May 2 PRDC & WIRT Moscow Meetings, #No2ndBridge Updates

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PRDC Annual Membership Meeting

The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) invites its supporters and members of PRDC affiliated, environmental groups (Palouse Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide) to attend the PRDC Annual Membership Meeting on Wednesday, May 2, at the Yellow House next to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, 420 East Second Street (near the 1912 Center and Van Buren Street) in Moscow, Idaho.  Please come to this casual event anytime between 5 and 7 pm, to talk with PRDC board members Cass Davis, Steve Flint, David Hall, Al Poplawsky, Pat Rathmann, Mary and Steve Ullrich, and Helen Yost, ask questions, vote for board candidates, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and pay $5 annual dues.  If you cannot participate, please send donations and dues to this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, via mail to P.O. Box 8804, Moscow, ID  83843, to assist its lawsuit efforts to protect native Palouse prairie remnants from U.S. Highway 95 expansion onto Paradise Ridge, and to “ensure and enhance the public safety, environmental integrity, and natural aesthetics of Paradise Ridge and its environs” (PRDC mission statement).

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition website, Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition

Moscow WIRT Meeting & #No2ndBridge Presentation

Invite your friends and families, and join the regional, climate activist community, #No2ndBridge group members, and WIRT organizers for the May, first-Wednesday, monthly, WIRT gathering at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho, at 7 pm on Wednesday, May 2.  Discussions and action plans include Farmers Market outreach in Moscow and Sandpoint, an oil and gas waste injection well protest and petition presentation in Boise, and ongoing, dirty energy transportation monitoring and reporting.  We especially need your participation in work on a #No2ndBridge petition, brochures, banners, a peaceful, public, Sandpoint protest, regional attendance and expert testimony at May 23 hearings and rallies with speakers in Ponderay and Sandpoint, and a summer, direct action training camp, all opposing Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway track and bridge expansion of the coal, oil, hazmat, and possibly tar sands pipeline-on-wheels across Lake Pend Oreille and north Idaho.

At this WIRT convergence, we are starting to present #No2ndBridge information sessions with slide shows in Moscow, Sandpoint, Missoula, Spokane, and other, inland Northwest locations.  All are welcome to bring their creative ideas and energies and potluck food and beverages, to share current, issue updates and background, and to explore strategies and tactics in support and solidarity with grassroots, Northwest resistance to the power and pollution of the fossil fuel and railroad industries.  Contact WIRT via email or phone, with your questions and suggestions about potential meeting topics and activities, and to coordinate overlapping campaigns and upcoming events among allies.

#No2ndBridge Updates

On February 26, 2018, the public received notices of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway’s joint application for “individual” (not more lenient, “general”) permits to double 2.2 miles of tracks west of its existing, main line through Sandpoint, Idaho, and to construct three permanent, parallel, rail bridges and two temporary, work spans across Bridge Street, Sand Creek, and almost a mile over Lake Pend Oreille.  This $100 million, five-year, “Sandpoint Junction Connector” project would begin in fall 2018 and degrade human and natural environments from the BNSF-Montana Rail Link track convergence, near the historic, Sandpoint, train station still utilized by Amtrak, to the North Algoma siding track across the lake, south of Sandpoint. Continue reading

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Lake Bridge Comment Period, Moscow WIRT Meeting & Film, Seventh WIRT Celebration

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February 26: BNSF Lake Bridge Permit Application Release

On Monday, February 26, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) released for mere, 30-day, public review Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s (BNSF) joint application to construct a “2.2-mile-long, second, mainline track west of the existing, BNSF mainline, to connect the North Algoma Siding track (MP 5.1) south of Sandpoint, to the Sandpoint Junction switch (MP 2.9), where the BNSF and the Montana Rail Link (MRL) mainlines converge in Sandpoint…[The] applicant proposes to start construction in the fall of 2018.  The permit would authorize construction for a period of five years,” including rail bridges over Sand Creek and almost one mile over Lake Pend Oreille [1].

The City of Sandpoint, bigger green, organizational partners, coal/oil train/terminal opposition network, local, #No2ndBridge group, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and allied activists are coordinating responses and will send comment suggestions soon, continuing frontline, second BNSF lake bridge vigilance and resistance commenced in August 2014.  “The second rail bridge is likely to be a contentious proposal within Sandpoint.  BNSF officials say the second bridge will help alleviate wait times caused by rail traffic in town.  However, with train traffic estimated to double in the area by 2035, Sandpoint officials and conservation activists worry the convenience carries a higher risk of a disastrous accident.” [2]  “The bridge proposal has drawn the opposition of Wild Idaho Rising Tide, which contends the span will ultimately exacerbate climate change, because it will facilitate the trade of domestic coal and oil products.” [3]  Although the “Port of Vancouver and Vancouver Energy, which wanted to build the nation’s largest rail-to-marine, oil terminal at the port, mutually agreed to end the company’s lease on Wednesday, [February 28,] a month early,” “an estimated 58 trains use the BNSF rail line per day.  It’s expected by 2035, that number will increase to 114 trains daily, according to a [Spokane] city report.” [4, 5]

Before sending your more thorough, written comments addressing the application for and myriad impacts of this expansion of the Northwest pipeline-on-wheels over the fifth deepest U.S. lake, please demand from the Army Corps and IDL a comment period extension of 90 days, public hearings, and a full environmental impact statement.  Alongside diverse, citizen stakeholders, many indigenous, federal, and state agencies involved in or affected by this decision (U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, and Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho departments of Environmental Quality, Historic Preservation, Lands, and Water Resources, and the Coeur d’Alene, Kalispel, Kootenai, Salish, and Spokane tribes) require additional opportunities, time, and documentation to responsibly share information and analyze this largest construction project in decades on and near Lake Pend Oreille and the hundreds of pages of the BNSF application [6].

The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest.  This decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources…Comments are used in the preparation of an environmental assessment [the current, inadequate, Army Corps choice] and/or an environmental impact statement, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing, and to determine the overall public interest in the proposed activity.

…Any person may request in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing is held to consider this proposed activity.  Requests for a public hearing shall state specific reasons for holding a public hearing.  A request may be denied if substantive reasons for holding a hearing are not provided or if there is otherwise no valid interest to be served.

…Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed activity, which will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final decision.  Please mail all comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, Attn: Shane Slate, Coeur d’Alene Regulatory Office, 1910 Northwest Boulevard, Suite 210, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814-2676, or email NWW_BNSF_Pendoreille@usace.army.mil.  Comments should be received no later than the comment due date of March 28, 2018, as indicated on this notice, to receive consideration. [1]

Issuing a separate, public notice, the Idaho Department of Lands is also holding a public comment period on the proposed project and associated materials, ending on March 30, 2018 [7].  Send your message encouraging BNSF permit denial to comments@idl.idaho.gov or through the IDL website.  Citizens can also share their concerns with the U.S Coast Guard, charged with issuing or denying permits for bridges and causeways in or over navigable waters of the United States, and overseeing compliance with National Historic Preservation Act and Endangered Species Act consultation, for the proposed bridge projects over Sand Creek and Lake Pend Oreille.  But the Army Corps and Coast Guard cannot grant permits until the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) evaluates whether to issue, waive, or deny Clean Water Act water quality certification for discharge of project dredge and fill material, within 60 days or, by IDEQ-requested extension, longer.  Please see the Army Corps public notice about this project, for pertinent agency contact information [1].

Besides contributing written comments, and hopefully oral testimony, toward the lopsided and thus oppressive, power dynamics of these “public participation processes,” WIRT and regional allies are planning public information sessions, targeted protests, and a summer, #No2ndBridge, direct action camp, to catalyze further resistance to this industrial invasion of crucial, home waters and wetlands. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Lake Pend Oreille Railroad Expansion Hearings, Rallies, & Chamber of Commerce Speech, North Idaho Flooding, Native Idaho Governor Paulette Jordan Election Victory, Minnesota Tar Sands Pipeline Corridor Denial 5-16-18


The Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on upcoming rallies and hearings resisting Lake Pend Oreille railroad bridge and track expansion impacts, a railroad speech at a Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Pend Oreille lake and river flooding, primary election victory for Native, Idaho gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan, and a Minnesota judicial report denying a new corridor for tar sands pipeline Line 3.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide opposition to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: North Idaho Earth Day Speeches & Songs, Northwest Fossil Fuel Train Volumes, New Lake Pend Oreille Rail Bridges Impacts, Millennium Coal Terminal Permit Denial, Local Idaho Oil & Gas Laws 4-25-18


The Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features a recording of the April 23, North Idaho Earth Day celebration, and news and reflections on Northwest coal, oil, and tar sands train volumes, noise and water pollution impacts of two proposed railroad bridges across Lake Pend Oreille, the Washington Shorelines Hearings Board denial of development permits for the Millennium coal export terminal, and local, Idaho, oil and gas laws protecting residents from nearby facilities.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide opposition to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Lake Pend Oreille Coal Pollution & Bi-Directional Rail Bridges, Millennium Coal Terminal Health Study & Lawsuit, Postponed Spokane Train Blockader Trial, Eagle Oil & Gas Ordinance, State Oil & Gas Meetings in Payette, Delta Five Court of Appeals Hearing, Tacoma LNG Plant Resistance, Earth Day Gatherings 4-18-18


The Wednesday, April 18, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news and reflections on railroad coal pollution and bi-directional train bridge expansion in Lake Pend Oreille, a coal impacts health study and lawsuit on the Millennium train terminal, a postponed, Spokane, fossil fuel train blockader’s necessity defense trial, a protective, city, oil and gas ordinance in Eagle, Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Committee meetings in Payette, the Delta Five, oil train blockaders’ Court of Appeals hearing, resistance to Tacoma liquefied natural gas plant construction, and upcoming, Earth Day gatherings.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide opposition to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

April WIRT & Allied Events


Wednesday, April 18: Sandpoint WIRT Meeting & Film Screening

Invite your friends and families, and join the regional, climate activist community, #No2ndBridge group members, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) organizers for the April, third-Wednesday, monthly, WIRT gathering at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, at 7 pm on Wednesday, April 18.  Discussions and action plans include Earth Day and Farmers Market outreach in Moscow and Sandpoint, an oil and gas waste injection well protest and petition presentation in Boise, and ongoing, dirty energy transportation monitoring and reporting.  We especially need your participation in work on a #No2ndBridge petition, banner, brochures, comment talking points, Sandpoint rally and demonstration with speakers on Saturday, April 28, information sessions around the inland Northwest, regional attendance and expert testimony at the May 23 hearings in Ponderay and Sandpoint, and summer, direct action training camp, all opposing Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway track and bridge expansion of the coal, oil, hazmat, and possibly tar sands pipeline-on-wheels across Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille in north Idaho.

All are welcome to bring their creative ideas and energies and potluck food and beverages, to share current, issue updates and background, and to explore strategies and tactics in support and solidarity with grassroots, Northwest, fossil fuels resistance.  At this convergence, we will also view the 2016, Break Free documentary Disobedience, a brief film that describes the global, climate justice movement led by common people taking courageous actions against the power and pollution of the fossil fuel industry, and accelerating the clean energy revolution on the front lines of every continent [1, 2].  Contact WIRT via email or phone, with your questions and suggestions about potential meeting topics and activities.

Sunday, April 22: North Idaho Earth Day Celebration

Hosted and sponsored by 350Sandpoint, North Idaho Women, and the Sandpoint Annual Earth Day Festival, this 48th, public, Earth Day celebration and march will highlight local concerns over HiTestSand’s silicon smelter proposed for Newport, Washington, and planned construction of doubled railroad tracks and three bridges across Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint [3, 4].  Other event offerings include free health screenings, activities for children, live music, and an Earth-themed, costume contest with prizes for kids aged 12 and younger and adults.  Organizations working to keep Idaho healthy, wild, and beautiful, by educating and activating the local community, will offer information booths, voter registration, the Idaho Medicaid petition, and much more.  Enjoy and learn with your friends and family, between 12 and 3 pm on Sunday, April 22, at Farmin Park, Oak and Fourth streets in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Sunday, April 22: Moscow Nelsebration

The family, friends, and north Idaho/Palouse community of Nels Peterson lost a beautiful soul on March 21.  WIRT activists and supporters knew Nels from the Panhandle Artisan Bread Company and as a drummer with the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band and Henry C and the Willards, who played at more tar sands megaload protests and Annual Celebrations of Wild Idaho Rising Tide than any other musicians.

In memory and spirit of the tremendous love, strength, and peace that Nels brought to the Moscow area, his community invites everyone missing Nels during his transition to join with all the lives he touched, in a Nelsebration party in honor of Nels [5].  On Sunday, April 22, at 5:30 pm, the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band will gather at Friendship Square in downtown Moscow, and proceed to the 1912 Center, at 412 East Third Street in Moscow.  From 6 to 9 pm there, Henry C and the Willards and The Intentions will perform live music shows, Moscow Brewing Company will provide beer and wine, and participants may bring dishes of food to share.

Postponed: Spokane Train Blockader Necessity Defense Trial

In August and September, 2016, six Spokane area members of local Raging Grannies and Veterans for Peace chapters blocked coal and oil trains, with two acts of nonviolent, civil disobedience [6, 7].  Police arrested and charged all six protestors with trespass and obstructing a train.  Five pled guilty, for various reasons, at summer 2017 hearings in Spokane District Court.  Only Reverend George Taylor chose to move forward with his case to jury trial, and filed a motion asking Judge Debra Hayes to allow his attorneys to present a necessity defense, arguing that he committed one harm to prevent the greater health risks, environmental dangers, and imminent harms of fossil fuel train pollution, derailments, explosions, and fires (like in Mosier, Oregon, on June 3, 2016) and of their cargo’s combustion, greenhouse gas emissions, and consequent exacerbation of climate change. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: North Idaho Railroad Expansion Impacts, South Idaho Diesel Pipeline Leak, New Washington Solar Farm, B.C. Indigenous Blockade & Trans Mountain Pipeline Suspension, Bayou Bridge Pipeline Resistance & Anti-Protest Legislation 4-11-18


The Wednesday, April 11, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on railroad bridge and track expansion impacts on Lake Pend Oreille and the region, a Tesoro diesel pipeline leak in south central Idaho, Washington’s largest solar farm construction near Lind, an indigenous leader blockade and Kinder Morgan suspension of work on the Trans Mountain pipeline, and Bayou Bridge pipeline resistance and anti-protest legislation in Louisiana.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community opposition to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Seventh WIRT Celebrations Thanks & Funds Request


Seventh WIRT Celebrations Thanks & Funds Request

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) sends our deep gratitude to the gracious musicians, core WIRT activists, allies, guests, non-profit organizations, and businesses who contributed their efforts, donations, and supplies for the Seventh Annual Celebrations of WIRT benefit concerts at the Moscow 1912 Center and the Sandpoint Little Panida Theater, on Friday and Saturday evenings, March 30 and 31 [1-3].  We especially thank:

* Acoustic guitarist and singer John Firshi, for playing his inspiring, original, and improvisational music for participants and venue employees and volunteers at the Moscow and Sandpoint anniversary events

* Talented, hard-rocking, Sandpoint musicians Jeremy Kleinsmith and Brandon Watterson of OWULL, for sharing their exuberant sounds on the Sandpoint, fossil fuels frontline

* The seven band members of Los Caipirinhos, for traveling from the Tri-Cities, Washington, but not performing their danceable, Latin ska, reggae, and rock, due to an almost absent, Moscow audience (-$200)

* Jenny and Robby of the 1912 Center in Moscow, for Great Room reservation, rental, arrangement, and clean-up on the night before the KRFP Real Radio Dinner on the WIRT anniversary, March 31 (-$246)

* Trish, Bill, and three Little Panida Theater  volunteers, for venue rental, projection of the background, WIRT slide show, beer, wine, popcorn, and camaraderie (-$255)

* Wine Company of Moscow manager Terry, for WIRT-purchased beer and a temporary liquor license (-$27), and the Rosauers and Safeway stores in Moscow, for potluck food, wine, and ice (-$49)

* WIRT activists and friends David, Denise, Pat, and other Moscow and Sandpoint celebration participants, for delicious, potluck food, supply transportation and preparation, insightful conversations, and admission donations (+$50)

* The Bonner County Daily Bee, Lewiston Tribune, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Panida Theater, and Sandpoint Reader, for publicizing both events via newspaper and website notices drawn from online, Panida Theater posts and a WIRT media release [4] Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: WIRT Anniversary Concerts, Lake Pend Oreille Railroad Expansion Impacts, Spokane Train Blockader Trial, Protest at Puget Sound Energy, Canadian Tar Sands by Rail, Fruitland Oil & Gas Ordinance, Payette State Officials Meeting 4-4-18


The Wednesday, April 4, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on two seventh anniversary WIRT benefit concerts, potential impacts of Lake Pend Oreille area railroad bridge and track expansion, a Spokane fossil fuel train blockader’s necessity defense jury trial, a longhouse construction protest at Puget Sound Energy’s Bellevue headquarters, Canadian tar sands transport by rail, a Fruitland oil and gas facilities ordinance, and a public, Payette meeting of state oil and gas officials.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community resistance to fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: North Idaho Rail Bridge Expansion Resistance, Increased Canadian Tar Sands by Train, Bellingham Area Tanker Cars Derailment, Montana Valve Turner Sentencing, Trans Mountain Pipeline Protest Arrests, Massachusetts Necessity Defense Victory, Seventh WIRT Anniversary Concerts 3-28-18


The Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on resistance to railroad track and bridge expansion around Lake Pend Oreille, increased Canadian tar sands-by-rail due to blocked pipelines, black tanker car derailments near Bellingham, Montana pipeline valve turner sentencing and statement, Trans Mountain pipeline protest arrests, Massachusetts pipeline blockaders’ necessity defense victory, and two seventh anniversary WIRT benefit concerts.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community opposition to fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.