Guided Wildflower Hike on Paradise Ridge

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To avert potential damages to fragile, remnant Palouse Prairie during this outing, the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) is limiting participation in a guided wildflower hike on Paradise Ridge to PRDC members and member organizations (Palouse Audubon Society, Palouse Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide).  Please meet at 1:30 pm on Sunday, May 31, at the University of Idaho Arboretum parking lot off Palouse River Drive, west of Highway 95 in Moscow, Idaho.  Attendees will carpool to the starting point for a hike to the top of Paradise Ridge, where we will visit the best sites of the last one percent of original Palouse Prairie.  Wear good walking/hiking shoes and bring a water bottle.  Event coordinators plan to offer plenty of opportunities for questions during the event lasting 2 1/2 to 3 hours, including travel time.  PRDC board members invite you to join as a member and a Sunday hike participant!

Idaho BLM Oil & Gas Lease Protest

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Proposed BLM Oil & Gas Protective Leasing Area

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allied activists plan to protest the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oral auction and sale of leases of public oil and gas and minerals in the Little Willow Creek watershed six miles east of Payette, Idaho [1].  Managing 700 million acres of sub-surface minerals and more acreage (245 million) than any other federal agency, mostly in the western U.S. and Alaska, the BLM operates under the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Its Idaho State Office, at 1387 South Vinnell Way in Boise, will open registration to the public and prospective buyers at 7:45 am on Thursday and will begin the auction at 9 am in the Sagebrush Conference Room, offering five parcels totaling 6,475 acres for minimum lease bids of $2 per acre, following the national standard.  According to a map of the BLM proposed Little Willow Creek oil and gas leasing area, only one of the smaller parcels is available for oil and gas development, while the majority of the tracts could provide opportunities for private extraction of all federal minerals present [2].

Although the BLM asserts that this lease sale would “prevent federally owned oil and gas from being drained without compensation to the United States in the form of royalties,” “by law the Bureau of Land Management cannot auction off public lands to the oil and gas industry unless drainage is actually occurring” [2, 3].  For years, the primary architect of recent oil and gas wells, a processing plant expanded before completion, and gathering lines connecting all of this Payette County infrastructure, Alta Mesa Idaho (AMI) has pressured the BLM to open its public resources to its pursuits.  AMI’s environmentally, socially, and financially irresponsible onslaught of development has begrudged mandated, protracted, public review of BLM leasing proposals within the context of broader federal regulations, significantly more stringent that state oversight.  The Boise-based BLM Four Rivers Field Office confirmed in April 2015 that “no surface occupancy and no subsurface occupancy will be permitted until the Four Rivers Resource Management Plan is completed, which is scheduled for 2016” [1]. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Bellingham & Boise Protests 5-25-15


The Monday, May 25, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses upcoming protests of oil and gas lease auctions in Boise, the Bellingham barge lock-down in defiance of Arctic oil drilling, and issue developments concerning coal, oil, and tar sands train traffic across the Northwest.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Herb Goodwin 5-18-15


Herb Goodwin & Seattle area kayaktivists (Katie Herzog photo)

Herb Goodwin & Seattle area kayaktivists (Katie Herzog photo)

The Monday, May 18, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes core WIRT activist Herb Goodwin of Bellingham discussing Seattle and Bellingham, land- and water-based, hundreds-strong protests of Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling equipment mooring and embarking from the Salish Sea this month.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Highway 95 Realignment Debate Continues


If built on the eastern route referred to as E-2, a new section of U.S. Highway 95 would start near this cell tower, travel north through a grove of trees, and continue across this grassland (Geoff Crimmins /Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo).

If built on the eastern route referred to as E-2, a new section of U.S. Highway 95 would start near this cell tower, travel north through a grove of trees, and continue across this grassland (Geoff Crimmins /Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo).

The scene to the west of U.S. Highway 95 – and its three proposed realignment route choices – is breathtaking from Paradise Ridge, with rolling green meadows and the occasional picturesque structure in spacious rural settings.

The existing highway is off in the distance and only takes up a small section of the view as cars and trucks appear to be rolling specks. But look down at the knoll underfoot and prairie flowers – iris, camas, lupine, groundsel, lomatium, prairie smoke and arrow leaf balsamroot within other native plants, invasive weeds and planted grass – pop up here and there.

Thin, long deer trails also run through the grass.

Steve and Mary Ullrich, both members of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, live nearby the section of the ridge, where they marked a site with a long line of red balloons stretching about 600 feet. The section is one where plenty of animals roam and some ponds are on the far side of the balloons.

The balloons marked the approximate width and location where the highway realignment preferred by the Idaho Department of Transportation would run. ITD refers to it as E-2. That plan and the other two options, C-3 and W-4, will improve 6 1/2 miles of the highway running south from Moscow to Thorncreek Road.

Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Zarna Joshi 5-11-15


The Monday, May 11, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Rising Tide Seattle climate activist Zarna Joshi discussing Northwestern resistance to Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling equipment docking for maintenance and embarking from the Salish Sea.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Tom Bitterwolf Lecture 5-4-15


The Monday, May 4, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses recent earthquakes under and around Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho and upcoming protests of oil and gas lease auctions in Boise, coal, oil, and tar sands train traffic along the Salish Sea, and Arctic drilling by Shell Oil embarking from Seattle and Bellingham.  We also air Dr. Tom Bitterwolf’s April 24 lecture in Moscow, Idaho, entitled The Science of Climate Change, Future Projections, and the Global Response.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to fossil fuel development projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Floundering Fracking, Smoking Siberia, & Advancing Activism 4-27-15


The Monday, April 27, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses upcoming events, the bleak future of fracking, victories against fossil fuel development and investment around the globe, climate-kindled tundra fires in Siberia, and concerned citizen actions against coal, natural gas, oil, and tar sands exploitation across the continent.  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 climate activism and community resistance to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Mary & Steve Ullrich 4-20-15


The Monday, April 20 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Mary and Steve Ullrich, board members of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition.  Mary and Steve discuss the latest updates and current status of the Idaho Transportation Department proposal, federal review, and regional opposition to U.S. Highway 95 realignment and expansion between Thorn Creek Road and Moscow.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community resistance to dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Group Seeks Different Bend for U.S. 95


Fight against state’s route for wider road south of Moscow reaching critical point

About 50 people attending the annual meeting of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition on Thursday night focused on how to stop the Idaho Transportation Department from carrying out its preferred plan to realign and widen U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow to Thorncreek Road.

The coalition is vehemently opposed to the plan that would use a 6 1/2-mile route referred to as “E-2.”

Several key members of the coalition set up displays in a meeting room of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse in Moscow, and fielded questions about topics such as recreation, area history, and numerous environmental characteristics of the location.

Coalition member Steve Flint talked about safety issues in areas surrounding E-2 that don’t seem to be adequately addressed: potential for more collisions with big game, weather-related accidents because of heavier snowfall in that area, and continued accidents on the portion of U.S. 95 that would become a county road. Continue reading