Protesters Call Trimming Root of Evil

Project to make way for oil refinery equipment traveling on U.S. 95

Moscow Parks and Recreation staff and T.R.E. Tree Services were shadowed Monday by protesters condemning the trimming of 18 trees along Washington Street to make room for the transport of two loads of refinery equipment by Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil up U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 to its Kearl Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada.

T.R.E., contracting with the oil company, was granted the tree trimming permit Friday by Parks and Recreation, which oversaw the work that started at 9 a.m. Monday and finished around 1:20 p.m.

A small number of protesters, many affiliated with the grassroots conservation group Wild Idaho Rising Tide, came out to protest the city’s allowance of the trimming, which they said would encourage many more oversized loads to make their way to the tar sands project, which they see as a pending ecological disaster, using Moscow as an industrial corridor. Continue reading

Tar Sands Project an Ecological Disaster

Jean M. Chapman

Moscow-Pullman Daily News 6/28/11

There are two commercials on television touting how we “have all the natural gas we need right here in North America.” We probably do, but at what cost to our rivers, land and air?

We all follow the megaloads that are going and proposed to go through our area. This equipment is going up into northeastern Alberta and to the Athabasca oil sands. Why there? This is where Trans-Canada Oil is mining the tar sands. It is mined in two ways: Either by strip or open pit mining, or injecting steam deep into the earth to make the tars increase their fluidity, so that they can be pumped to the surface.

Tar sands are a mixture of clay, sand, water and bitumen – a heavy, black, viscous oil. In the process, cadmium, iron, lead, mercury and arsenic are released into the soil. Large amounts of hydrogen sulfide enter the atmosphere, the gas that gives Yellowstone geothermal features the “rotten-egg” smell. This one operation is the largest contributor to Canadian greenhouse gases. Continue reading

Hearing Officer Recommends OK for Megaloads

More than 200 megaloads of Korean-made oil equipment bound for Canada should be given the go-ahead to roll across northern Idaho’s scenic U.S. Highway 12, an Idaho state hearing officer ruled Monday.

Retired state Judge Duff McKee, in a 63-page ruling, discounted every protest against the megaloads from a group of residents and business owners along the twisting, two-lane highway, from safety to business interruptions to environmental harm.  His ruling is a recommendation to the Idaho Transportation Department; there’s still an opportunity for motions for reconsideration, a process that could take weeks more.

“I conclude there was no error in procedure on the part of ITD in the issuance of the permit in this case, or any other basis to interfere with the executive determinations of the department in issuing the permits in this case,” McKee wrote in his ruling.

Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil wants to ship more than 200 giant loads of oil field equipment across the Idaho highway, en route from the Port of Lewiston to the Alberta oil sands.  The loads are so large that they’ll block both lanes of the two-lane road, creating a rolling roadblock.

Read more: Hearing Officer Recommends OK for Megaloads

(By Betsy Russell, The Spokesman-Review)

Megaloads to Roll through Valley

COEUR d’ALENE – En route to northern Alberta, two “megaload” tractor-trailers will soon be passing through Coeur d’Alene.

And despite assurances from oil company spokesmen, local environmentalists are concerned about accidents and delays.

On Friday, the Idaho Transportation Department issued a pair of oversized-load permits that will allow Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil to transport large oil equipment on U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90. Continue reading

Activists Protest Oil Sands, Oversized Loads

About a dozen protesters weren’t discouraged Saturday by the news that the Idaho Transportation Department will soon allow at least two oversized loads of oil refinery equipment to travel through Moscow on U.S. Highway 95.

Members of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) organized the demonstration that began mid-morning where Southview Avenue meets the highway south of downtown Moscow.  Protesters marched north on the highway through the city while carrying a 208-foot-long rope outline of one of the loads, which in real life is 23 feet wide, 208 feet long, 13.6 feet tall, and weighs 410,300 pounds.

The Idaho Transportation Department issued two permits Friday for Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil to transport the loads from the Port of Lewiston into Montana via U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 beginning June 27.  The equipment is destined for the company’s oil sands project in Alberta, Canada. Continue reading

Global Protests Against Tar Sands

One day after the Idaho Transportation Department green lighted two mega-loads to travel through Idaho toward the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, protests against the controversial Canadian project will be staged across the globe.

Scores of protests are scheduled for London, Copenhagen, Vienna, 11 Canadian cities, and 25 cities in the United States.  A group calling itself Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will be protesting in Moscow, where at least two of the mega-loads will roll by later this month.

Read more: Global Protests Against Tar Sands

(By George Prentice, Boise Weekly)

WIRT Comments to the City of Moscow on Highway 95 Megaloads

Stephanie Kalasz, City Clerk

Moscow City Hall

206 East Third Street

P.O. Box 9203

Moscow, Idaho 83843

Attachment: WIRT Comments to Moscow Sustainable Environment Commission

Ms. Kalasz,

At the June 15, 2011, special topic session of the Sustainable Environment Commission (SEC), Chair Scott Fedale requested that you circulate to SEC members the attached comments respectfully submitted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT).  City Councilman Tim Brown also expressed his interest in obtaining an electronic version of this document.  We ask that you also share this email message, attachment, and following video link with not only SEC commissioners but with all City Council members and our mayor, Nancy Chaney, as well as city staff who are assessing oil company proposals to transport oversized loads of tar sands equipment (“megaloads”) along Highway 95 through Moscow to the Kearl Oil Sands Project in northern Alberta.

Moscow residents and officials have diligently worked together over the years to build a community that both envisions and embodies the most fundamental and far-reaching principles of sustainability, as we meet the present needs of Moscovites without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  Our shared, enlightened vision for the continuing health of the landscapes that surround and sustain us is evident in the many innovative and effective “green” programs and initiatives that the city has sponsored, such as the Sustainable Environment and Tree commissions.  We all enjoy the benefits of our city’s extensive open spaces and parks, beautiful tree-lined streets, handsome historic buildings, and economically vibrant downtown, as well as our enthusiasm for diverse arts, cultures, and education and our strong community spirit. Continue reading

Activists Plan Rally Against Megaloads Saturday

MOSCOW – Activists from Wild Idaho Rising Tide will conduct a rally Saturday against megaloads.

Regional residents are invited to join WIRT for the rally at 10:30 am at the gravel parking lot just north of the Palouse River Drive and U.S. Highway 95 intersection. Organizers plan to employ banners, signs, musical instruments, voices, and a megaload-sized rope outline.

The group will make a two-mile march along the length of the megaload route through Moscow. They can be joined anywhere along the way. The group will conclude its march at the gravel lot on North Main Street at about 12:30 pm.

(By The Lewiston Tribune)

// public hearing

Release from the Moscow Sustainable Environment Commission:

At the request of Mayor Chaney, and in accordance with our mission as a city commission (“to solicit advice and information about sound environmental management practices for promoting the public health and safety of the citizens of Moscow”), the City of Moscow’s Sustainable Environment Commission is holding an additional opportunity for public input on the potential impact of the megaloads passage through Moscow on our environment–people, infrastructure, businesses, and community life.

The meeting will be conducted as a Public Forum for the SEC to hear from a broader public prior to the SEC making any recommendations to the City Council on this issue. In an effort to hear from as many people as possible, we plan to limit individual statements to 3 minutes. We realize this is a short period of time, but we are choosing to err on the side of hearing from as many citizens as possible during our 2-hour time period. The hearing will take place on June 15, in the City Council Chambers, from 7-9 p.m.

Wednesday, June 15 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm

City of Moscow Council Chambers

206 E Third St

Moscow, Idaho