Wednesday, January 17, Monthly Sandpoint WIRT Meeting

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Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies invite everyone to the first, 2018, Sandpoint, WIRT meeting, one of two gatherings held every month at 7 pm on the first Wednesday at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 E. Second Street in Moscow, Idaho, and on the third Wednesday in Sandpoint, Idaho.  This Wednesday, January 17, we are converging at 7 pm in Eichardt’s Pub upstairs game room, 212 Cedar Street in Sandpoint [1].  Join regional, climate activists for an evening of food, beer and wine, and conversations creating campaign strategies and tactics for actions and events supporting the movement against extreme fossil fuels and for clean energy, livable communities, and especially climate justice.  Topics of discussion may include updates, suggestions, and plans for:

* Resistance to new and expanded, Northwest coal, oil, gas, and tar sands leases, wells, processing plants, pipelines, megaloads, trains, rail bridges, terminals, and refineries, such as on-the-ground opposition to likely soon unbanned, Class II, oil and gas waste injection wells in Idaho, and to megaloads upgrading the Andeavor (Tesoro) Anacortes refinery

* Mobilization of Idaho residents for coordinated, peaceful protests, agency hearings, and public expression advancing anti-fossil fuels campaigns, such as a late-January, Sandpoint rally, like events in Spokane and Seattle on January 18, encouraging Washington Governor Inslee to reject the Vancouver Energy oil train terminal [2, 3]

* Enhancement of observing, monitoring, documenting, and reporting north Idaho, frontline, fossil fuel train traffic and the proposed, second, Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge site, via photos, videos, social media, and further, skill sharing sessions

* Organization of monthly, speaker and film presentations, community forums, educational workshops, and direct action trainings, all sharing activist knowledge, like the successful Olympia Stand and valve turner talks, Radical Movie Night screenings, and Third Panhandle Paddle kayaktivist weekend Continue reading

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Climate Justice Forum: Oil & Gas Waste Injection Wells, Withdrawn & Lease-Cancelled Oil Terminals, Trump Plan for Northwest Offshore Drilling, Upper Midwest Tar Sands Pipeline Resistance 1-10-18


The Wednesday, January 10, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news and reflections on Idaho and Oklahoma oil and gas waste injection wells, earthquakes, and pollution, a withdrawn, Grays Harbor, oil train terminal proposal, a cancelled, Port of Vancouver lease for the Tesoro-Savage, oil-by-rail terminal, a Trump administration plan to open the Northwest coast to offshore drilling, and Upper Midwest, indigenous and grassroots resistance to several, tar sands pipelines.  Broadcast for almost 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.

Urgent! Comment by 1/11 Against Idaho Oil & Gas Waste Injection Wells


On July 22, 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved and the state of Idaho has since maintained primary, state regulation and enforcement authority (primacy) over all five classes of injection wells in Idaho, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, section 1422, through the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program.  Because 1985 Idaho regulations prohibited Class II, oil and gas wastewater injection wells in the state, this ban was codified in those EPA rules.  In 2013, the Idaho Legislature passed laws allowing these wells.  But during 2017 Idaho legislative hearings on oil and gas bills and rules, Idaho Governor Otter became aware that the lack of state government oversight of Class II injection wells was delaying oil and gas development in the Treasure Valley.  IDWR has not issued any Class II well permits, because the EPA has not approved the state’s proposed changes to its Class II, UIC program.  On August 25, 2017, the EPA received a letter from IDWR, formally requesting transfer of its responsibility for managing Class II, oil and gas wastewater injection wells in Idaho to the EPA.  According to the EPA’s November 2017, Federal Register notice of this proposed rule revision, state-administered, Class II injection wells remain illegal in Idaho, under federal law [1-3].

Idaho agency efforts to uncharacteristically and aggressively transfer authority over Class II wells in our fifth most seismically active state to the EPA, headed by oil and gas industry friend and former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, seem like thinly veiled attempts to again hastily accommodate corporate profits at the expense of Idahoans’ public and environmental health.  Instead of conscientiously updating Idaho’s injection control program, the state is calling for this transfer of responsibility to the EPA, to facilitate cheaper, underground disposal of oil and gas drilling byproducts than in evaporation ponds near the Boise Airport, as soon as possible.  IDWR is thus side-stepping the existing, three-decade ban of Class II injection wells, risking and polluting Idaho groundwater and seismic stability, and circumventing both impacted, Idaho citizen review of Class II injection well regulations and lawsuits against the state for any damages resulting from these wells [4].  As suggested by state agency presentations on Class II wells, given to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on December 7, 2017, the Texas company currently producing oil and gas in Idaho’s Treasure Valley, Alta Mesa, may request Safe Drinking Water Act exemptions of precious, water aquifers for its injection well program, and use already drilled, shut-in, (and defective?), hydrocarbon wells in Payette County, such as the DJS 2-14 well [5].

“Injection wells – which involve the high-pressure, underground dumping of millions of gallons of frack wastewater, which contains toxins, carcinogens, and other chemicals – cause earthquakes, can contaminate drinking water, and bring other environmental and public health impacts” [6].  In Oklahoma, insurance policies neither covered nor did anything to assist residents and businesses suffering huge losses from earthquakes, because the jolts were created by the oil and gas industry injecting massive quantities of wastewater and ‘produced’ water, laced with heavy salts, toxic chemicals, and radioactivity, directly into their aquifer, drinking water sources.  “In a normal year – that is, in almost any before 2009 – the state only saw one or two quakes.  It now experiences one to two quakes per day.  In 2015, it endured 857 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or higher, more than struck the rest of the lower 48 states combined” [7].  The EPA, Pulitzer Prize-winning journal ProPublica, popular videos, and others have all documented the inherent risks of Class II injection wells [8, 9].

Based on decades of observations and interactions with Idaho agencies and natural resource issues, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists do not necessarily agree that Idaho regulations would protect clean air, water, and lands, potentially degraded by Class II, oil and gas waste injection wells, better than federal agencies like the EPA [10].  But together, we, the people of Idaho, should not condone any local, state, or federal government or private company overturning the ongoing ban on Class II injection wells in Idaho, and thus let corporate forces once again elevate the rights of fossil fuel companies over the communities they violate with innumerable, significant harms.  WIRT suspects that any agency permitting Class II, waste injection wells could open the toxic floodgates for oil and gas well stimulation treatments like hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Idaho, and its profuse use and pollution of our relatively pristine water.  In the high-desert environment of the rapidly growing, Treasure Valley population, where communities depend on clean water-based agriculture and recreation for their economic sustenance, we cannot afford to risk or waste underground water supplies also challenged by a warming, drying climate.

KEEP THE BAN ON EARTHQUAKE-INDUCING, WATER-POLLUTING, CLASS II, OIL & GAS WASTE INJECTION WELLS IN IDAHO! Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Sandpoint Megaload, Idaho Oil & Gas Royalties & Injection Wells, Washington Amtrak Derailment, Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal Recommendation, Diminished Train Safety Rules, Tacoma LNG Plant Blockades 12-20-17


The Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news and reflections on a recent, Sandpoint megaload, Idaho oil and gas royalties and waste injection wells, a Washington Amtrak derailment worsened by absent federal regulations, the final Tesoro Savage oil terminal report and recommendation, oil train safety rules diminished by the Trump administration, and three blockades of a proposed, Tacoma, liquefied natural gas facility. Broadcast for almost 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: Poet Rob Lewis on Language about Protecting Nature, Olympia Fracking Sands Blockade, Tacoma Protests of LNG Port, Tesoro Anacortes Refinery Expansion, Idaho Oil & Gas Waste Wells 12-13-17


The Wednesday, December 13, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features a conversation with poet, activist, house painter, and musician Rob Lewis, about current opportunities to influence political discourse with fresh language about protecting sacred Nature, as demonstrated by indigenous people articulating respectful narratives. We also offer updates and reflections on the Olympia, fracking sands train blockade, Tacoma direct actions and jury trials of opponents of liquefied natural gas facility construction, permit approval and resistance to Tesoro expansion of its Anacortes, petrochemical refinery, and transfer of regulation of Idaho oil and gas waste injection wells. Broadcast for almost 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 rejection of fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Army Corps & PRDC Meeting on Highway 95 Wetlands, Newport Silicon Smelter Resistance, Olympia Solidarity Sabotage Actions, Idaho Oil & Gas Injection Wells 12-6-17


The Wednesday, December 6, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features a recording of the December 5, Moscow, public meeting among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Idaho Transportation Department, and Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, about wetlands potentially impacted by Highway 95 expansion south of Moscow. We also share news and reflections on indigenous and local resistance to a proposed, Newport, Washington, silicon smelter, three West Coast, railroad sabotage actions in solidarity with the Olympia, fracking sands train blockade, and struggles among state and federal regulation of oil and gas waste injection wells in Idaho. Broadcast for almost 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: Olympia Fracking Sand Train Blockaders, Vancouver Oil Terminal Denial Recommendation, Newport Silicon Smelter Hearing, Montana Valve Turner Felony Conviction 11-29-17


The Wednesday, November 29, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features a recording of indigenous and allied, frontline activists at the Olympia, fracking sands train track blockade and camp. We also share news and reflections on the Washington state agency recommendation to Governor Inslee to reject the Tesoro Savage, Vancouver, oil train terminal, a public hearing about a proposed, Newport, Washington, silicon smelter, and the Montana, felony conviction of tar sands pipeline valve turner Leonard Higgins. Broadcast for almost 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: Tesoro Savage Oil Terminal Final Review & Meeting, Newport Silicon Smelter Hearings, Olympia Frack Sand Train Blockade, Montana Valve Turner Trials, Keystone 1 Pipeline Leak, Nebraska Keystone XL Approval, George Monbiot on Climate Change & Capitalism 11-22-17


The Wednesday, November 22, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features a recording of British, progressive, political thinker and Guardian columnist George Monbiot, talking about why climate change goes deeper than capitalism.  We also share news and reflections about the final environmental review and Olympia meeting on the Tesoro Savage oil train terminal, public hearings about a proposed, Newport, Washington, silicon smelter, a second, Olympia blockade of frack sand train tracks, the mock and real, Montana, climate trials of tar sands pipeline valve turner Leonard Higgins, a Keystone 1 pipeline leak in South Dakota, and Nebraska approval of an alternative, Keystone XL pipeline route.  Broadcast for almost 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: George Monbiot on Climate Change Causes, Fourth Coal Terminal Permit Denial, Spokane Ballot Initiative on Fossil Fuel Trains, Montana Valve Turner Trials, Sandpoint Energy & Jobs Panel 11-15-17


The Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features a recording of British, progressive, political thinker and Guardian columnist George Monbiot, talking about why climate change goes deeper than capitalism.  We also share news and reflections on a fourth permit denial for the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export-by-rail facility, the Safer Spokane, Proposition 2, ballot initiative regulating fossil fuel trains, a climate necessity defense mock trial for a Montana tar sands pipeline valve turner, and a Republican-led, panel discussion about climate change, energy, and jobs in Sandpoint.  Broadcast for five and a half 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.

Fifth Anniversary Coal Train Protests


Please join climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and regional allies for Fifth Anniversary Coal Train Protests on Friday, November 10, from 4 to 6 pm, at the North Division & Ruby Streets ‘V’ in Spokane, Washington, and on Saturday, November 11, from 2 to 4 pm, meeting at Farmin Park to protest elsewhere in Sandpoint, Idaho. Dress warmly and bring your friends, family, neighbors, voices, drums, musical instruments, and signs and banners addressing coal, fossil fuel, and railroad industry impacts on people, places, and the planet. WIRT will provide pizza, beverages, and safe, direct action opportunities at these public demonstrations commemorating the first, November 2012, coal train and terminal protest in Sandpoint, organized by Moscow, Sandpoint, and Spokane activists [1, 2].

Since 2010, the shared resistance of Northwesterners to dozens of proposals for new and expanded fossil fuel infrastructure and transportation projects has halted six planned, coal export train terminals in Boardman, Clatskanie, and Coos Bay, Oregon, and Cherry Point, Hoquiam, and Longview, Washington. In the last few months, the Washington departments of Ecology and Natural Resources have denied essential permits to the proposed, Millennium Bulk Terminals coal transfer facility in Longview [3, 4]. In response, Millennium has filed multiple lawsuits against Washington agencies, and continues to seek county and state land use permits, while a coalition of citizens and conservation groups participates in local, public hearings and celebrations of the company’s likely defeat in this epic, regional struggle against dirty, dangerous coal, to protect healthy air, water, climate, and communities.

But in eastern Washington, north Idaho, and western Montana during 2017, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), Montana Rail Link (MRL), and Union Pacific Railroad have caused eight catastrophic derailments and collisions with resulting deaths, injuries, and destruction, spilled and polluted the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille River watershed with grain, coal, and track washout-released, smelter slurry, dumped additional coal and imposed fire hazards from combusted coal on adjacent communities, through damaging and delayed, wreck clean-ups, spewed ongoing coal dust and diesel emissions from six-plus, empty and fully loaded, daily, coal trains, consequently and cumulatively risking and harming community and environmental health and safety [5-11].

On the summer 2017, Idaho Panhandle, fossil fuels frontline and sacrifice zone, BNSF and Union Pacific constructed double tracks along much of their routes between the Canadian and Montana borders with Idaho and Spokane, Washington [12]. BNSF ran noisy, smoky, pile load tests with a huge crane and heavy equipment, near the popular, recreation area of Dog Beach Park south of Sandpoint, Idaho, in preparation for the keystone project of its regional, railroad corridor expansion: a proposed, second, parallel, 4800-foot-long, rail bridge that could carry more coal, oil, and hazardous materials trains (the Northwest pipelines-on-wheels) over Lake Pend Oreille to Salish Sea refineries and a Vancouver, B.C., coal export terminal [13]. The relentless observations and documentations of WIRT activists, contributing to the #IDoiltrainwatch and #WAoiltrainwatch over several years, by monitoring westbound, unit, coal and oil trains traversing downtown Sandpoint, suggest that BNSF may be planning to build (over our blockading bodies) a second lake span to alleviate the westward bottleneck of increased, Bakken shale oil and Powder River Basin coal train traffic, like the MRL coal trains frequently seen and heard idling for hours, near the trackside, regional, lake water intake and purification plant at the Sandpoint-Ponderay, Idaho, boundary, awaiting eastside access to the current (but soon also doubled), single-track, BNSF rail line through downtown Sandpoint and over the lake bridge [14, 15]. Continue reading