Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Missoula 1-23-14


A smaller and faster mystery megaload, transported by Action Specialized of Lynden, Washington, on the same route as the Omega Morgan-hauled loads, moved on Wednesday night, January 22-23, from Lolo through Missoula to the Bonner Town Pump Truck Plaza by early Thursday morning.*  Because it is also headed to Alberta to expand tar sands mining, eight brave protesters, including three drummers and two children, staged an action to temporarily halt the destruction of boreal forests and bogs and indigenous life ways and health that this ‘mini-megaload’ will impose.  With only one Missoula police car in sight and both lanes of Reserve Street open to regular traffic, the tribal and climate activists stopped vehicles with the street light for the Reserve Street crosswalk between Central and Kent Streets, near C.S. Porter Middle School.  At about 12:30 am, the megaload convoy was traveling slightly slower than the normal speed of about 40 miles per hour, as the front pilot vehicles paused and the following oversize transport without highway patrol escorts slowed down almost to a stop.  Instead of dangerously spreading across the five-lane street to block all traffic, the eight protesters prepared to round dance on one side of the road.  Suddenly, the evaporator, about a third of the size of the Omega Morgan cargoes, drove around the blockade into the oncoming traffic lanes!  Police cars with flashing lights passed after the overlegal load and support vehicles, skirting the swiftly unfolding scene where no one was injured or arrested.

* Missoula Woman Arrested for Blocking Megaload; Equipment Reaches Bonner (January 22 Missoulian)

Tuesday to Thursday Missoula Megaload Blockades, Round Dances, and Arrests

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Missoula 1-22-14 (January 22 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

Montana, Idaho, and Washington tribal and climate activists are meeting again for two more Missoula tar sands megaload protests at the Rosauers at Reserve and South Streets, at 12 midnight on Wednesday/Thursday, January 22-23, and Thursday/Friday, January 23-24!


Montana Indian Peoples Action, along with Blue Skies Campaign, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, protested, prayed, and round-danced against a “megaload,” a colossal piece of tar sands processing equipment that Omega Morgan hauled on Reserve Street through Missoula, Montana, on Wednesday morning, January 22 [1-4].  Bringing together residents of Missoula and other communities in Montana, Idaho, and Washington affected by tar sands transportation projects, the approximately 50 protesters stood in solidarity with the Nez Perce and Shoshone-Bannock tribes in Idaho, the Confederated Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes in Oregon, and especially the First Nations people in Canada, who oppose tar sands mining and its pollution and devastation of their ancestral homelands in present-day Alberta.

Exploitation of bitumen oil deposits drives the largest, most environmentally destructive, industrial operation on Earth.  The groups involved in Wednesday’s protest of Omega Morgan-hauled evaporators and heat exchangers, used in-situ/steam assisted gravity drainage extraction of tar sands, expressed their deep concerns about the impacts of tar sands development on global climate, air and water quality, and human, wildlife, and ecosystem health.  Like ordinary citizens throughout North America who prefer clean, sustainable energy, not dirty fossil fuel production, they can no longer ignore the irreversible harms imposed by the oil, gas, coal, and tar sands industries. Continue reading

Second Megaload on Way to Arco

The first megaload has still not left the state.

A giant load of oil field equipment bound for the tar sands of Canada was to remain in a pullout north of Salmon on Tuesday night.  But a second megaload was expected to travel through Arco and enter Lemhi County early this (Wednesday) morning, state highway officials said.

The first of three outsized loads by Oregon shipper Omega Morgan crawled through downtown Salmon on January 5 and traveled another 35 miles north on Highway 93, before parking about ten miles below Lost Trail Pass and the Montana border.

The 901,000-pound shipment, which needs two lanes for travel and is 76 feet longer than a football field, gained permission on Friday to travel through Montana.  But forecasts of icy roads and blowing snow so far have prevented the rig from completing the final leg of its 470-mile journey through Idaho – following a route that cut through Arco, Leadore, and Salmon.

Weather permitting, state transportation officials said on Tuesday, the megaload may get underway as early as this evening – travel through Idaho is allowed from 10 pm to 6 am. Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Timmerman Junction 1-7-14

At 10 pm on Tuesday evening, January 7, at the Timmerman Junction of U.S. Highway 20 and Idaho Highway 75, concerned citizens and activists gathered to protest the second Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload traversing the Wood River Valley.  A few nights earlier, on Saturday/Sunday, January 4-5, this in-situ mining equipment on an Emmert trailer entered southwest Idaho near Homedale, after its Port of Umatilla, Oregon launch two weeks earlier.  On Sunday evening, January 5, while the second oversize load snuck through a missed second protest in Marsing, the first transport finally crossed southern Idaho, through a crowd of 100 onlookers in Salmon, Idaho.  But it soon stalled at U.S. Highway 93 milepost 341 north of Gibbonsville, about ten miles below Lost Trail Pass and the state border, awaiting Montana Department of Transportation evaluation of its recently submitted travel plan, an agency-issued transportation permit, and amenable weather forecasts and conditions [1].  On Monday night, January 6, the second shipment traveled from the junction of Idaho Highways 51 and 78, through Hammett, west on Interstate 84 to Exit 95, and through Occupy Boise/Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) protesting and monitoring activities near Mountain Home [2, 3].  It continued through mountainous Elmore County terrain on U.S. Highway 20 to milepost 126, further east than the previous Cat Creek Summit megaload layover spot. Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14

Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Passage and Protest, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Monitors Following an Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Convoy, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Monitors Blocked by an Oncoming Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Convoy, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

Despite thorough searches among various regional media sources, a megaload news black-out seemed to have occurred on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 and 5, while 350 Idaho, Occupy Boise, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) climate activists and concerned Wood River Valley and Boise area community members shared successful slide show presentations, a documentary film, and discussions about Alberta tar sands exploitation, regional megaload transports, and direct action tactics and strategies [1].  These tar sands opponents belatedly learned of Omega Morgan transport movement between Ironside, Oregon, and Hammett, Idaho, as they anticipated another protest in Marsing, Idaho, on Monday night, January 6 [2].  However, the previous three-night journey of the first megaload apparently required only two nights of the second transport, which quietly and unexpectedly entered Idaho on Sunday morning, January 5, and crossed Marsing on Sunday night, perhaps purposely avoiding the protests so dramatically publicized during the first incursion [3, 4, 5]. Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Salmon 1-5-14


Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Salmon 1-5-14 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

On Saturday, January 4, the first Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload to cross southern Idaho left Howe after 10 pm, despite earlier, conflicting reports that the convoy would not move that night.  Miscommunication slowed its launch for 45 minutes, as the Idaho State Police (ISP), Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), and Omega Morgan failed to inform the Butte County sheriff deputy and local law enforcement and first responders of the transport’s departure.  Locals decried the lack of notice, protecting the big rig from ‘evil’ protesters, while risking the death or property loss of citizens.  The megaload headed up Highway 28 over Gilmore Pass and through Leadore, to park about four or five miles before Salmon, almost to the 28 Club Restaurant, along the south side of Highway 28.

Occupying most of a large pull-out adjacent to the Lemhi L6 diversion and fish screen and ladder, next to the Lemhi River at the foot of the first bridge over it southeast of town, the megaload perched precariously close to the aquatic home of threatened Columbia Basin bull trout, Snake River Basin steelhead, and Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon.  The public has spent millions of dollars to help restore these rare fish and their critical habitats in riparian areas that also host nesting and wintering bald eagles, golden eagles, sage grouse, and other imperiled species.

During the sunny Sunday of January 5, people gawked, took photos, and chatted with the two security guards, without protesters or real police or sheriffs in sight, at the big tourist event that even attracted Idaho Falls folks, who were in the area with their children for a weekend hockey tournament.  Apparently in Idaho, size matters, but so does climate change!  The first passage of megaloads through southern Idaho presented great opportunities for Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists to educate citizens and raise money for the anti-tar sands cause, by distributing brochures and information to onlookers and selling hot chocolate, coffee, donuts, and perhaps even T-shirts with a map of megaload stops. Continue reading

Megaloads, Tar Sands, & Direct Action: A Slide Show, Documentary, & Discussion or Workshop


Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and 350 Idaho activists enthusiastically invite regional community members eager to learn about Alberta tar sands mining operations, their facilities components (aka “megaloads”), and direct action tactics and strategies to participate in a slide show presentation, documentary film, and discussion or workshop in Hailey and Boise, Idaho.  Join us between 12 noon and 2 pm on Saturday, January 4, at the Hailey Public Library, 7 West Croy Street in Hailey, and from 12 noon to 5 pm on Sunday, January 5, at the MK Nature Center auditorium meeting room, 600 South Walnut Street in Boise, close to Boise State University.  Concerned climate activists and Idaho citizens will explore the issues and connections between tar sands exploitation and regional megaload transports, impacts on people, places, and the planet, and overarching climate change and moral issues.

Transportation of equipment across the Northwest to extract and produce carbon-dense, dirty energy fuels like tar sands increasingly threatens environmental and human wellbeing with its risky and toxic byproducts of polluted air, water, land, policies, and perspectives.  Expanding Alberta tar sands megaloads, pipelines, rail cars, tankers, refineries, and terminals crisscross and transform the region into a resource colony serving Asia and the world.  Governments consistently fail to defend their citizens from the ravages of some of the largest multinational corporations on Earth, as they plunder public resources, taxpayer coffers, civil liberties, indigenous rights, remote ecosystems, and global climate, in pursuit of their billions in profits. Continue reading

Idaho and Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Timmerman Junction 12-30-13


Idaho and Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Timmerman 12-30-13 (December 30 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

On Monday, December 30, about 20 people gathered between 9 pm and 2 am at Timmerman Junction, to protest, document, and/or watch a megaload of tar sands equipment travel east from Cat Creek Summit, across south central Idaho, and eventually north through Montana and Alberta [1-6].  The first of three shipments moved by Portland area heavy hauler Omega Morgan since December 2 and over the next month, on a new route departing from the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, the 901,000-pound, 376-foot-long heat exchanger core of a wastewater evaporator is owned and designed by General Electric subsidiary Resources Conservation Company International.  Athabasca Oil Corporation will install these mining effluent recyclers in its Hangingstone steam assisted gravity drainage tar sands mining facility southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta [7].  Protest organizers 350 Idaho, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and allies extend our gratitude to Idaho Mountain Express reporter Terry Smith for his recent articles that have single-handedly, locally educated Wood River Valley residents about Alberta tar sands issues.

Most of the progressive participants in the Monday night demonstration hailed from the Wood River Valley towns of  Gannett, Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley, within ten miles of Timmerman Junction, the intersection of east-west-trending U.S. Highway 20 and north-south thoroughfare Idaho Highway 75 in Idaho.  Some protesters arrived at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) rest area meeting place, on the southwest side of the junction, after traveling 55 miles from Twin Falls or 125 miles from Boise.  At least three generations held protest signs and banners against the corporate, industrial onslaught that slowed beneath the intersection signal light at about 1:30 am on Tuesday morning, December 31.  During megaload passage, police closed both highways to regular traffic. Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Marsing 12-28-13


Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Marsing 12-28-13 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

On Saturday evening, December 28, 2013, four women from Boise, Moscow, and Parma, Idaho, gathered with difficulty and courage in Marsing, Idaho, to protest a 450-ton, 376-foot-long component of new tar sands mining facilities, as it exploited Idahoans’ highways, bridges, and rights on its way to Alberta, Canada.  Outnumbered by more than 100 onlookers who seemed mostly supportive of the Omega Morgan-hauled transport of the General Electric subsidiary equipment, they stood in silent, sorrowful vigil, demonstrating their opposition with protest signs reading, for example, “End Big Oil Tyranny” and “Idaho Says No Dirty Energy” [1, 2].

Staged by 350 Idaho and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, the first ever southern Idaho transit and protest of controversial tar sands megaloads, relatively close to the Boise metropolitan area, attracted several regional, commercial and private media representatives, who interviewed and photographed participants [3, 4, 5].  For a third winter, the vigilant activists stood in defiance of the global impacts wrought by tar sands shipments that ultimately degrade public infrastructure, civil liberties, indigenous lives and ways, boreal ecosystems, and worldwide climate [6].  Except through public displays of dissent, they have found no recourse to the state and federal governments who permit, subsidize, and accept hefty lobbyist donations from the wealthiest corporations – the oil, gas, and coal companies – to profit from the largest and most destructive energy extraction project on Earth. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Arrested Rising Tide Activist 12-23-13

The Monday, December 23, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features a recorded interview of a Rising Tide climate activist whom police illegally arrested as an innocent bystander at a vehicle lock-down blockade that temporarily halted an Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload in John Day, eastern Oregon, on Monday, December 16.  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 dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.