Seventh Panhandle Paddle

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Seventh Panhandle Paddle Flyer

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allied activists, friends, and supporters heartily welcome your participation in the upcoming, Seventh Panhandle Paddle weekend of opportunities to discuss, train for, and stage resistance to the fossil fuels and railroad industry degraders of human rights, environmental health, and the global climate.  Interior Northwest residents are coordinating and co-hosting annual activities in Sandpoint, Idaho, to unite in opposition to regional coal, oil, and tar sands trains, terminals, and derailments and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway’s almost complete track and bridge construction across downtown Sandpoint, Sand Creek, and Lake Pend Oreille.  Amid the intensifying situations of north Idaho railroad expansion, federal and media criminalization of dissenters, and COVID-19 health and economic disasters during the last two-plus years, we are reaching out to you, our regional network comrades, to share direct action skills and invite you to join with rail line communities, to protest fossil-fueled climate change via these free events on Thursday through Sunday, September 22 to 25.  We would appreciate your involvement in the talk, workshop, and paddle, your RSVP of your intentions for spots in kayaks, canoes, and carpools, and your assistance with distributing this event description and printing and posting the color, PDF version of the WIRT website-linked Seventh Panhandle Paddle Flyer.

#No2ndBridge Talk

6 to 8 pm Thursday, September 22

Gardenia Center, Sandpoint

At this informal discussion, participants can exchange issue information, expand knowledge, and brainstorm strategies and tactics for creatively engaging and catalyzing further community resistance and regulatory and legal recourse to BNSF’s Sandpoint Junction Connector project and railroad infrastructure, pollution, and risks in the Lake Pend Oreille area and beyond, which activists have denounced and challenged during each of the Panhandle Paddles [1-5].  Please bring ideas about campaign organizing and railroad monitoring and protesting, and gather at 6 pm on Thursday, September 22, at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint.  During and after the Thursday and Saturday meetings, we plan to broaden coalitions and camaraderie among activists, while continuing conversations and enjoying music outside nearby pubs.

Direct Action Training

2 to 5 pm Saturday, September 24

Gardenia Center, Sandpoint

Regional climate and environmental activists and water protectors will provide several, interactive, training workshops, through talks and videos sharing frontline skills, stories, and insights.  Advocating grassroots, direct actions at the sites of environmental destruction, more than participation in expensive, ineffective, legal systems and other government processes, trainers will offer their expertise through three one-hour presentation and practice sessions on topics such as knowing your rights, strategizing and tactical thinking, affinity group dynamics, target selection and scouting, action design, roles, and documentation, media communications, police interactions, de-escalation, security, safety, and self-defense,  and jail solidarity.  The number, topics, and lengths of training sessions have varied over the years, chosen by and adapted to rural participants and supporting various ecological and social justice movements within current, U.S., political contexts.  Prior speakers have given advice on road and railroad actions, digital security, pipeline blockades, grand jury resistance, know-your-rights, and the previously mentioned subjects.  Organizers holding these trainings anticipate reciprocally learning and strengthening the volunteer activism gaining momentum in the Idaho Panhandle.  We encourage everyone who plans to attend to RSVP in advance and request particular topics and further logistical information.  Join WIRT and guests anytime between 2 and 5 pm on Saturday, September 24, at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint.

Panhandle Paddle

10 am to 12 pm Sunday, September 25

City and Dog Beach Parks, Sandpoint

For a seventh year, WIRT and allied activists are bringing their boats, bodies, and bravery to two locations, for on- and off-shore protests of Northwest coal, oil, and tar sands trains, terminals, and derailments and north Idaho, railroad bridge and track expansion.  To accommodate participants who are renting single or double kayaks, paddleboards, or other manual watercraft from Sandpoint businesses that open at 9 am, activists are meeting an hour later, at 10 am on Sunday, September 25.  Near the south boat ramp at City Beach Park in Sandpoint, we will launch a flotilla on Lake Pend Oreille, departing after participants arrive by land and water, to voyage around present and proposed railroad bridge sites.  By about 11 am on Sunday, another rally will converge after paddlers reach Dog Beach Park south of Sandpoint.  Bring large, attractive banners and signs, visible to observers at great distances, and respond to WIRT with your boat rental intentions and mobility needs, so we can reserve and cover the costs of watercraft, and arrange transportation for folks who cannot walk to Dog Beach Park. Continue reading

Stop North Idaho’s Keystone XL Pipeline!

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0 GTN Idaho Map 1

GTN Xpress Gas Pipeline Expansion

Residents of the Northwest and Turtle Island continent continue to experience the extreme, worsening heat, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods caused by fossil-fueled climate change.  But Canadian energy company TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), owner of the notoriously leaky Keystone tar sands pipeline, partially completed but unpermitted Keystone XL pipeline, and new Coastal GasLink line invading unceded indigenous lands in British Columbia (B.C.), expects the public not to notice its plans to stealthily expand its 1,353-mile-long Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline across north Idaho, eastern Washington, and central Oregon [1-5].

The GTN Xpress project would dangerously increase “natural” gas volumes by 150 million to 250 million cubic feet per day, in its 61-year-old pipeline system.  GTN transports gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” from the prolific West Canadian Sedimentary Basin and Rocky Mountain fields of northeast British Columbia and Alberta.  It connects with the Foothills and Nova Gas Transmission pipelines in Canada near Kingsgate, B.C., crosses the U.S. border at Eastport, Idaho, and terminates in Malin, Oregon, where it flows into the Tuscarora pipeline in northern California.  In north Idaho, the climate-wrecking, potentially explosive GTN pipeline traverses the Moyie Valley, Bonners Ferry, and the Highway 95 corridor, close and parallel to railroad lines.  GTN passes under a Schweitzer Mountain ski resort parking lot and West Pine Street in Sandpoint, and below the Pend Oreille River near Dover, downstream from Idaho’s largest, deepest lake.  From Malin in southern Oregon, the controversial Pacific Connector pipeline would have carried feedstock gas out to the coastal Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Coos Bay.  But a decade-plus of broad public opposition and regulatory hurdles overcame both boondoggles.

Through a compression-only expansion of the GTN system, GTN Xpress would software-upgrade the capacity and pressure of the gas-fired turbine compressor at the Athol, Idaho, pump station 5, from 14,300 to 23,470 horsepower.  Although the Athol station is located at 2244 East Seasons Road in Kootenai County, a dispatch center in Portland, Oregon, remotely controls it and 11 other compressor stations, numbered 3 through 14, which move gas along the U.S. part of the pipeline.  The facility stands just two miles west-northwest of the popular Silverwood Theme Park, full of hundreds of visitors on precarious rides during spring, summer, and fall days.  Installing new equipment and improving an access road at two Washington and Oregon compressor stations and along the pipeline, the GTN Xpress project would push an additional 250,000 dekatherms of gas per day out to smaller, linked pipelines and markets in Washington, Oregon, and California.  As one dekatherm provides enough gas for five average-sized (over-large) homes, new GTN Xpress infrastructure and gas volumes would force 1.2 million households to use fossil fuels for at least another 30 years.

Excess Gas & Northwest Energy Transitions

In its October 2021 application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), seeking a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the GTN Xpress project, TC Energy claims that “increased market demand driven by residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Pacific Northwest” justifies aged GTN pipeline expansion, and that “the benefits of GTN’s proposed project far outweigh its potential adverse impacts” [6].  These plans prompted FERC to prepare a draft, federal, environmental impact statement (EIS) currently undergoing public scrutiny and input [7-9].  Although TC Energy has urged FERC to approve the project with a final EIS by October 14, 2022, and to authorize it by the 90-day federal deadline of January 12, 2023, company and agency staff must first prove to the commission that Americans, not just Idahoans and Northwesterners, need this pipeline expansion, and that GTN Xpress would benefit public interests.  As FERC called for draft EIS scoping comments on the project in February 2022, it also updated its policies guiding decisions on natural gas projects, allowing the agency to more thoroughly consider a proposal’s contributions to climate change and potential impacts on landowners and environmental justice [10]. Continue reading

Support WIRT Crowdfunding for PRDC!

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Protect Palouse Prairie WetlandsProtect Palouse Prairie Wetlands from Highway Expansion

For the fourth time in 20 years, the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) is challenging the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and now also the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), in an ongoing citizen attempt to force selection of the least environmentally disruptive, central C-3 route for proposed U.S. Highway 95 realignment south of Moscow, Idaho.  PRDC filed a legal complaint in the U.S. District Court of Idaho on March 22, 2022, against the Thorn Creek Road to Moscow highway project.  This ITD scheme plans to reroute and expand to four lanes a six-mile segment of Highway 95, along the easternmost E-2 alternative route highest on Paradise Ridge.  The E-2 alignment would significantly impact some of the few remaining tracts of native Palouse Prairie and several critical wetlands.

PRDC disputes ITD’s assessment that the E-2 route would not destroy essential wetlands larger than the half-acre threshold of the Clean Water Act.  Smaller wetland sizes along E-2 would allow the project to proceed under a “nationwide” permit, with fewer restrictions and no further public input, while wetlands larger than a half-acre require the Corps to issue a more rigorous “individual” permit.  If PRDC can prove that some wetlands along the E-2 route each surpass a half-acre in size, ITD may be forced to stop commenced construction, re-apply to the Corps for an individual permit, and defend its preferred E-2 alternative as the “least environmentally damaging, practicable alternative” (LEDPA), which it is not.

After negotiations among opposing attorneys, the federal court let PRDC bring two wetlands scientists and a licensed surveyor into the E-2 right-of-way.  These experts found more than a half-acre of wetlands near the southern end of the project.  Subsequently, the ITD wetlands consultant sent back to the contested site confirmed the prior ITD determination.  Now, the Corps intends to study the area and decide whether the assessments of ITD, PRDC, or neither are correct.

On July 27, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), a member organization of the PRDC coalition, launched a crowdfunding site for PRDC, to help cover the work of attorneys and experts that could cost up to $20,000, during this expensive phase of current litigation.  To win this federal case and protect native Palouse Prairie on Paradise Ridge from Highway 95 expansion, PRDC and WIRT are relying on contributions from concerned citizens and the regional community.

Please support these earnest efforts by generously donating soon toward the $4,000 target of this publicly transparent crowdfunding campaign on the GiveButter platform, or by mailing a check to PRDC.  You can further assist WIRT and PRDC reaching this goal by posting this crowdfunding page and PRDC website and facebook page updates to social media, sharing issue information and articles with your friends and family, and encouraging participation in giving to PRDC.  Thanks in advance for your gracious contributions!

Protect Palouse Prairie Wetlands from Highway Expansion

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition website

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition facebook page

P.O. Box 8804, Moscow, ID 83843

Climate Justice Forum: Herb Goodwin Death, Idaho Highway Construction, Railroad, & Youth Climate & Salmon Protests, Hanford Book & Nuclear Submarines, BC Pipeline River Drilling, Equinox 9-21-22


The Wednesday, September 21, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections on recently deceased, core WIRT organizer Herb Goodwin, the September 22 equinox, Seventh Panhandle Paddle events opposing railroaded fossil fuels and expanded infrastructure, barge transported nuclear submarine reactor pieces stored at Hanford and a book exposing this largest toxic waste dump in the Western hemisphere, Idaho highway construction, wetland litigation, and upcoming protests, global and Idaho youth climate strikes and salmon celebrations, imminent British Columbia gas pipeline drilling under an unceded river, and indigenous massacre site digs at a proposed Nevada lithium mine site.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Totem Pole Journey, Idaho Highway & Railroad Resistance & Wildfires, Nevada Lithium Mine Massacre Site, Railroad Workers Strike, Louisiana Lake Pipeline Fire 9-14-22


The Wednesday, September 14, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections on a totem pole journey stop in Spokane, Idaho highway construction, wetland litigation, and opposition fundraising, numerous human-caused wildfires, and unhealthy smoky air, a proposed northern Nevada lithium mine within an indigenous massacre site, a potential national railroad workers strike, Amtrak cancellation of three Western routes, Seventh Panhandle Paddle railroad resistance events, a natural gas pipeline fiery explosion in a Louisiana lake, and a Washington DC demonstration against Appalachia pipelines.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Indigenous BC Pipeline Resisters, Idaho Windmill Megaloads & Oil & Gas Luncheon, Missoula & Tacoma Train Wrecks, Utah Tar Sands Scams, DC Pipeline Protests 9-7-22


The Wednesday, September 7, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a Wet’suwet’en First Nation webinar with British Columbia gas pipeline opponents and indigenous leaders Sleydo’ and Chief Na’Moks, climate scientist and activist Peter Kalmus, and direct action trainer Hunter Smith.  We also share news, music, and reflections on Idaho highway transport of oversized windmills and a chamber of commerce luncheon with an oil and gas company president, train wrecks at a Missoula rail yard and a Tacoma port, revoked agreements for Utah tar sands and other scam mines, and Washington DC protests of the Mountain Valley pipeline and its Congressional support.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Cass Davis on Idaho Highway Expansion Halt, Doubled Lake Coal Trains & Bridges, Federal Coal Lease Moratorium, Corrupt Montana Coal Company, Police & Pipeline Deal Protests 8-31-22


The Wednesday, August 31, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) board president Cass Davis discussing decades-long citizen efforts to protect native Palouse Prairie remnants, wildlife, and wetlands from north Idaho highway realignment and expansion.  We also share news, music, and reflections on a federal agency decision halting work on that Highway 95 project, a PRDC crowdfunding campaign, doubled Idaho lake railroad bridges and coal train lengths, a court-reinstated coal leasing moratorium on federal lands, investigations and rancher cases against a corrupt Montana coal company, an indigenous civil suit against police harassment near British Columbia gas pipeline construction, and New York City protests of pipeline deals in Congressional bills.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Northwest Gas Pipeline Expansion & Resistance, Idaho Challenges of Oil & Gas Waste Well & Forced Leasing, Washington Silicon Smelter Siting Opposition 8-24-22


The Wednesday, August 24, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections about Canadian Keystone XL company plans to expand fracked gas pipeline volumes and pump stations across north Idaho and the Northwest and extensive citizen and state government rejection of this scheme through comments and petitions.  We also discuss southwest Idaho legal challenges of a proposed oil and gas waste injection well and forced gas well leasing, and ongoing resistance to siting of a Newport, Washington, silicon smelter.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Pipeline Resistance & Rail Bridge Construction, Spokane River Paddle & Veterans for Peace Award, Frontline Responses to Inflation Reduction Act, August Full Moon 8-17-22


The Wednesday, August 17, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a Columbia Riverkeeper webinar about Keystone XL pipeline owner TC Energy’s plans to expand GTN Xpress gas pipeline volumes and pump stations across north Idaho and the Northwest.  We also share news, music, and reflections on BNSF Railway second bridges and track construction in Lake Pend Oreille, an indigenous canoe paddle on the Spokane River, selection of Spokane Veterans for Peace as chapter of the year, GTN Xpress comments, petitions, letters to editors, and protests, a People versus Fossil Fuels coalition response to industry deals in the Inflation Reduction Act, and the August full sturgeon supermoon.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: GTN Xpress Gas Pipeline Expansion, Palouse Prairie Crowdfunding, DAPL Jail Support, Nevada Lithium Mine Discoveries, First Nation Work Camp, Bay Area Refinery Protest 8-10-22


The Wednesday, August 10, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a recent Columbia Riverkeeper webinar about Keystone XL pipeline owner TC Energy’s plans to expand GTN Xpress gas pipeline volumes and pump stations across north Idaho and the Northwest.  We also share news, music, and reflections on crowdfunding for legal efforts to protect Palouse Prairie wetlands from Idaho highway expansion, a coincidental Illinois intermodal train derailment, solidarity support for an incarcerated Dakota Access pipeline protester, discovery of indigenous historic sites at a proposed Nevada lithium mine site, a summer work camp on First Nation lands in British Columbia, and Bay Area demonstrations remembering a 2012 Chevron refinery fire.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.