Goliath Staggered: Highway 12 Megaloads Book Author Visits Moscow

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Goliath Staggered Flyer Photo

Idaho author Steve Bunk, who covered resistance to the tar sands “megaloads” on Highway 12 for the Missoula-based online journal New West, has written a book called Goliath Staggered: How the People of Highway 12 Conquered Big Oil (New West Books, 2014).  Throughout April, bookstores in Boise, Clarkston, and Moscow, Idaho, and Missoula, Montana, are launching the book, warmly received by regional conservationists.

Mr. Bunk will visit …and BOOKS, too! in Clarkston on Saturday, April 19, at 4 pm and BookPeople of Moscow on Wednesday, April 23, at 7 pm, for book signings and lively discussions about “Why the Megaloads Resistance Matters.”  Highway 12 outdoor travel company ROW Adventures will co-sponsor the Clarkston event at 918 Sixth Street.  Borg Hendrickson and Linwood Laughy, the central figures in Goliath Staggered and the couple who galvanized the Idaho megaload resistance, will join Steve and answer audience questions.

Friends of the Clearwater (FOC) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) are co-sponsoring the Moscow event happening at BookPeople of Moscow, 521 South Main Street.  Both groups have played key roles in the grassroots opposition to oil company attempts to transform Highway 12’s federally protected Wild and Scenic River corridor into a high-and-wide industrial thoroughfare to Alberta tar sands mines.  Helen Yost of WIRT, who leads a continuing campaign against megaloads traveling through the Northwest, and Brett Haverstick of FOC will also address the audience. Continue reading

Northwest Protests of Omega Morgan-Hauled Tar Sands Megaloads

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12 Transports, 39 Direct Confrontations, 52 Arrests, 2 Citations

Megaload One: Full Evaporator

1) Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) & Allied Protest & Monitoring: October 22, 2012 (Lewiston/Highway 12, Idaho)

2) WIRT & Allied Monitoring: October 23, 2012 (Highway 12, Idaho)

Mini-Megaloads Two & Three: Cylinders

WIRT Missed: December 3 & 4, 2012 (Highway 12, Idaho)

Megaload Four: Full Evaporator

3-6) Nez Perce Tribe & Allied Protests: August 5 to 8, 2013 (Highway 12, Idaho) 28 Arrests

7) Northern Rockies Rising Tide & Allied Protest: August 12, 2013 (Reserve Street, Missoula, Montana)

Mini-Megaloads Five to Eight: Dismantled Evaporator Outer Parts

8) WIRT & Allied Protest: October 15, 2013 (Washington Street, Moscow/Highway 95, Idaho)

Megaload Nine: Dismantled Evaporator Core

9) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 10, 2013 (Washington Street, Moscow/Highway 95, Idaho)

10) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 11, 2013 (Sherman Avenue, Coeur d’Alene/Interstate 90, Idaho)

11) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 12, 2013 (Front & Bank Streets, Wallace/Interstate 90, Idaho) Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum 4-21-14


The Monday, April 21, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses the largest ever Highway 95/200 megaloads proposed for a Great Falls tar sands refinery expansion, Rosebud Sioux tribal activism against Keystone XL pipeline megaloads, the Obama administration’s postponement of the Keystone XL permitting decision, and a Boise protest and investigation of Idaho Department of Lands leasing of state lands and minerals rights, even under rivers, for oil and gas exploration and extraction.  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 other continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest & Petition Report


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Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest & Petition 4-17-14 (April 17, 2014, Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, twenty members of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), the Muse Project, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) staged a successful protest of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) auction of oil and gas leases of state rivers, lands, and mineral rights to the highest bidders among two drilling companies [1-4].  Converging at 8:30 am MDT outside the IDL main office in Boise, Idaho, participants arrived with their protest signs, friends, and family members, including an infant and toddler, and their spirit of solidarity with communities devastated by fossil fuels.  Together they sang multiple rounds of the climate activism song Do It Now near the IDL entrance, as five or more news agencies interviewed and filmed the demonstrators, and as bidders, government officials, and their associates hurried inside.

When protesters filed into the building only minutes before the auction began, the receptionist insisted that they could not bring their posters or voices to the auction.  One organizer asked to see the Idaho code that disallowed this practice, and the crowd soon occupied and packed the back of the conference room.  As bids on 150 public tracts started at $1 per acre and ended as high as $505 per acre, some defaulting to Alta Mesa without competitive bidding, the demonstrators held their protest signs, placed them on tables surrounded by bidders, and scrutinized, videotaped, and photographed the proceedings among irritated oil and gas industry representatives.  Immediately after the auction concluded, two activists asked how the public can comment before state auctions on parcels of their lands and minerals planned for fossil fuel development leases.  To expand Idaho citizens’ right to knowledge of these lands as well as more stringent water protections for leased rivers and increased public engagement in leasing processes, they also requested comprehensive maps of the leased parcels and the auction’s list of tracts, leasees, and bids.

As described in a petition addressed to Idaho Governor Butch Otter and signed by hundreds of Idaho citizens, the auction protesters plan to discuss and democratize these processes with the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners at their next regular meeting on May 22, 2014 [5].  They also request independent baseline testing of all bodies of water near state lands and minerals, prior to their inclusion in future state lease auctions, and the open availability of this water quality data to the public.  Additionally, IRAGE, Muse Project, and WIRT activists assert that: Continue reading

Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest, Petition, & Preparatio​n


Smoke Ranch Well 7-9-13

Smoke Ranch Well, Payette County, Idaho 7-9-13 (Alma Hasse photo)

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, beginning at 9:30 am MDT, the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners will offer oil and gas leases of state lands and sub-surface mineral rights for sale to the highest bidder, at the director’s office of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), 300 North Sixth Street, Suite 103, in Boise, Idaho [1]. IDL periodically conducts these public auctions and administers subsequent leases, with oversight and approval by the Land Board. The 12.5-percent royalty derived from extracted oil and gas raises funds from lands held for the public trust and state wildlife and transportation departments and for specified beneficiary institutions through the state endowment trust. Of the 150 tracts in Ada, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties, 36 parcels are located under or adjacent to the Boise and Snake Rivers and many involve the split estates of private landowners and state mineral holders [2].

Minimum, competitive bids by drilling companies at the oral auction open at only $0.25 per acre for the 17,700-plus acres available for leasing. Successful bidders must pay their bid and the first year’s annual rental of $1.00 per acre for leases lasting up to ten years. If the lease is not drilled or productive, IDL assesses an additional drilling penalty of $1.00 per acre per year starting in the sixth year. The state requires a $1,000 bond for exploration on each lease, which increases to $6,000 prior to drilling, in addition to a drilling permit bond issued by the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Before entry on state lands for seismic exploration, the company must acquire an IDL permit costing $100 per mile across contiguous tracts or a minimum of $100 per section.

The last state lands and minerals auction on January 16, 2014, in Boise, Idaho, generated $694,000 in bids for the state of Idaho [3, 4]. The Idaho Department of Lands leased 8,714 acres for oil and gas drilling – including 4,130 acres in and alongside the Boise, Payette, and Snake river beds – for an average of $80 per acre to the lone bidder, Alta Mesa Idaho. The April 17 auction will double this previously largest amount of Idaho public lands and minerals leased in one period, bringing the total to nearly 98,000 state acres, leased for as low as $2.35 per acre on average, besides the thousands more private acres leased in six southwestern counties [5]. Fourteen drilled but capped wells, awaiting pending pipelines and processing infrastructure, have prefaced the first producing well in Idaho in February 2014, on the Teunissen Dairy near New Plymouth. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality found toluene from drilling mud in a water well several hundred feet away in fall 2012 [6].

If the people of Idaho own all of these myriad acres of public trust and endowment trust state lands and minerals auctioned for oil and gas exploitation, which respectively “benefit” the general fund and public schools, how can Idahoans influence and determine how our state stewards these shared resources? Allowing the same agency – the Idaho Department of Lands – to both regulate and lease oil and gas development on state holdings seems like a conflict of interest, especially because the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that oversees industry regulation is politically appointed and receives a 1.5-percent severance tax on oil and gas production for its “responsibility.” At least Idahoans can vote out of office the state’s highest elected officials on the Land Board, for leasing and selling off our precious, impacted lands, resources, and waterways for bargain basement prices.

Because the last five years of frenzied oil and gas rule-making, legislation, drilling, and exploration, centered primarily in Payette County and the Boise halls of government, represent industry’s first forays into Idaho’s still relatively pristine, and thus increasingly valuable, watersheds, the time has now arrived for communities across the state to organize and resist looming drilling, fracking, and acidizing of oil and gas wells. Historic and current fossil fuel development in the state infers that major portions of Idaho are ripe for development and could eventually suffer in the boom-and-bust crosshairs of dirty energy corporations [7]. Please participate in one or hopefully all of these opportunities for citizen protection of our clean air, water, and lands: Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Gary Dorr 4-14-14


The Monday, April 14, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Nez Perce activist Gary Dorr from the South Dakota frontline of the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline path.  A veteran of many of the Moscow and Highway 12 megaload protests of 2011-13, Gary will talk about indigenous resistance to tar sands pipelines and megaloads in the Great Plains, including updates on the ongoing Rosebud Sioux Spirit Camp and Cheyenne River Sioux megaload blockades and the April 26 Reject and Protect demonstration against the KXL, led by Natives and ranchers in Washington DC.  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 dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Thanks for a Successful Third Year & Celebration!


WIRT activists, friends, and supporters,

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) extends our gratitude to everyone who so effectively and passionately organized and participated in our successful Third Annual Celebration and Benefit Concert on Saturday evening, March 29, at the 1912 Center in Moscow. We heartily thank Jeanne McHale, who coordinated musical performers and circulated event flyers in Moscow and Pullman; Erik Jacobson, who created and revised beautiful posters for the occasion; Rob Briggs and Alan Solan, who served as bartenders; Ellen Roskovich, who hauled event materials and washed dishes; and several volunteers who diligently prepared tablecloths and napkins, provided potluck food, cleared tables and chairs, and assisted other arrangements. We greatly appreciate the talented musicians who exuberantly offered all of us an inspiring night of music: the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band, Matti Sand and John Fershee, Zack Degler and Bill Tracy of Mother Yeti, and Henry C and the Willards bandmates Terri Grzebielski, Donna Holmes, Jeanne McHale, Doug Park, Nels Peterson, and Henry Willard. We especially thank the Wine Company of Moscow for donating beer, wine, and a liquor service permit, and these 17 Moscow and Pullman businesses, which generously provided silent auction items together valued at $500.

B&L Bicycles: A bicycle pump

BookPeople of Moscow: A birthday party with pizza, cake, a movie, and reading

Brused Books: One gift certificate

Cowgirl Chocolates: Six assorted chocolate bars

Deadbeat Records: One gift certificate

Glasphemy: Four pairs of decorative Sock It To Me socks

Howard Hughes Video: Two movie rental gift certificates

Hyperspud Sports: A one-watt Luxeon LED flashlight

Maria Maggi: Four hand-painted watercolor greeting cards

Nectar: Dinner for two with an appetizer and two salads, entrees, and dessert

One World Café: Organic Landgrove coffee

Paradise Creek Bicycles: A Camelbak water bottle and a bike tune/rentals coupon

Paradise Creek Brewery: A beer growler, glass, and gift certificate

Patty’s Mexican Kitchen: Two gift certificates

Rico’s Pub: Two gift certificates

RicoShay: A hand-carved, wooden hand statue/cell phone holder

Tye Dye Everything: A tye-dye shirt Continue reading

Mammoet Megaloads/Keystone XL Pipeline Gatherings & Trainings


Mammoet 2014 Routes

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies invite concerned regional citizens to attend four tar sands megaload/pipeline-oriented events planned for this week, between April 2 and 6.  On the evenings of Wednesday, April 2, and Friday, April 4, community organizers with offer presentations and inter-community discussions among Sandpoint and Plummer residents, Coeur d’Alene and Kalispel tribal members, and Moscow climate activists about the three heaviest, longest, and widest megaloads to ever travel on U.S. Highway 95 and either Idaho Highway 200 or Interstate 90 and East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, hauled by Mammoet USA South.**  On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, April 5 and 6, we will provide condensed workshops sharing non-violent direct action skills with people eager to learn about and confront these transports and/or who have signed the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance.  These convergences could feature a regional issue slide show, documentary screening, and/or action-planning conversations, depending on participant interests.

Citizen, Tribal, & Climate Activists Gatherings about Mammoet Megaloads

* Wednesday, April 2, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: East Bonner County Sandpoint Library Rooms 103 & 104, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho

* Friday, April 4, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: Benewah Wellness Center Conference Room B, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho

Direct Action Training Sessions for Mammoet Megaloads/Keystone XL Pipeline

* Saturday, April 5, 12 noon to 4 pm: Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room, 702 East Front Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

* Sunday, April 6, 12 noon to 4 pm: The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho Continue reading

March 2014 Highway 95 Mammoet Megaload Updates


Issue Background

Dutch heavy hauling company Mammoet plans to move three 1.6-million-pound industrial shipments, measuring 441 feet long, 27 feet wide, and 16 feet high, from the Port of Wilma, Washington, near Lewiston, Idaho, to the Calumet-owned Montana Refining Company in Great Falls, Montana [1-4]. At this closest U.S. refinery to Alberta tar sands mining operations, these megaloads would contribute to tripling refinery conversion of 10,000 barrels per day of Canadian tar sands crude into Rockies transportation fuels. These pieces of a desulfurization reactor, a “hydrocracker,” would travel through Moscow, Plummer and Worley on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Reservation, Coeur d’Alene, and perhaps Sandpoint before entering Montana [5, 6]. They would traverse 20th Street in Lewiston to avoid the rock face where Highways 12 and 128 intersect, and would only cross Moscow between 11 pm and 1 am on Sunday through Thursday, requiring removal of street light poles at the Washington Street curve, where the sidewalk would be closed between First and C Streets.

Since first public notice on December 13, 2013 – six weeks after initial Mammoet project proposal to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and after November 26 rejection by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – until late February 2014, Mammoet intended to traverse Highway 95 and Interstate 90, exit at Sherman Avenue, and take East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive for 5.5 miles, to detour around the Veterans Memorial (Bennett Bay) Bridge, a span too tall and long to withstand these megaload weights [7-9]. At an Interstate 90 interchange at the end of the drive near Higgens Point, previously abandoned when the ground collapsed under earth movers during construction, the behemoths would cross under the freeway and mount a temporary, gravel on-ramp between two wetlands. The colossal shipments would access the westbound interstate lanes while traveling east for a short distance, before crossing to the eastbound lanes and over the 1319-foot-long Blue Creek Bay Bridge built in 1951, and then driving off the highway between Pinehurst and Smelterville. Between mid-January and mid-February, the ITD District 1 office in Coeur d’Alene and FHWA personnel in Boise exchanged and revised various documents including a draft environmental evaluation based on a categorical exclusion, per National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements [10, 11]. Without FHWA review and approval of this transportation project, called the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route, Mammoet and ITD could not construct the likely reusable “temporary” Interstate 90 on-ramp, which would accommodate megaload passage while endangering natural resources and public infrastructure.

On February 6, 2014, a day after final ITD documents submittal to FHWA, five regional conservation- and climate change-oriented groups including WIRT co-wrote and sent a letter of concern about these proposed Mammoet megaloads to FHWA, ITD, and other responsible city, county, state, and federal representatives and transportation, wildlife, and environmental agencies [12]. Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, Kootenai Environmental Alliance (KEA), Friends of the Clearwater, and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC) strongly recommended that these agencies “better consider and act to prevent the implications of this proposed Mammoet move and on-ramp construction for air and water quality, wildlife and habitats, the regional environment and inhabitants, and global climate.” The grassroots organizations formally requested that the appropriate cooperating agencies comply with NEPA mandates, extend and expand their project review and public involvement processes and periods, and delay and deny project approval based on further analysis. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Alma Hasse & Tina Fisher 3-31-14


The Monday, March 31, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), from ground-zero of Idaho oil and gas exploration and development, Payette County.  Alma and Tina will provide updates on citizen observations, documentation, and resistance in four counties, Payette County “baseline” water sampling requirements, seismic testing invasions and risks, proposed processing and pipeline facilities, IRAGE water testing outreach, and oil and gas leasing of state lands under rivers.  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 dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.

Mammoet Megaloads Public Records 3-24-14


Selected, incomplete but ongoing posts of 95 public documents belatedly provided by the Idaho Transportation Department District 1 (Coeur d’Alene), in response to Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s third public records request for information and communication about Mammoet USA South’s proposed 2014 transport of three 1.6-million-pound megaloads on U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 or Idaho Highway 200 to a Great Falls, Montana, tar sands refinery tripling its production:

Calumet Refinery CH2M Hill Great Falls Traffic Plan US95 HWY200

CDA Lake Drive Truck Route Draft Environmental Evaluation 1-9-14

FHWA Decision about CDA Temporary Truck Route 2-13-14

FHWA Letter about Mammoet Oversize Loads 11-26-13

Letter from Doug Ball SCRA

Pinehurst to Smelterville Route Revision

Re-Route Shoshone County

Transport Plan 3-18-14