energy, justice, and love.
Filed under: Climate Change, Events
Climate Justice Forum: North Idaho NoDAPL Support & Solidarity Rally Speeches, Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance, Boise Hearing & Protests of Highway 12 Megaload Rules, & Upcoming WIRT Events across Idaho 9-21-16
The Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features recordings and reports of the Moscow and Sandpoint NoDAPL Solidarity Rallies on September 16 and 17, updates on Dakota Access pipeline resistance and support in North Dakota and north Idaho, a Boise hearing and protests of proposed Idaho Transportation Department rules for Highway 12 megaloads, investor lawsuits against the primary oil and gas developer in southwest Idaho, and eight upcoming events across Idaho addressing climate change and activism during the next two weeks. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
In response to requests by indigenous and allied activists at the direct action camps challenging Dakota Access pipeline construction in North Dakota, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) Protecting the Environment, and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition are co-hosting weekend #NoDAPL solidarity rallies in Moscow and Sandpoint, Idaho (see attached event flyers). Join dozens of concerned citizens at the water fountain in Friendship Square at Fourth and Main streets in downtown Moscow at 5 pm on Friday evening, September 16, and near the spray pool in Jeff Jones Downtown Square at Third and Main streets in Sandpoint at 1 pm on Saturday afternoon, September 17. Please bring your signs and banners supporting this pipeline opposition, your reflections on water protection and fossil fuels resistance in the Great Plains and inland Northwest, and your willingness to protest investors proliferating destructive fossil fuel transport. WIRT hopes to provide a more comprehensive report about the situation soon, with information about opportunities to support this historic convergence and campaign. For now, we gratefully anticipate seeing you at these actions in Moscow and Sandpoint this weekend. Thanks!
Filed under: Alerts
Climate Justice Forum: Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance, Solidarity Actions, & Ziggy Siegfried on NoDAPL Camps 9-14-16
The Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features updates on resistance to the Dakota Access fracked Bakken oil pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and indigenous and non-Native allies, news about solidarity actions across the inland Northwest, and a recorded interview with Spokane climate and social justice activist Ziggy Siegfried discussing his experiences at the Standing Rock Sioux pipeline resistance camps. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Climate Justice Forum: Spokane Coal & Oil Train Blockade, Dakota Access Bakken Oil Pipeline Resistance, Max Wilbert Interview about Bellingham Coal Train Blockade 9-7-16
The Wednesday, September 7, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features news about the August 31 Spokane coal and oil train blockade staged by the Raging Grannies and Direct Action Spokane, updates on resistance to the Dakota Access Bakken oil pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, indigenous allies, Bold Iowa, and local landowners, and a recorded interview with Max Wilbert of Deep Green Resistance about the August 27 coal train blockade near Bellingham. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Climate Justice Forum: Lummi Totem Pole Journey, Second Panhandle Paddle, Bellingham Coal Train Bridge Blockade, Standing Rock Sioux Pipeline Resistance, Fracking Wilks Brothers Idaho Land 8-31-16
The Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features descriptions and recordings of the Lummi Totem Pole Journey blessing ceremonies and second Panhandle Paddle kayativist flotilla in Sandpoint on August 28 and updates on a coal train bridge blockade near Bellingham, the Standing Rock Sioux lawsuit and multi-nation indigenous encampment against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, and huge Idaho land acquisitions by the fracking Wilks brothers. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Climate Justice Forum: Indigenous Blockade of Dakota Access Pipeline, Totem Poles & Kayaks Against Fossil Fuels, Rescinded Spokane Fossil Fuel Train Ballot Initiative 8-24-16
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
(Draft) Join in some summer fun on the water and beach to show Big Oil and King Coal and their railroad industry haulers and government facilitators that north Idahoans will not stand for their reckless endangerment of our lives, communities, water, air, and climate with their explosive Alberta tar sands and Bakken crude oil trains and their heavy, dusty Powder River Basin coal cars. Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists, members, and friends in Sandpoint, Moscow, Spokane, and across the interior Northwest are organizing and hosting the second annual Panhandle Paddle at 11 am on Sunday, August 28. We invite everyone to bring their boats of any kind and converge after the Lummi totem pole visit at City Beach Park in Sandpoint, Idaho, for music, speakers, and on- and off-shore protests of Northwest fossil fuel transports and terminals and Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge deterioration, use, and expansion . Please participate in these second Panhandle Paddle activities:
Sign Preparation Party
RSVP and meet at 1 pm on Saturday, August 27, at the WIRT outreach table at the Farmers’ Market at Sandpoint, under the Farmin Park clock, or anytime on Saturday afternoon at the WIRT Sandpoint office at 301 North First Avenue, Suite 209B (above Finan McDonald Clothing Company), in Sandpoint, Idaho. Participants will construct and create huge banners and attractive signs that participants can hoist from watercraft or the beach and that observers can see at great distances.
Palouse Area Carpool
Gather on Sunday, August 28, by 6 am for the totem pole blessing or 8 am for the kayaktivist action, in the parking lot beneath the Rosauers sign at 411 North Main Street in Moscow, Idaho. Panhandle Paddle activists could return to the Palouse region by 3 or 4 pm or later that evening, depending on carpooler arrangements.
Several downtown Sandpoint local businesses can provide rentals of single and tandem/double kayaks, paddle boards, and boats. Please respond to WIRT with your event watercraft rental intentions, so we can cover some of this equipment availability and cost for participants.
* Outdoor Experience, 314 North First Avenue, 208-263-6028, outdooresperience.us
First-come, first served rentals of two single kayaks for two hours ($30) or 24 hours ($45), or of two tandem/double kayaks for two hours ($40) or 24 hours ($55), or of paddle boards for $20 per hour
* Action Water Sports, 100 North First Avenue, 208-255-7100, actionwatersportslessons.com
Reservable rentals of two single kayaks, two tandem/double kayaks, or paddle boards for $20 per hour or for four hours ($50) or for eight hours ($90), provided with brief instructions before departure
Grassroots Climate Activism Support
Can you donate toward watercraft rental fees or offer boats, gear, or supplies for this event? Could you contribute your inspiring words and/or melodies or delicious snacks and beverages? Would you drive enthusiastic Panhandle Paddle participants to Sandpoint? Can your group or organization endorse and/or co-sponsor this demonstration of people power? Please contact WIRT through any of the enclosed channels, to bolster this community event or assist with our collective expenses .
Peruse the following background information about these opportunities and profusely print and post the attached, color, letter-sized Totem Poles & Kayaks Against Fossil Fuels Flyer. We eagerly anticipate sharing these experiences with you and your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, grateful that tribes across the continent are leading the current movement to protect lands and waters for future generations.
Panhandle Paddle Background
Northwesterners have plenty to celebrate about our shared resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure and transportation projects, as dozens of proposals for new and expanded fossil fuel infrastructure falter and fall [3-5]. Only the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export facility proposed for Longview, Washington, remains among six Powder River Basin coal ports once planned for Boardman, Clatskanie, and Coos Bay, Oregon, and Cherry Point and Hoquiam, Washington. Community opposition is mounting against the last of three proposed oil-by-rail terminals on Grays Harbor in Hoquiam and against Shell’s East Gate Rail Project on March Point near Anacortes, Washington, and the mammoth Tesoro-Savage Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal at the Port of Vancouver, Washington.
Only a few weeks after high winds concluding the extreme 2015 fire season scuttled the first Panhandle Paddle, Sandpoint and Spokane area community leaders and activists rejoiced at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) announcement that the corporation intended to postpone its August 2014 plans to build by 2018 a second Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge 50 feet west and parallel to the original, current span . BNSF expected the new steel and concrete structure resembling the existing 1905 choke point trestle, upgraded in 2008-09 (to accommodate fossil fuels rail traffic?), to relieve rail traffic pressure, reduce rail bridge and street crossing delays and blockage, and absorb anticipated growth. But regional residents and intensive Rising Tide group demonstrations expressed concerns that another train bridge would increase railroad traffic and associated accidents that risk and pollute lives, lands, and waters. According to BNSF, economic conditions and overall freight volumes, including noticeable declines in fossil fuel shipments, put bridge construction plans on hold until commodity demands grow.
But in late July 2016, greater urgency emerged in the popular campaign to stop westbound coal and oil train traffic across the Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge. While trainspotting in Sandpoint early on Tuesday, August 2, a WIRT activist noticed bright, noisy BNSF repair vehicles on the tracks around the downtown Bridge Street rail overpass. On the following afternoon, while driving south over the Highway 95 Long Bridge, observers saw two BNSF vehicles on the bridge just west of the overarching trestle section and WIRT outreach table visitors have since reported a barge near the rail bridge. An August 4 Sandpoint Reader article disclosed that an “increase in stalled trains in the last several weeks…[is] a consequence of increased railway repairs and upgrades…Last Thursday, [July 28]…inspection crews found a crack in the rail bridge across Lake Pend Oreille. Repairs require trains to be stacked until early the next morning…for the next few weeks.” 
The recently discovered crack in the 4800-foot-long rail bridge across the fifth deepest lake in the U.S. is not the only dilapidation of Sandpoint area railway infrastructure in the watershed, according to a November 2015 report by Waterkeeper Alliance (including local Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper), Riverkeeper, and ForestEthics (now called Stand):
“On a rail bridge crossing Trestle Creek, a number of concrete supports show signs of deterioration. Trestle Creek, a tributary of Lake Pend Oreille, is best known for its superb bull trout habitat, a threatened species protected by the Endangered Species Act.
A bridge that crosses Sand Creek, a tributary of Lake Pend Oreille and the associated Pend Oreille River, has a foundation that appears slumped and cracked. The Sand Creek Bridge bisects two marinas and is adjacent to the most popular and frequented swim beach on the lake [in downtown Sandpoint].” [8, 9]
Despite the incredible risks that hazardous, climate-wrecking train loads using deteriorating rail infrastructure daily impose on north Idahoans, some elected officials and their constituents dismiss, if not attempt to repress, these citizen concerns. When a local author and historian prompted by WIRT and allies questioned an Idaho Congressional delegate about climate change and Panhandle coal and oil trains during his recent Sandpoint visit, the U.S. Representative denied the human role in climate change. When she “began asking about oil and coal trains passing through Sandpoint, the crowd began to boo her, prompting Labrador to tell them to ‘be respectful of her, even though she has been very rude to me.’” 
Sandpoint Epicenter of Crucial Actions
In the mountain lake valley that unleashed the powerful Lake Missoula glacial flood waters across the Northwest, from northern Idaho through eastern Washington to the Columbia and Willamette River basins, activists could not find a more critical industry bottleneck. In the Idaho Panhandle, all West Coast-bound fossil fuel trains converge and increase risks to rail line communities. Montana Rail Link and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) carry and shed coal along Montana and Idaho Highways 200 and the north shores of Lake Pend Oreille, from the Powder River Basin in northern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. BNSF also hauls volatile, fracked, crude oil close to U.S Highway 2 in Montana and Idaho, from the Bakken shale fields of northwestern North Dakota and northeastern Montana, to Bonners Ferry, 30 miles to the north of Sandpoint. Interweaving and paralleling these BNSF tracks, the Union Pacific Railroad transports equally explosive dilbit (diluted bitumen from tar sands) near U.S. Highway 95, from northern Alberta, over the continental divide (where one of these trains wrecked during winter 2015), across southeastern British Columbia into the United States near Eastport, Idaho, and south through Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint.
All fossil fuel trains traveling across the four-state Northwest to expanding and emerging refineries and export facilities in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon must file through the “Funnel,” the conjunction of these three rail lines in downtown Sandpoint and through Spokane, 75 miles to the southwest. Sandpoint, the Lake Pend Oreille and Dover rail bridges, and downtown Spokane all stand as challenging bottlenecks before dirty energy trains fan out downstream, like the glacial Lake Missoula floods, across the eastern Washington scablands and the Columbia River Gorge.
“Traffic along BNSF’s busy Hi-Line, connecting the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest, and Montana Rail Link trains converge in Sandpoint and cross the single-track bridge east of the U.S. Highway 95 Long Bridge. A train glides across the span about every 30 minutes on average, making it one of the busiest bottlenecks on Northwest rail lines.” 
Among thousands of Panhandle residents who understand and denounce the dangers of extreme energy transport through their cherished places, we together hold the capacity to greet every one of the two dozen weekly coal and oil trains with resistance. Until such diligence arises, WIRT anticipates a mass, bridge-focused, land- and water-based display of regional opposition to dirty energy corporations invading wild and rural lands and waters with their tar sands, oil, and coal exploits and subsequent climate contamination.
 Totem Poles and Kayaks Against Fossil Fuels: Lummi Visit Sandpoint, August 22, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Support WIRT, Wild Idaho Rising Tide EverButton
 The Thin Green Line Is Stopping Coal and Oil in Their Tracks, August 13, 2015 Sightline Institute
 Fossil Fuel Connections, 2015-16 Evergreen State College course: Resource Rebels: Environmental Justice Movements Building Hope
 Only Five Fossil Fuel Proposals Remain, July 12, 2016 Washington Environmental Council
 Plans for Second Rail Bridge across Lake Pend Oreille Put on Hold, September 16, 2015
 BNSF Repairs Underway, August 4, 2016 Sandpoint Reader
 Deadly Crossing: Neglected Bridges and Exploding Oil Trains, November 10, 2015 Waterkeeper Alliance, Riverkeeper, and ForestEthics
 Deadly Crossing: Neglected Bridges and Exploding Oil Trains, June 7, 2016 Waterkeeper Alliance video
 U.S. Representative Labrador Visits Sandpoint, August 18, 2016 Sandpoint Reader
Filed under: Alerts, Coal/Oil Trains/Ports
On Sunday morning, August 28, at 9 am, the Lummi Nation House of Tears carvers are bringing their fourth totem pole to City Beach Park in Sandpoint, Idaho, and at 11 am on the same morning (instead of August 27), north Idaho kayaktivists are launching the second Panhandle Paddle around the Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge. These successive events share the goals of the Lummi Totem Pole Journeys: To “defeat proposed fossil fuel projects, while laying the foundation for a broad-based alliance on future issues of common concern related to fossil fuels and climate change.”
Please join the co-hosts and coordinators of the Totem Pole Journey stop in Sandpoint – Idaho Conservation League, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, and the City of Sandpoint – and other regional groups actively opposing fossil fuel projects, such as 350Sandpoint, Idaho Mythweaver, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and allies, at the paved area behind the snack shack at City Beach Park, 102 Bridge Street in Sandpoint, Idaho .
Welcoming and blessing ceremonies commence at 9 am, with guest speakers from tribes, nongovernmental organizations, and municipalities raising awareness of the impacts of fossil fuels and the necessity of broad citizen opposition. Before group members of this final Lummi tour pack up and haul the totem pole to Missoula, Montana, and ultimately Winnipeg, Manitoba, it will remain on display until 11 am.
The Second Panhandle Paddle will launch an on- and off-shore rally and kayak and boat flotilla from City Beach Park after the Lummi totem pole event, to voyage around the Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge with a recently discovered crack [2, 3]. Physically demonstrating local resistance to coal, shale oil, and tar sands trains traversing north Idaho and the lake, the action organized by WIRT and allies further mobilizes frontline, inland Northwest communities unjustly impacted by the risks and pollution of fossil fuel transports.
Peruse the following background information about these opportunities and profusely print and post the attached, color, letter-sized Totem Poles and Kayaks Against Fossil Fuels Flyer. We eagerly anticipate sharing these experiences with you and your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, grateful that tribes across the continent are leading the current movement to protect lands and waters for future generations.
Lummi Totem Pole Journey Background
The House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation begin a 5,000-mile trip on August 23, traveling across the western United States and Canada with a 22-foot-long totem pole to expand attention and opposition to proposed West Coast fossil fuel terminals, to coal, oil, and tar sands trains, to oil and gas pipelines, and to the accompanying threats to tribal and local communities . The 19-day journey starts in Bellingham, Washington, with events along the way with the Yakama Nation, the Spokane Tribe, and the Cheyenne River Indian Tribe and blessing stops in Vancouver, British Columbia, on August 23 and 24, in Seattle, Longview, Yakama, and Spokane, Washington, on August 25 to 27, in Sandpoint, Idaho, and Missoula, Montana, on August 28, in Edmonton, Alberta, on August 30, in Regina, Saskatchewan, on September 1, at the Cheyenne River, South Dakota, on September 3, and in Yankton, South Dakota, on September 4 . Supporters can follow the trip through the dispatches, notes, essays, photos, and audio and video recordings posted on the website and facebook pages of the Totem Pole Journey by a Lummi elder and crew members working as writers, photographers, social media organizers, and audio/videographers [6, 7].
The western red cedar totem pole, created and donated by master carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation, features a bald eagle on top with wings spread and a medicine wheel on its chest. Progressively lower on the pole, Jewell has handcrafted depictions of a buffalo skull, a wolf and coyote on opposite sides, and an Indian chief in a war bonnet facing and sharing a smoking peace pipe with a medicine man. To bear witness to the need for all peoples to work together for our common humanity and covenant with Mother Earth, this fourth and final totem pole will reach its destination on September 7, at The Place Where the Two Rivers Meet in Winnipeg, Manitoba, home to the largest, urban, indigenous population in Canada and the second largest in the North American. TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, carrying diluted bitumen (tar sands) from Alberta to Winnipeg then on to Quebec and New Brunswick, runs past Shoal Lake, the source of Winnipeg’s drinking water, and poses serious risks to the Anishinaabek Treaty 3 territory and as many as 52 First Nations communities along its length.
Through the last three Totem Pole Journeys, the Lummi Nation has been cultivating and energizing relations across the Northwest and Canada. The first journey in 2013, named Kwel Hoy: We Draw the Line, gifted a sentinel now watching over the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation near Vancouver, British Columbia, as testament to opposition to existing and proposed pipelines in its territory. The 2014 totem pole of the Our Shared Responsibility journey stands among the Beaver Lake Cree Nation severely and adversely impacted by tar sands extraction. In 2015, a totem pole traveled on the Our Sacred Obligation tour and was lifted over the Northern Cheyenne Tribe threatened with coal mining and hauling out of the sacred sites of Otter Creek and the Tongue River in Montana.
Supported by a wide variety of local, regional, and national tribal, environmental, social justice, human rights, and faith groups and communities who provide financial and in-kind services, help organize, and/or participate, the 2016 Totem Pole Journey will continue the legacy of acknowledging, listening to, recording, and sharing the stories of communities along the route transgressed and devastated with impunity by a multitude of fossil fuel projects. From the extraction sites to the pipeline and rail transportation corridors to the coastal storage and Salish Sea tanker traffic of Alberta tar sands, Bakken shale oil, Powder River Basin coal, and widespread fracked gas crossing state and international borders, First Nation and American Indian communities are generally impacted the worst. Post-tour film and slideshow presentations will share responses and reactions to the Totem Pole Journey and the concerns and ideas for allied actions of Native and non-Native frontline communities.
In its most crucial, culminating year, the journey embarks in the wake of the May 9, 2016 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to honor the Lummi Nation request to deny the SSA Marine permit for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal export facility at Xwe’chi’eXen (Cherry Point), near Ferndale and Bellingham, Washington [8, 9]. This historic victory for treaty rights, the Lummi Nation, Northwest tribes, and the entire region affirms that the largest proposed coal export terminal in North America would violate and impact Lummi Nation treaty fishing rights and waters. Although Xwe’chi’eXen is safe for now, dirty energy profiteers and proponents often attempt to circumvent defeats and undermine treaties through legislative initiatives, project relocation, and public relations campaigns.
Thus, the 2016 Totem Pole Journey serves several purposes: 1) Strengthening and expanding alliances and networks of coalition partners among U.S. Northwest and western Canadian tribes, nongovernmental organizations, faith communities, and local leaders opposing fossil fuel infrastructure and addressing climate change, 2) Reaching and educating the largest possible audience and shaping the narrative on these issues, through public events and widely distributed informational material and radio, television, and social media coverage, 3) Promoting voting participation in the months before the U.S. November 2016 election that will directly affect the ultimate outcomes of fossil fuels initiatives, and most significantly, 4) Resisting the recently increased, unprecedented number, threats, risks, and impacts of existing and proposed fossil fuel projects on the environments, life ways, health, safety, and future generations of indigenous and frontline communities.
 Lummi Totem Pole Journey Makes Stop in Sandpoint, Idaho Conservation League
 Totem Poles & Kayaks Against Fossil Fuels: Second Panhandle Paddle, August 22, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Totem Poles & Kayaks Against Fossil Fuels, August 22, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook event
 Press Release: 5,000 Mile Tribal Journey to Oppose Expanding Fossil Fuel Exports from West Coast, August 6, 2016 Our Shared Responsibility: A Totem Pole Journey facebook post
 2016 Totem Pole Journey, May 15, 2016 Lummi Nation Service Organization
 Welcome to the Totem Pole Journey! February 29, 2016 Lummi Nation Sovereignty and Treaty Protection Office
 Our Shared Responsibility: A Totem Pole Journey, Lummi Nation facebook site
 ‘Historic Victory for Treaty Rights’: Northwest Tribes Rejoice as Army Corps Rejects Coal Terminal, May 10, 2016 Indian Country Today
 Army Corps Rejects Permit for Coal Terminal at Cherry Point, May 9, 2016 Bellingham Herald
Filed under: Alerts, Coal/Oil Trains/Ports
Group files lawsuit to stop U.S. 95 realignment over environmentally sensitive area
A group of citizens has filed another lawsuit against the Idaho Transportation Department for its project that aims to realign and expand part of U.S. Highway 95.
The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition alleges the transportation department produced a “deeply flawed” environmental impact statement that downplays or ignores the environmental repercussions of construction planned from Moscow to Thorn Creek Road, according to a 23-page lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Idaho. The lawsuit calls for the withdrawal of the statement and an order prohibiting the project from being implemented.
Steve Flint, a board member for the nonprofit, said the group’s concerns have not been quelled since members last took legal action against the state in 2003.
“One of the biggest concerns is that the eastern route that they proposed is closest to the prairie remnants,” he said.
In March, the Idaho Transportation Board unanimously approved the eastern route alternative for the 6.34-mile stretch of highway, and the formal record of decision was published in April in the Federal Register. The project will expand the highway from two to four lanes, including a 34-foot median and center turn lanes, as well as curbs, gutters and sidewalks at the northern end of the project, just south of Moscow.
The eastern alignment, one of three options considered, is nearest to Paradise Ridge. The area contains some of the last remnants of the Palouse Prairie, Flint said, including the endangered Spalding’s catchfly.
The lawsuit argues environmental damages caused by the eastern route, along with mitigation efforts, have not been adequately analyzed.
The route will influence 3.62 acres of wetlands, according to the lawsuit, which have already been “significantly impacted” by past development.
“Even minor impacts to wetlands can have severe consequences for wildlife and water quality within the region,” according to the lawsuit.
The proposed construction will also reportedly disturb more ground than alternate routes, making “the ground more susceptible to weed invasion which can choke out the native grasses and flowers of the Palouse Prairie remnants,” according to the suit.
Transportation department spokesman Adam Rush said the environmental impact statement was completed with input from multiple sources and takes into consideration the environment, terrain, residences and businesses along the route.
“We do a thorough environmental review when we’re planning our highway projects,” Rush said.
Rush said the state received a copy of the lawsuit Friday.
“We understand that that’s an option that’s open to the public,” Rush said. “… Our goal is to do a thorough job in the planning and development of our projects to answer and address as many concerns as we can.”
The highway realignment project is still on track for construction to begin in fall 2017, Rush said. It is expected to be completed during the summer of 2019.
Rush said safety is the state’s primary objective for every highway project.
“The proposed route is designed to create a new highway section that’s safe,” Rush said.
The lawsuit argues the state has not adequately disclosed predicted traffic collisions, and that the environmental impact statement also fails to consider wildlife-related accidents or the potential effects of adverse weather.
The higher elevation of the eastern route “will result in more snowfall accumulating,” according to the suit, and “marked differences in the amount of fog.” There is “no persuasive evidence that the chosen route will be any safer than any of the alternatives, yet all of those alternatives would cause less environmental harm.”
The suit alleges alternate routes have not been adequately examined, including the central route the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition prefers. The central route utilizes much of the current roadway and is farther west from Paradise Ridge than the eastern route, Flint said.
Flint said the state could have taken steps in recent years to improve the existing roadway, like implementing centerline rumble strips.
“It’s unfortunate they didn’t take some of those kind of actions in the intervening years,” he said. “Nobody’s really pushing for delay.”
(By Chelsea Embree, Lewiston Tribune)
Filed under: Highway 95 Re-Route
Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition wants agencies to choose different route for highway realignment
The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition filed a legal complaint Thursday against the Idaho Transportation Department and the Federal Highway Administration in the Central Division of U.S. District Court for Idaho over their plans for widening U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow.
According to a news release from the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, the 23-page complaint challenges the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision issued for realigning 6.5 miles of the highway from Moscow to Thorncreek Road over Paradise Ridge.
The FHA signed the formal Record of Decision on March 21 authorizing ITD to purchase land and begin construction of the project as early as the fall of 2017.
The FHA and the ITD evaluated other alternatives for highway realignment, including western, central and eastern routes, before choosing the easternmost route after years of an environmental review process, according to information on ITD’s website.
PRDC has said the proposed route would lead to loss of wetlands, remnants of Palouse Prairie, farmland and conservation reserve; and the removal of acres of pine stands and related habitat. It also would cause more noise, have a wider visual effect and it is not the safest route for travel because it is at a higher elevation than other routes and is used by large game for crossing.
Steve Flint, PRDC board member, said the group prefers another, more central route that was evaluated by ITD and FHA because it is farther away from the remnants and requires less excavation. Flint said the central route would stay closer to the existing alignment of U.S. Highway 95.
The eastern alignment will follow existing U.S. Highway 95 from Thorncreek Road north to the top of Reisenauer Hill and then shift to the east and connect back to existing U.S. Highway 95 near the grain elevators south of Moscow, the website said.
Ken Helm, project manager for ITD, said Friday he had not yet received the complaint and was not ready to comment.
(By Garrett Cabeza, Moscow-Pullman Daily News)
Filed under: Highway 95 Re-Route
Climate Justice Forum: Dakota Access Pipeline Indigenous Blockade, Sandpoint Totem Pole & Kayak Event, Rescinded Spokane Train Fine Ballot Measure 8-17-16
The Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features news about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allied indigenous blockade of the Dakota Access oil pipeline at the Sacred Stone Camp in Cannonball, North Dakota, the August 28 Totem Poles and Kayaks against Fossil Fuels event at City Beach Park in Sandpoint, and a recording of public and council member discussion at the August 15 Spokane City Council meeting that rescinded a November 2016 ballot measure to fine each coal and oil train car traversing the city. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
As a reminder of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allied events in August 2016, we invite you and your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to:
The WIRT Sandpoint Office Open House at 7 pm on Wednesday evening, August 17, at 301 North First Avenue, Suite 209B (above Finan McDonald’s), in Sandpoint, Idaho. Please bring your ideas and energies for ongoing and upcoming climate activism in the interior Northwest, enjoy refreshments and camaraderie, and plan for the…
Totem Poles and Kayaks against Fossil Fuels event on Sunday morning, August 28, at City Beach Park, 102 Bridge Street in Sandpoint, Idaho. The welcoming and blessing ceremonies of the Fourth Totem Pole Journey of the Lummi Nation House of Tears Carvers, co-hosted by the City of Sandpoint, Idaho Conservation League, and Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, commence at 9 am with tribal, nongovernmental organization, and city speakers. The recently combined Second Panhandle Paddle action, organized by Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allies, follows at 11 am with music and an on- and off-shore rally against Northwest fossil fuel transports and terminals, launching a kayaktivist flotilla around the Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge from City Beach Park.
Please view and profusely print and post the attached, color, letter-sized Totem Poles & Kayaks Against Fossil Fuels Flyer, while we provide more information about these opportunities during the next few days on the WIRT website and facebook pages. Thanks for your relentless activism!
Filed under: Newsletters
Climate Justice Forum: Lake Pend Oreille Rail Bridge Crack, Indigenous Blockade of Mount Polley Mine, Colorado Oil & Gas Ballot Initiative 8-10-16
The Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features news about a crack in the Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge carrying oil and coal trains, an indigenous blockade of the Imperial Metals mine on the two-year anniversary of the Mount Polley tailings pond spill, the conclusion of negotiated rulemaking for Idaho oil and gas regulations, two Colorado grassroots ballot initiatives asserting local governance and longer setbacks of oil and gas development, and other topics. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Idaho Activists Stage ‘Keep It in the Ground’ Protest of BLM Oil & Gas Lease Auction
Thanks to the 25 protesters of the second Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction of oil and gas leases of public lands and resources in Payette County on Wednesday morning, July 27 [1-5]! Some journeying hundreds of miles across Idaho, enthusiastic participants from five groups – Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Idaho Chapter Sierra Club, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide – met at 8 am MDT near the intersection of West Overland Road and South Vinnell Way in Boise, then held a climate justice rally with signs and banners outside the BLM Idaho State Office. Along with Payette County residents, many of the involved activists have been objecting to oil and gas development in the Treasure Valley since 2010, and confronting previous state and federal oil and gas lease auctions since April 2013. The Boise channel 2 television station, KBOI, sent a cameraman/reporter to the five-group protest of the BLM auction; organizers have requested footage of the resulting brief coverage during the July 27 evening news.
This public demonstration joined similar Keep It in the Ground rallies in Lakewood, Colorado, Reno, Nevada, Roswell, New Mexico, and Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of a growing national movement urging President Obama to expand his climate legacy and stop all new oil and gas leases on public lands, as he did with coal leases. With their peaceful civil disobedience in Boise, concerned Idaho citizens sought to halt the BLM sale of leases on 9,242 acres of Sheep Ridge lands near producing and plugged oil and gas wells around Big Willow Creek, seven miles north of New Plymouth, Idaho . They contributed toward a courageous display of public resistance to Payette County oil and gas invasions, while demanding the end of fossil fuel leases to dangerous extractive industries on federal lands in beautiful Idaho and across the West.
With “soft” cloth signs and banners created to avert the BLM restriction on “hard” protest signs allowed in the building, the protesters were shocked and disappointed to learn during the initial rally that this auction of oil and gas leases of public lands did not welcome the public. The BLM planned to bar citizens from the bidding process in the Sagebrush Conference Room, and had prepared a separate, monitored room for viewing of livestreamed video coverage of the auction. So the protesters circled and organized their tactics on the lawn outside the federal building hosting the BLM, other federal land management agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Most of the protesters who entered the BLM office suite presented photo identification and signed in as visitors of the auction and action. Dozens of them occupied the observation room, while bidders and others arrived in the nearby lobby and signed in to the auction that began at 9 am. A subversive group of auction opponents unfurled their soft signs saying “Keep It in the Ground” and stood together for photos in front of the closed circuit televisions. During the 45-minute auction that concluded with the auctioneer’s quip “Thanks for playing,” the protesters watched and took notes, photos, and videos of the BLM auctioning off eight leases for fossil fuel extraction from thousands of acres of public and private lands, for as little as $2 per acre from only two bidders.
Resisting being shunted to a room for protesters with livestreamed auction videos, two activists endured physical and verbal bullying by Idaho BLM personnel and Homeland Security officers, while they persisted in bringing hard protest signs into the building and seeking admission to the auction room. A particularly aggressive Homeland Security officer initiated close-range shouting matches and roughly pushed on a Boise protester’s body and camera several times, even forcing her backwards through glass doors, and took and folded her protest sign. One female BLM staff member also yelled at the same participant, before emotionally walking out of the building. A Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activist, insisting on her First Amendment rights to carry a “No Oil and Gas on Public Lands” protest sign into the bidding room, registered at 8:50 am as Bidder 3 to “observe and protest a public proceeding,” and received a bidder ID badge and orange paper paddle. After a brief huddle among BLM and security personnel, they allowed hard protest signs and cameras into the lobby and video observation room, and returned the Boise protester’s bent sign. But they continued to physically block Bidder 3’s entrance to the auction until past the start of bidding, citing past, militant, right-wing demonstrations as the basis of their fear and increased security around public actions at federal buildings.
Idaho activists believe that BLM and Homeland Security staff violated these Keep It in the Ground protesters’ U.S. Constitutional First Amendment rights of citizens to free speech as expressed through protest signs. These negligent government stewards stifled one of the public’s last effective recourses to protecting shared federal lands and resources and human and environmental health and safety from looming harms imposed by irresponsible oil and gas industry profiteers. As apparent in a WIRT and other videos of the livestreamed auction, federal officials and police also denied July 27 protesters equal protection of the laws granted by the Fourteenth Amendment, by allowing supportive, non-bidding attendees into the auction room, while discriminating against and blocking opponents from entrance, including one registered bidder . Additionally, uniformed and undercover cops watched protesters on and near the BLM premises for hours before and after the demonstration and perhaps earlier. In Colorado, local and federal police not only physically blocked 300 Keep It in the Ground protesters from building entrance to a BLM oil and gas lease auction, undercover agents also infiltrated and monitored protest planning and onsite staging efforts .
Earnest citizen observers of the auction in Boise speculated about the possibility of collusion and improprieties degrading auction procedures, as they could barely discern oral or physical indications of bids in the auction video. As Bidder 1 in this auction, Payette County landowners the Kauffmans, from whose property drillers recently extracted oil, bought leases on the 400 private acres and 1,059 BLM acres of parcel A for $61 per acre, and on the 320 private acres and 690 BLM acres of parcel C for $106 per acre . Bidder 2, presumably a front company for the Texas-based corporation dominating Idaho oil and gas development since 2012, Alta Mesa, purchased leases on the 440 private acres and 858 BLM acres of parcel B for $100 per acre, on the 998 private acres and 266 BLM acres of parcel D for $4 per acre, and on the 4,052 private acres and 160 BLM acres of parcels E, F, G, and H for $2 per acre.
For the 3,033 acres of Payette County federal public lands leased along with a majority of private acreage on July 27, the Kauffmans spent $137,739 to lease 1,749 BLM acres, and Bidder 2 paid $87,184 to lease 1,284 BLM acres. After the auction, BLM staff and security stealthily escorted bidding and non-bidding participants out a back door, away from protesters. During state negotiated rulemaking sessions in May through July 2016 at the Idaho Capitol, Idaho Department of Lands regulators of oil and gas development activities proposed a new rule enabling oil and gas lease auctions of state lands to be conducted online, perhaps in response to citizen protests . Participants in the July 27 demonstration are continuing reviews and debriefing on the action, recommending more assertive, adaptive tactics, and planning ongoing protests of fossil fuel extraction and transportation throughout Idaho.
North Idaho WIRT activists would appreciate your online or mailed assistance with the $200 expense of traveling 1000-plus miles to participate in this second BLM oil and gas lease auction protest and to monitor Payette County gasland activities on July 27 . On the next morning, Thursday, July 28, while returning from Boise after observing and photographing the bomb train loading facility for Payette County oil and gas condensate in Ontario, Oregon, we encountered a coincidental warning of the dangers of oil and gas development and use in Idaho. A WIRT activist and scores of other travelers were blocked for two and a half hours near Smiths Ferry at Idaho Highway 55 mile marker 98, by a 200-gallon aviation fuel spill onto the roadway, next to the same Payette River that flows not far from uphill Big/Little Willow Creek gas and oil wells, about 75 miles downstream [11-13]. Approximately 20 northbound vehicles ahead at 6:30 am, an Ontario, Oregon teen had rolled a single-axle tanker trailer that disconnected after he overcorrected his pickup truck running off the road. Idaho Transportation Department workers covered the spill with sand, and re-opened the northbound lane: The WIRT vehicle was one of the first dozen to drive over it.
Great Old Broads for Wilderness supports keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Organizer Diane Jones said that, “It is our only chance to keep global temperatures and the Earth’s vital signs from reaching a tipping point. Fossil fuel corporations must not be allowed to shift costs of climate disruption to society, while reaping profits from public lands.”
Casey Mattoon of the Idaho Sierra Club stated that, “Every new lease of public lands for oil and gas development is a step in the wrong direction – We should instead invest in clean, affordable, power resources that we can develop locally. The dozens of activists who showed up demanded that public lands stop being leased for the extraction of fossil fuels, which puts our climate and communities at risk.”
Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability opposed the auction due to the profound risks that exploration, drilling activities, and supporting infrastructure present to the environment, vital water resources, and the health and safety of humans, livestock, and wildlife within the impact areas. Shelley Brock of the group expressed that, “We are deeply concerned that the interests of oil and gas companies are being elevated over the rights and public access of tax-paying hunters, anglers, and recreationists, and that little to no protections are afforded to surface owners whose mortgages, property rights, and property values are threatened by the development of federally held minerals under their homes and farms.”
Helen Yost of Wild Idaho Rising Tide asserted that, “This liquidation of public assets to the fossil fuel industry could contaminate ground and surface water and agricultural lands, release toxic air pollution and greenhouse gases from flaring, venting, and processing, compromise public, wildlife, and environmental health and safety, and ultimately exacerbate ongoing climate chaos that challenges human survival. The BLM should cancel the auction of all public lands for oil and gas leases, and expect increasing citizen resistance to such destructive development schemes.”
 Here’s a News Release from the Protest…, July 27, 2016 Jane Rohling facebook photos
 Keep It in the Ground Idaho BLM Oil & Gas Lease Protest 2 7-27-16, August 3, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook photos
 Groups Protest BLM Oil and Gas Lease in SW Idaho, July 27, 2016 Public News Service
 Keep It in the Ground: Idaho BLM Oil & Gas Lease Protest 2, July 24, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Keep It in the Ground: Idaho BLM Oil & Gas Lease Protest 2, July 24, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook event
 Sheep Ridge Oil and Gas Lease Determination of NEPA Adequacy (DNA), March 21, 2016 Bureau of Land Management Idaho State Office
 At the July 27 BLM Oil and Gas Lease Auction in Boise…, July 30, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook post
 Federal Agents Went Undercover to Spy on Anti-Fracking Movement, Emails Reveal, July 19, 2016 The Intercept
 Idaho Updates Rules for Oil and Gas Leasing, July 18, 2016 Idaho Statesman
 Donate to WIRT, Wild Idaho Rising Tide EverButton
 Teen Pulling Trailer of Aviation Fuel Crashes on Highway 55, July 28, 2016 Idaho Statesman
 200 Gallons of Aviation Fuel Spill in Crash, July 28, 2016 Argus Observer
 Coincidental Warning…, July 29, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook photos
Filed under: Idaho Fracking
Climate Justice Forum: Spokane Ballot Initiative Against Fossil Fuel Trains, Boise BLM Oil & Gas Lease Protest, Six New SW Idaho Solar Farms 8-3-16
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Climate Justice Forum: BLM Spying on Activists, Boise Oil & Gas Lease Protest, & Spokane Ballot on Fossil Fuel Train Fines 7-27-16
Filed under: Climate Justice Forum
Activists Call on the Obama Administration to End Fossil Fuel Leases on Public Lands
On Wednesday, July 27, at 8 am, dozens of activists from five regional conservation and climate activist groups are holding a “Keep It in the Ground” (KING) rally and protest of the second Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and gas lease auction of Payette County federal lands and minerals [1, 2]. At its Idaho State Office in Boise, the BLM plans to offer and sell leases for fossil fuel development on 9,242 acres of Sheep Ridge public lands around the producing and plugged-pending-pipelines oil and gas wells in the Big Willow Creek area seven miles north of New Plymouth [3, 4].
This protest contributes toward a growing, nationwide Keep It in the Ground movement concerned about the climate warming and environmental destruction caused by ongoing fossil fuel extraction and consumption. KING coalition organizations, such as the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and the Sierra Club, are urging President Obama to expand his climate legacy by stopping new oil and gas leases on public lands, just as he did with coal leases. On June 18, 2016, in Yosemite National Park, the president said that the greatest threat to all national parks is climate change.
Groups across the western U.S. are planning similar “Keep It in the Ground” rallies for upcoming lease sales, like the one in Roswell, New Mexico, that the BLM has postponed, and past demonstrations in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Reno, Nevada. The organizations co-sponsoring the rally and protest in Boise on July 27 include Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Idaho Chapter Sierra Club, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT).
Educating the public about and confronting southwest Idaho oil and gas development throughout our five years, WIRT members are grateful and relieved to work with other groups joining the too-few activists under great duress at three previous auctions of public lands and minerals since April 2014 [5-10]. We encourage you to accompany us on the frontlines of public lands liquidation to the oil and gas industry, at this fourth oil and gas lease auction protest in Boise. If you can carpool to and from Boise with other north Idaho activists for this significant demonstration, please contact WIRT by email, phone, or facebook message.
Concerned Idahoans are standing up for their rights on Wednesday, July 27, and telling the BLM that public lands in Idaho are not for sale to dangerous extractive industries overrunning our beautiful state. Bring your soft signs, banners, and enthusiasm, and meet at 8 am MDT at the southwest corner of the Walmart parking lot, close to Burger King, near West Overland Road and South Vinnell Way in Boise.
Participants will cross Vinnell to the BLM Idaho State Office at 1387 South Vinnell Way (on the left, to the south). The oil and gas lease auction in the Sagebrush Conference Room begins at 9 am and will likely conclude by 12 noon. Entering this government building requires presenting photo identification and signing in for the auction (and action!).
On November 20, 2013, the Houston, Texas-based company monopolizing recent Idaho oil and gas development, Alta Mesa, applied to omit BLM lands from a drilling unit in the Little/Big Willow Creek area of Payette County, so it could more rapidly access gas in that unit without the delays of federal environmental review procedures [9, 11]. After years of contention, Alta Mesa signed a communitization agreement for this drilling unit with the BLM on February 3, 2016, and withdrew its federal lands omission application on March 9, 2016, effective March 23, 2016.
The Bureau of Land Management prepared and issued a Determination of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Adequacy and a related environmental review report for its Sheep Ridge oil and gas leases and July 27 auction on March 21, 2016 . But the document discloses that the proposed disposal of public lands and resources does not meet NEPA adequacy requirements.
The owner and/or driller of 16-plus wells in southwest Idaho, Alta Mesa redacted public records released in March 2016 on its Big Willow Creek gas wells that started producing in 2015, likely due to the extended (by law) waiting period for the government then the public to receive this information, respectively six months and one year . The State 1-17 well, first to produce in the Hamilton gas field since March 2014, has apparently not yielded the bonanza anticipated by the state and industry for the young, “tight sandstone,” sedimentary formations under Payette County.
Considering the secrecy surrounding the production records of nearby wells, the low global market price of crude oil, and the North American glut of cheap natural gas, WIRT and allies wonder why a federal public land management agency is hurrying to extract fossil fuels. Preceded by citizen demands for oil and gas industry accountability and local newspaper articles recommending its transparency, “Idaho is bringing in a team from the interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission to audit the Idaho [oil and gas regulatory] program” , and even the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is seeking faster and better production reporting, suppressed over five years by the dominating Alta Mesa interests in industry-friendly legislation and rules .
Are any or all of these entities concerned that Alta Mesa may already be siphoning publicly owned oil and gas from under BLM lands in Payette County? Idahoans and Americans must insist that the BLM keep fossil fuels in the ground, especially since the June 28 confirmation by Alta Mesa that one of its six nearby producing wells – the Kauffman 1-9 well drilled and tested in 2014 – is yielding both crude oil and natural gas . The company collects the oil and higher-value, jet fuel-like, liquid natural gas condensate at the Little Willow gathering facility, trucks it to an Ontario, Oregon rail yard, then sends it by bomb trains to refineries in Salt Lake City and elsewhere. Dry natural gas, the majority of predicted western Treasure Valley production, flows to the Highway 30 processing plant that removes water from gas, to Idaho Power’s Langley Gulch electric power plant opened in summer 2012, and into the interstate Williams pipeline, all near Interstate 84 south of New Plymouth.
The American public owns nearly 650 million acres of federal lands, including national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges that constitute about one third of the United States land area. These places and their fossil fuels are held in trust for the public by the federal government. In September 2015, more than 400 groups and individuals called on President Obama to end federal fossil fuel leasing, and on November 4, 2015, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and others introduced legislation to end new federal fossil fuel leases and to cancel such non-producing leases. Days later, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, saying, “Ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground, rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”
Co-Hosting Group Statements
Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability opposes the precedent-setting July 27 auction of oil and gas leases on BLM land in Payette County for, but not limited to, the following reasons:
* The BLM has closed off access to tax-paying hunters, anglers, and recreationists in the project area on public lands, yet will allow oil and gas companies to explore, drill wells, and build supporting infrastructure instead.
* Little to no protections are afforded to surface owners whose water, air, soil, property rights, property values, mortgages, health, and safety will be threatened by oil and gas exploration and production of federally held minerals under their homes and farms.
* Exploration and drilling activities, which can include potential chemical “treating” and hydraulic fracturing of wells, and equally dangerous, supporting infrastructure all present profound risks to the environment, vital water resources, and the health and safety of livestock and wildlife within the impact area.
Great Old Broads for Wilderness supports keeping fossil fuels in the ground. It is our best chance to keep global temperatures and the Earth’s vital signs from reaching a tipping point. Fossil fuel corporations must not be allowed to shift the costs of climate disruption to society, while reaping profits from public lands.
Idaho Chapter Sierra Club
* The science is clear that the extraction and burning of dirty fuels is threatening our climate, our health, our environment, and our national security. From lung and respiratory illness, to incurable diseases that are predicted to rise due to climate change, to rising sea levels threatening resources and communities, to a rise in humanitarian disasters, we must take immediate action to stop climate change.
* Instead of more fossil fuel extraction, we should be building a 21st century transportation system and investing in the kind of clean energy that will create jobs and infuse new life into our economy.
* As we leave dirty fuels in the ground, we must continue to invest in clean and renewable forms of energy.
* We’ve begun to see the transition to clean and renewable energy for years now. From solar to wind and beyond, we can and must keep improving to protect our climate and prevent the worst effects of climate disruption from occurring. But we cannot do this without a just transition from dirty fuels to clean energy.
* Tens of thousands of Americans work in the fossil fuel industry. We should support these workers who have helped power this country. We must work with them, their unions, and their communities to negotiate a well-planned, fair and just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Working together, we can and must protect their livelihoods. We must make the investments to ensure their communities have plenty of new clean industries that provide family sustaining careers, that they get the training they need to fill those jobs, and that they can support their families in the meantime.
* A just transition also means that the fossil fuel industry is held accountable for cleaning up work sites, so communities are left with usable land and clean water and air.
* This transition will not occur overnight, but keeping dirty fuels in the ground and protecting our public lands and waters to prevent the worst effects of climate change is the right place to start.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
This second instance of the BLM auctioning off and leasing federal public lands and resources in Payette County for corporate oil and gas exploration, extraction, infrastructure, and profit imposes on Treasure Valley residents, Idahoans, and the global community predictable and cumulative impacts. This liquidation of public assets to the fossil fuel industry could contaminate ground and surface water and agricultural lands, release toxic air pollution and greenhouse gases from flaring, venting, and processing, compromise public, wildlife, and environmental health and safety, and ultimately exacerbate ongoing climate chaos that challenges human survival. The BLM should cancel this auction and expect increasing citizen resistance to such destructive development schemes.
 Keep It In The Ground Rally (KING), Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability facebook event
 BLM Oil and Gas Lease Protest, Idaho Chapter Sierra Club
 On July 27, the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM)…, June 1, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook post
 Sheep Ridge Oil and Gas Lease Determination of NEPA Adequacy (DNA), March 21, 2016 U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
 Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest, Petition, and Preparation, April 11, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest and Petition Report, April 17, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protests, October 7, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protests 10-15-14, October 23, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Idaho BLM Oil and Gas Lease Protest, May 26, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 WIRT Newsletter: BLM Oil and Gas Lease Protest Report and Postponed State Auctions, Integration Applications, and WIRT Meetings, July 3, 2015 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 See the Part about Other Note…, May 24, 2016 Jennifer Eisele facebook post
 Public Records Released by Oil and Gas Exploiter Alta Mesa…, June 1, 2016 Wild Idaho Rising Tide facebook post
 Transparency Would Benefit Idaho’s Oil and Gas Industry, and Idahoans, July 7, 2016 Idaho Statesman
 Idaho Officials Want Gas and Oil Production Records Sooner, July 21, 2016 Spokesman-Review
 Idaho Has Become an Oil-Producing State, June 28, 2016 Idaho Statesman
Filed under: Alerts, Idaho Fracking