University of Idaho students and regional activists with Wild Idaho Rising Tide marched across the UI campus in Moscow at midday on April 20th to display their opposition to the ExxonMobil transports planned for Idaho roads and bound for Alberta tar sands development. As part of the international Day of Action Against Extraction, north central Idahoans joined thousands of climate justice activists marking the anniversary of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico with public demonstrations and direct actions.
In solidarity with communities and ecosystems devastated by corporate extraction of fossil fuels and public natural resources, the dozen protesters carried signs saying, “Stop the Megaloads” and “Big Oil Has the Right-of-Way.” Their banners were strung on ropes between them that illustrated the 208-foot length and 24-foot width of the colossal oil company megaloads that could travel Highways 12 and 95.
Student members of the UI Oxfam and Environmental clubs, Corrie Ellis and Danie Merriman, said, “We feel we are representing university and Moscow students, and we are not O.K. with big business running over our town and us not having a voice in this matter. We are ready to be heard.”
Lee Spencer, a fisherman against tar sands exploitation, noted that, “My family and I have fished and lived on the Lochsa River for generations. It is a sacred place. It is not a corridor to facilitate the destruction of Alberta and the entire biosphere.”
The rally participants also voiced their displeasure with multi-national, dirty energy industries that sacrifice clean air, water, and lands and human health for their tax-free profits. Lewis-Clark State College Business Division lecturer Leslie Rist emphasized that, “It’s not nice to rape Mother Nature. Big Oil isn’t good business.”
The newly formed group is planning another march and rally on May 11th, when the Idaho Transportation Department and Imperial Oil, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, will hold an interactive public meeting in Moscow. Many citizens and city officials have expressed concerns about the dozens of oversized shipments the oil company has proposed to move on Highway 95 through Moscow.