Sandpoint Stops Oil Trains Week of Action 2015

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Stop Oil Trains

Monday, July 6, marks the second anniversary of the tragic Lac Mégantic, Quebec, oil train catastrophe that killed 47 people in 2013.  Despite dozens of almost as horrifying, fiery disasters over the last two years, the oil industry continues to dramatically expand Alberta tar sands and Bakken crude oil train transport throughout Canada and the United States.  There is no safe way to transport such explosive oil and, with carbon and associated toxic pollution rising, oil trains wreck public and environmental health and safety and the global climate of communities across the continent.

The tragic Lac Mégantic accident grimly reminds us all that Big Oil will stop at nothing to extract, transport, and burn every drop of oil in the ground.  Its primary northern Idaho/eastern Washington haulers, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) carrying fracked Bakken shale oil and Union Pacific Railroad moving Alberta tar sands dilbit through the Sandpoint, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, areas, discount the communities they transgress with hazardous loads.  Recent, industry-friendly, federal regulation revisions will not check their recklessness.  The risks, costs, and millions of lives within the mile-wide, bomb train blast zones along their paths to profit around the Pacific Rim represent only collateral damage to the oil and railroad industries.

In July 2014, thousands of concerned citizens gathered at 63 events for the first Stop Oil Trains Week of Action, including multiple protest and outreach actions in Sandpoint and Spokane [1].  As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies continue to actively oppose Alberta tar sands and Bakken shale oil exploitation and train and pipeline transportation, we refuse to let Big Oil play Russian roulette with our families, friends, homes, businesses, and climate!  On July 6 to 12, 2015, people across North America are defending their communities and climate, to halt extreme energy in its tracks and end the oil and rail industries’ pipeline on wheels [2].  We will call attention to the growing threat of oil trains, as we demonstrate the growing power of our movement, organizing more than 100 events across the U.S. and Canada, which demand an immediate ban on oil trains.

Please join WIRT and allies at local demonstrations during the Stop Oil Trains Week of Action, and/or host or attend an event in your vicinity between July 6 and 12.  Together with climate, environmental, and social justice activists across North America, we are organizing various tactics and resources to stage powerful and effective actions and documenting them with photos, videos, audio, and social media, to defend and protect frontline, rail corridor communities and our shared climate.  Stand with residents of Lac Mégantic and other communities in the crosshairs of Big Oil, to stop oil trains this July, by participating in one or all of these five actions. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Eric De Place 7-6-15


On the July 6 Lac Mégantic bomb train disaster second anniversary, the Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide gratefully welcomes Sightline Institute policy director Eric de Place.  As the keynote speaker of the educational panel presentations and discussions on oil and coal transport and export held in Spokane and Sandpoint on June 23 and 24 and recently throughout the Northwest, Eric will talk about increasing fossil fuel rail traffic and proposals for new and expanding facilities across the region.  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 opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

WIRT Newsletter: BLM Oil & Gas Lease Protest Report & Postponed State Auctions, Integration Applications, & WIRT Meetings


July WIRT Meetings

We have rescheduled the twice-monthly Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) potluck/pizza meetings in July, due to the Fourth of July holiday and July/August WIRT availability in Sandpoint.  Please join WIRT activists at 7 pm next Thursday, July 9, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho, and at 7 pm on Saturday,  July 18, at Second Avenue Pizza, 215 South Second Avenue in Sandpoint, Idaho.  WIRT and allies are scheming multiple summer events expanding the movement against extreme energy, through powerful convergences, training camps, and direct actions for a livable future.  Please visit often the constantly updated Events Calendar on the WIRT website and/or contact WIRT for the descriptions, logistics, carpools, and directions to climate justice activities in the inland Northwest region [1].  Get involved in emerging, grassroots, fossil fuels resistance and solidarity with our comrades across the continent, confronting the root causes of climate change!

State Oil and Gas Lease Auction Postponed (Again)!

Throughout 2015, WIRT has been promising, preparing for, and posting about our planned protest of the next auction of oil and gas leases on state lands and minerals by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL).  The IDL website now notes that “this [July 1] auction has been postponed [for the fourth time this year (January, April, June, and July)!] until the fall of 2015, with an exact date to be determined [October 21, 2015?].  Information on the auction is subject to change.” [2]  Idaho has leased none of its public holdings for oil and gas exploitation this year!

Drilling Unit Integration Applications Stalled!

Another Idaho gasland “set-back” for oil and gas developers Alta Mesa!  The 21-day period for formal public comments and responses from impacted land and minerals owners to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ended on June 29 and 30, for two Alta Mesa Services applications for integration (forced pooling by the state of non-compliant, private, potential oil and gas leasers), dated June 8 and 9.  But according to the Idaho Department of Lands website, “IDL requested additional information from the applicant, and an amended application is expected [3].  The applications posted here are for public informational purposes only and are not being considered by IDL or the Commission at this time.”  Congratulations to our southern Idaho comrades for their great work in holding off the gashole frackers! [4, 5]

Idaho BLM Oil and Gas Lease Protest Report

At a public auction in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday, May 28, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased 6,349 acres in the Little Willow Creek watershed in Payette County for oil and gas exploration drilling [6, 7].  A lone Wild Idaho Rising Tide protester clad in an organizational T-shirt attended the auction, confronting the BLM with every question she could muster, witnessing possibly rigged, procedural discrepancies, and learning that allies had filed complaints of which few people aware [8]. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Coal Exports, Oil Transport, & Solutions Forum 6-29-15


The Monday, June 29, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) airs excerpts from the Coal Exports, Oil Transport, and Solutions Forum held at the Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, on Tuesday, June 23, and video-recorded by Rosie Ennis and Joe Comine of Dancing Crow Media.  We will hear from forum moderator and Center for Justice executive director Rick Eichstaedt, Spokane Tribal air quality coordinator Twa-le Abrahamson, Railroad Workers United steering committee co-chair Jen Wallis, Spokane City Council president Ben Stuckart, and Sierra Club organizing representative Jace Bylenga.  The next Climate Justice Forum, on the July 6 Lac Megantic bomb train disaster second anniversary, will likely host forum keynote speaker and Sightline Institute policy director Eric de Place.  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 opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

2015 Inland Northwest Climate Activist Workshop 1


2015 Inland Northwest Climate Activist Workshop 1

Throughout the summer and fall of 2015, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies are providing workshops on nonviolent direct action, community outreach, and industrial activity monitoring, each with guest trainers.  Various Northwest groups are hosting and/or contributing toward these ongoing trainings, to educate, empower, and mobilize regional residents for upcoming protests of expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in southwest Idaho and dirty energy transportation through northern Idaho and eastern Washington communities, for Washington state and local agency hearings on Northwest coal and oil train terminals, and especially for coordinated, region-wide, Flood the System fall actions.

The first of these training sessions features Matt Landon of Vancouver Action Network in Washington.  Over the last few years, Matt has provided leadership, insights, and guidance among the Northwest community of citizens and activists, through two programs that he has developed, the Listening Project and the Twitter Oil Train Watch.  Through canvassing and other methods, the Listening Project has reached out to thousands of residents of the mile-wide “blast zones” around rail lines carrying volatile Alberta tar sands and Bakken crude oil trains through the Vancouver and Portland, Oregon metropolitan areas.  As reported by widespread, track-side train spotters, the Twitter Oil Train Watch has documented hundreds of dangerous oil trains moving across Washington.  Two significant situations make the techniques learned at this workshop critical components of community knowledge and protection: Every oil train passage increases the risks of devastating derailments, leaks, spills, and fiery explosions, and recently released federal regulations restrict the information about these trains available to the public and emergency responders.

This weekend, please join regional activists at Matt Landon’s Skyped, two-hour workshops in Spokane, Washington, and Sandpoint, Idaho.  Converge at 11 am on Saturday, June 27, in Meeting Room 1B, at the street level of the downtown Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Avenue in Spokane, or at 2:30 pm on Saturday, June 27, in Rooms 103 and 104 of the East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street in Sandpoint.  Do not miss these opportunities to enhance your personal and collective capacity to thwart the fossil fuel onslaught currently rampaging the Northwest, by attending these Inland Northwest Climate Activist Workshops and encouraging your friends, family, and co-workers to participate, and print and post the enclosed, letter-sized, event flyer.  Although event coordinators have worked to minimize workshop expenses, such as facilities rental and trainer and organizer travel, we would greatly appreciate participant donations to offset workshop costs.  WIRT welcomes your questions, suggestions, and discussion about and during these events and your advance confirmation of participation.  Thanks!

Climate Justice Forum: Laura Ackerman 6-22-15


The Monday, June 22, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Laura Ackerman, a nature enthusiast, activist, and organizer for over 20 years, who serves as the oil and coal campaign coordinator for The Lands Council in Spokane, Washington.  Laura will talk about existing and proposed Northwest oil and coal facilities, upcoming public hearing opportunities, and oil train forums occurring in Spokane and Sandpoint, Idaho, this Tuesday and Wednesday, June 23 and 24.  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 opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Rod Tharp 6-15-15


The Monday, June 15, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes climate activist Rod Tharp of the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation Climate Crisis Action Group in Washington, the principle co-organizers of the People’s Climate Action Fleet.  The June 21 water-based direct action against oil bomb trains, on the Salish Sea by the coastal tracks near the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay, is drawing protesters from across Cascadia and worldwide media attention, like recent Arctic oil drilling blockades around Puget Sound.  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 opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Upcoming Summer WIRT & Allied Events


WIRT and allied agents of change, Please plan to participate in the following Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and associated events, and check the WIRT website Events Calendar often, for updates on upcoming happenings.

June/July: Climate Activist Training Workshops (Dates and times to be announced (TBA), Downtown Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Avenue, Spokane, Washington; East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho; The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho; and Main (downtown) Boise Public Library, 715 South Capitol Boulevard, Boise, Idaho

June/July: Ongoing WIRT and allied mobilization of regional residents for 1) an August, Lake Pend Oreille, water-based, mass protest of expansion of rail bridges and fossil fuels train transportation, 2) agency hearings on Northwest oil train terminals, and 3) coordinated, region-wide, #FloodTheSystem, fall actions

JUNE 2015

June 18: WIRT Third Thursday Sandpoint Monthly Meeting and Pizza (Thursday 7 pm, Second Avenue Pizza, 215 South Second Avenue, Sandpoint, Idaho)

June 23: Coal Exports, Oil Transport, and Solutions Forum hosted by Earth Ministry, Gonzaga Environmental Law Caucus, Power Past Coal, Sierra Club, Sightline Institute, Spokane Riverkeeper, Stand Up To Oil, and The Lands Council (Tuesday 7 pm, Gonzaga University School of Law Courtroom, 721 North Cincinnati Street, Spokane, Washington)

June 24: Sandpoint Oil Train Forum, Pipeline on Wheels through North Idaho hosted by the Idaho Conservation League, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, and Sightline Institute (Wednesday 5:30 pm, The Heartwood Center, 515 Oak Street, Sandpoint, Idaho) Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Dirty Energy Resistance 6-8-15


The Monday, June 8, 2015 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses recent and upcoming coal, oil, gas, and tar sands resistance in Canada, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Minnesota, and Texas, and government facilitated, fossil fuel industrial developments.  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 opposition to dirty energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Vote for Rising Tide North America!


Please vote early and often throughout June 2015 for Rising Tide North America (RTNA) to receive tens of thousands of dollars in donations from CREDO Action.  As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and comrades across the continental, grassroots network of volunteer activists organize frontline communities to escalate resistance to the fossil fuel industry and its government facilitators, radical climate justice advocates need your support more than ever.

During November 2013 through October 2014, $1000 in funding from RTNA advanced WIRT collective work against Alberta tar sands and Montana refinery megaloads and Idaho oil and gas extraction.  From eastern Oregon to western Montana, we staged region-wide informational programs like the Gasland 2 Idaho Roadshow, direct action trainings involving the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance, and effective protests from Sun Valley to Sandpoint, Idaho, promoting locally organized confrontations of the root causes of the climate crisis.

Over the last month, Rising Tide chapters and core WIRT activists have blockaded Shell’s Arctic drilling equipment in Bellingham and Seattle and fracking sites in Texas.  For the summer and fall of 2015, we are already planning our largest endeavors yet, listening canvasses and assertive actions along Spokane and Washington rail corridors and on Lake Pend Oreille at Sandpoint, as we #FloodTheSystem of capitalistic, colonial perpetrators of oppression and climate change.

Flood the System

Each month, CREDO asks its members and customers to choose which groups will receive part of their revenue, contributing millions of dollars to a wide range of nonprofits.  As either a CREDO Action member (join by simply signing a petition) or CREDO mobile phone/credit card customer of the progressive communications company, you can provide crucial financial assistance for WIRT and Rising Tide activists.

With every vote for RTNA on CREDO Action’s ballot before the June 30 deadline, WIRT and our colleagues receive a larger percentage of this month’s CREDO funds.  So please share this request with your friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers and vote for Rising Tide at Credo Donations!  In sincere solidarity and appreciation for your activism and support…