Climate Justice Forum 11-24-14


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

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


Smoke Ranch 1-20 Well View from River

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acoustic Folk Benefit Concert


Acoustic Folk Benefit Concert Flyer

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

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

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

Climate Justice Forum: Lynne Quarmby 11-10-14


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

Climate Justice Forum 11-3-14


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

Climate Justice Forum 10-27-14


The Monday, October 27, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will discuss rail and ship transport of Alberta tar sands and fracked Bakken shale oil across the Northwest, in anticipation of the Tuesday evening, October 28, Spokane public hearing about the draft 2014 Washington Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study report.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show also covers continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.

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


Spokane: Tuesday, October 28, 5 to 10 pm

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

Olympia: Thursday, October 30, 5 to 10 pm

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

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

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

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

Statewide Gas Lease Auction Protests 10-15-14


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

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

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

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

Climate Justice Forum: Alma Hasse 10-20-14


Alma Hasse in Jail

PLEASE CALL IN: 208-892-9200!  The Monday, October 20, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes leading Idaho citizen fractivist and co-founder of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, Alma Hasse.  Alma will share her experiences of her wrongful arrest at an October 9 Payette County planning and zoning meeting approving a natural gas processing plant expansion and her week-long incarceration and hunger strike confined to a holding cell while refusing to participate in the booking process.  She will also discuss the government, industry, and resistance background and implications of oil and gas development for civil liberties and property rights in Idaho.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show also covers continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.