Alta Mesa Services (AMS) plans to drill a natural gas well within the extensive wetlands and floodplain confluence of the Payette River and Big Willow Creek, among units of the Payette River Wildlife Management Area and traditional lands of the Lenni-Lenape tribe, only a few miles upriver from the City of Fruitland water supply intake and the Payette/Snake River convergence, along Highway 52 near New Plymouth and Fruitland, Idaho. Although AMS could start site preparation on May 25, comments about this drilling application for the first potentially fracked well in Idaho are due to the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) by May 30 (email@example.com). Wild Idaho Rising Tide and our allies are instigating resistance to this risky, industrial use of Idaho state lands and waters, by coordinating protests at IDL offices across the state during the Stop the Frack Attack Week of Action on June 3 to 9. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org, 208-301-8039) if you and your friends can demonstrate in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Deary, Idaho Falls, Kamiah, McCall, Orofino, Priest Lake, St. Maries, and/or Sandpoint.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition are coordinating a carpool/caravan to Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta, Canada, to join with First Nations elders, indigenous residents, grassroots allies, and anti-tar sands activists from across the continent and world in the Fourth Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk on Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6. The Second Tar Sands Solidarity Journey will tentatively depart Moscow, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, just before the Fourth of July weekend, on Wednesday morning, July 3, and return on Tuesday afternoon, July 9. This life-changing, week-long adventure offers opportunities to inexpensively provide and share food, fuel, equipment, and fees for a summer camping trip to and from the largest industrial project on Earth.
Event coordinators enthusiastically invite regional community involvement in the solidarity journey, healing walk, and a local planning meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday, May 28, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow. Organizers also welcome ideas for and co-leadership of actions in the interior Northwest concurrent with the healing walk, such as Native drum circles or other demonstrations of solidarity. For further information, please visit the enclosed websites and contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide at email@example.com or 208-301-8039 and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-339-5213, with your questions, suggestions, comments, and RSVP. Continue reading
On Friday, March 1, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) allowed a 129-foot long, 16-foot wide, 177,500-pound transport hauled by Mullen Trucking to travel west on U.S. Highway 12 from Montana between 10 pm and 5 am. ITD inexplicably permitted this load without full advance public disclosure, as requested by our allies, by sending the associated announcement to area media outlets after 5 pm on Friday. The state agency obviously compromised the safety and convenience of the traveling public, which it is mandated to uphold, by releasing this information to the press so late and thus facilitating probable traffic delays and confusion caused by the megaload.
If road and weather conditions favor travel tonight, March 4, MAK Transportation of British Columbia (http://www.maktransportation.com/) will move another mammoth shipment east on U.S. Highway 12, from the Port of Lewiston toward Montana, between 10 pm and 5:30 am. Of unknown weight, ownership, and destination, the transport measures 85 feet long and 17 feet wide and tall. Three flagging teams and escort vehicles will accompany the shipment to alert other drivers of the over-width load and to limit delays of other Highway 12 traffic to under 15 minutes, as the convoy uses identified turnouts. Continue reading
Urgent Alert and Update:
[The contracted hauler Mammoet is transporting two ConocoPhillips wastewater evaporators manufactured in Newburg, Oregon, to northern Alberta tar sands operations via Highway 12 in Idaho starting Wednesday night, January 30. Each megaload weighing 255,600 pounds and measuring 20 feet tall, 16 feet wide, and 141 feet long will depart the Port of Wilma, across the river from Clarkston, Washington, on separate nights and travel as far as possible toward the Montana border between 10 pm and 5:30 am, depending on road and weather conditions. The Idaho Transportation has not announced when the second load will similarly ravage Nez Perce lands, the Middle Fork Clearwater/Lochsa wild and scenic river corridor, area highways, and traveler safety. Two pilot vehicles and flagging teams will accompany both shipments and limit traffic delays to less than 15 minutes.
On Wednesday and successive evenings, January 30 and beyond, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) monitoring and protesting carpools provisioned with video and still cameras, audio recorders, and notebooks will converge at 9 pm at the corner of Second and Washington Streets in Moscow, to demonstrate our megaload opposition at 10 pm along Idaho Highway 128 near Lewiston. Citizen monitors will then follow each shipment to their stop-over point, likely near Kooskia, where they will park during the day. Because Mammoet’s transportation plan prohibits these transports from delaying other highway vehicles for more than 15 minutes before pulling over to let traffic pass, we intend to also scrutinize their every move on their second nights traveling toward milepost 139 east of Lowell, and on their third nights in Idaho, struggling over the Bitterroot crest and the Idaho/Montana state line, toward the Lolo scale in Montana. All of our plans are subject to the constantly changing dynamics of weather and terrain. For more information and to RSVP as a megaload monitor and protester, contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide at email@example.com, through facebook, at the WIRT Activist House between noon and 8 pm daily, and/or at 208-301-8039.] Continue reading
On November 26, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) approved a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and technical reports on three alternatives for proposed realignment of U.S. Highway 95 between Thorn Creek Road and Moscow. It published the DEIS in early January 2013 and scheduled a public information/comment hearing between 2 and 8:30 pm on Wednesday, January 23, at the Best Western University Inn, 1516 Pullman Road in Moscow, and a public comment period ending on February 23. Of the three DEIS alternatives of 11 options considered by ITD – an eastern route climbing the western shoulder of scenic Paradise Ridge (E2), a central corridor realigning the middle section of the present 6.5-mile stretch of road (C3), and a western, longer route veering close to Washington (W4) – the ITD-preferred eastern alternative shifts the highway up 400 to 500 feet in elevation and 2,000 feet east, between the Primeland Cooperative grain elevators south of Moscow and the top of Reisenauer Hill.
This E2 route in the recently released DEIS mirrors alternative 10A in a previous environmental assessment (EA) of Highway 95 re-construction plans. That 2002 version provoked regional citizen concerns for climate-related highway traveler safety, urban sprawl, area aesthetics, wetland preservation, and protection of rare remnants of native Palouse Prairie habitat and wildlife. The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) emerged and, along with the Palouse Group of the Sierra Club and the Idaho Conservation League, successfully challenged the EA, secured a 2003 injunction from U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, and forced ITD to complete the current DEIS review process mandated for all federal highway redesign projects that widen or re-route roadbeds.
A reactivated group of prior and new PRDC members have identified many potential environmental, economic, and social consequences of the purportedly shorter, faster, and safer eastern realignment of Highway 95. Besides the same ongoing objections, they note that the DEIS E2 alternative would impose the greatest detrimental effects on pine stands, ungulate (deer, moose) conservation and collisions, endangered species, and ecosystem restoration. It would also create more stream tributary crossings, impervious surfaces, and pollution runoff and challenge flood control. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have strongly recommended against this eastern Highway 95 corridor, likely advanced by ITD to accommodate international industrial traffic like tar sands megaloads. Continue reading
As the environmental impact statement (EIS) scoping period for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, Washington, draws to a close on January 21, and public comments on the Coyote Island Terminal in Boardman, Oregon, are long past due, federal, state, and county decision makers never provided public hearings in Idaho and Montana or a mine-to-port regional programmatic environmental analysis. Nonetheless, residents of the comparatively rural inland Northwest, especially near Powder River Basin coal strip mines and train routes through Montana population centers and along the railroad funnel between Sandpoint, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, will bear most of the adverse risks and consequences of domestic coal export to Asia, while Ambre Energy, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, SSA Marine, and other giant coal companies reap billions of dollars in profit on up to 160 million tons of coal per year, at taxpayers’ expense.
Pillaged public investments would support the required infrastructure and mitigate the predictable damages of this corporate onslaught. Each of the 40 to 60 additional coal trains per day, 1.5 miles long with their 125 cars, would spew toxic coal dust, diesel fumes, occasionally derailed loads, and incessant noise, disrupt local transportation, businesses, emergency responses, and economies, and degrade air and water quality, human and wildlife health, property values, and regional identity. Five proposed West Coast and Columbia River terminals with huge, open-air coal heaps, river barges through endangered species critical habitat, and over 950 immense, ocean-going, coal ships per year, crowding oil tankers through the tangled Salish Sea to Asian markets for combustion, would further compromise aquatic ecosystems and inhabitants and significantly exacerbate pollution and global climate change.
Between January 11 and 20, 2013, Blue Skies Campaign, Occupy Spokane, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide are staging four or more coal export solidarity actions at train track/roadside intersections in Moscow and Sandpoint, Idaho, Missoula and other cities across Montana, and Spokane, Washington. But we need your help to powerfully demonstrate our collective regional resistance to coal export schemes perpetrated by industry and government. Tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Surface Transportation Board, state and county regulatory agencies, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, not to mention the world’s largest private coal companies, that Northwesterners will not tolerate their dismissal of community concerns and environmental wellbeing so apparent in their purported public participation processes and mercenary ventures. Continue reading
URGENT ALERT: We just received notice (at 6:30 pm!) from the Idaho Transportation Department that Mullen Trucking is moving a megaload on Highway 12 tonight (Thursday, January 3). Please see the following, previous description and meet at 9 pm at the corner of Second and Washington Streets in Moscow to monitor and protest this likely Alberta-bound shipment! Call 208-301-8039 for carpool arrangements to Lewiston…
Displaying its usual disregard for traveler safety over a holiday weekend and dangerous winter weather conditions, the Idaho Transportation Department has issued yet another permit for an oversized shipment on U.S. Highway 12 on Thursday night, January 3. A 163-foot-long truck will transport a generator skid from the Port of Lewiston across Idaho to the Montana border and likely to Alberta between 10 pm on Thursday and 5:30 am on Friday. The almost 17-foot tall, 243,000-pound shipment will crowd tight road curves and narrow two lanes with its 15 foot width, and will delay traffic on U.S. Highway 95 as it travels in the wrong direction near the Spalding bridge. Continue reading
If volatile, climate changed weather does not mercifully impede passage to Alberta tar sands operations, two more Sunshine Oilsands wastewater evaporators could traverse U.S. Highway 12 between 10 pm and 5:30 am next Monday and Tuesday night, December 3 and 4. The Idaho Transportation Department in Boise issued permits on Friday afternoon, November 30, allowing Omega Morgan to haul both over-legal equipment shipments weighing 80,000 pounds and measuring up to 53 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 21 feet tall. Moving at close to normal speeds, each eastbound megaload could cross Idaho separately in one night, from the Port of Wilma in Clarkston, Washington, along Idaho Route 128 and Highway 12, to Lolo Pass on the Montana border. Three flagging teams and pilot vehicles and two trucks with portable signs (but no ambulance) will travel with each module and escort traffic around the convoy at pre-identified pull-offs, as required by the Omega Morgan transportation plan that limits traffic delays to less than 15 minutes. Continue reading
Since spring 2010, frontline Northwest activists have been resisting tar sands transportation projects and associated police states in our communities and on our roads, through six court cases, a dozen arrests, and over 50 direct actions. Residents of Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho, Spokane, Washington, Missoula, Montana, and regional rural enclaves have defended our wild places, home towns, and public roadways from the climate-wrecking, industrial ravages of “megaload” equipment transported for ExxonMobil, Weyerhaeuser, and other undisclosed corporations to Alberta destinations and tar sands operations. Our monitoring, protesting, and litigating activities have challenged, stalled, diverted, blockaded, frustrated, cost millions, and forced some of the biggest, wealthiest, most powerful dirty energy purveyors on Earth to boost their security, pay our state, county, and city police officers as escorts, guard their unoccupied stopover and port spaces, dismantle their supposedly irreducible loads, and sneak around us on alternative routes. Strategically considering and creatively implementing group trainings, rallies, testimonies, demonstrations, concerts, presentations, sit-ins, videos, photos, critical mass walks and bike rides, marches, street theater, fundraisers, and banner drops, we will not stop resisting until corporate interlopers stop rampaging our planet.
Tar sands module convoys encountered monitors and protests with every passage up Highway 95 through Moscow, Idaho, between July 2011 and March 2012, and similar pushback in Spokane, Washington, in May and June 2012. During the last week of October 2012, a 236-foot-long, 520,000-pound wastewater evaporator accomplished the first successful transit to the Alberta tar sands, through our narrow, sinuous, and steep Highway 12 wild and scenic river corridor across the largest wildlands complex in the lower 48 states. As first fracking in Idaho looms to the south and coal export trains impend in the north, two smaller tar sands transports – with potentially thousands on the outsourced Asian production horizon – will attempt the same rugged route in early December, but not without our vigilant confrontations and their predictable accidents, injuries, and anguish imposed on people and property, collisions with vehicles, power lines, cliffs, and trees, delays of heart attack victims, emergency services, and holiday traffic, and degradation of our shared infrastructure and civil liberties, indigenous rights and northern boreal ecosystems, and atmospheric integrity. Continue reading
FIRST UPDATE: On Friday and Saturday, January 4 and 5, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Occupy Spokane are hosting coal export direct action training, brainstorming, and planning sessions in Moscow and Spokane, with a preview screening of the British climate activism film Just Do It: A Tale of Modern-Day Outlaws, to organize a multi-state, concurrent action on Saturday, January 12. We anticipate train track/roadside coal protests in Missoula, Moscow, Sandpoint, Spokane, and perhaps other Montana cities, against the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal coal port at Cherry Point near Bellingham, associated coal mining and railroad transport and subsequent devastation of land, water, air, and human and wildlife health, and an environmental impact scoping process that blatantly excludes Idaho, Montana, and eastern Washington concerns. Join us at 7 pm on Friday evening, January 4, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, and/or at noon on Saturday, June 5, in Room 1A of the Spokane Public Library, 906 West Main Street in Spokane. We welcome all concerned activists at this discussion of demonstration strategies and legal protest rights followed by the movie screening. Expect another update about protest logistics on Sunday, January 6, and please comment by Thursday, January 3, on Morrow Pacific project proponent Ambre Energy’s removal-fill permit application to the Oregon Department of State Lands, to build coal transfer facilities at Boardman, Oregon. For more information, see WIRT member Nick Gier’s essay, Coal Trains Threaten Environment and Public Health, this WIRT website post, and the December 19 WIRT Newsletter: Solstice Party, Coal Export Comments, Hearings, & Other News. Continue reading