Idaho Gas Drilling: New Activity Raises Community Concerns

Bridge Energy is the first company to drill in Idaho during the current wave of gas exploration. It is concentrating its efforts in Payette County.

This is high desert land covered in corn, wheat and barley that rolls along as far as the eye can see. This is also where seven of Bridge Energy’s wells are ready to produce once a pipeline and processing facility come on line.

Access the entire story with a map, photos, and audio/video files: Idaho Gas Drilling: New Activity Raises Community Concerns

(By Aaron Kunz, Boise State Public Radio/Idaho Public Television)

(Link provided by Pat Rathmann)

Smaller Imperial Oil Shipments Set for Transport this Weekend

Some of ExxonMobil's modules sit along the Clearwater River at the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, in early February 2011 (Missoulian/Linda Thompson photo).

More king-size loads of oil field equipment are headed to the Kearl tar sands of Alberta this weekend, and the route comes through Missoula on Interstate 90.

The Idaho Transportation Department has given Exxon Mobil/Imperial Oil the green light for two oversized loads to leave the Port of Lewiston and use U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 to enter into Montana over Lookout Pass.  Idaho state troopers will escort the loads on the 175-mile trip to the stateline.

Smaller than the megaloads that used U.S. Highway 12 through Idaho and into Montana, the loads traveling this weekend are 17.5 feet wide, 14 feet tall, and 76 feet long.

One load will be leaving at 10 p.m. Saturday.  The other will depart at the same time Sunday.

While the oil company prepared its equipment for travel on Friday, Idaho activists geared up to protest the trucks.

Read more: Smaller Imperial Oil Shipments Set for Transport this Weekend

(By Alyse Backus, intern reporter, The Missoulian, Ravalli Republic)

Comment Period Extension for Port of Lewiston Expansion

With the possibility that Imperial Oil could ship megaloads up either or both highways coursing north from the Port of Lewiston, our public resource interests would best be served by constraining the capacity of the port to accept and store oil company modules at its facilities.  After all, it was the hearty welcome to the port by the Mega-ho governor and congressional delegation that foisted this looming industrial corridor hell upon us.  The good news is that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), who must consider any dock extension permit requested by the port due to its forays into public waters, has extended the public comment period another thirty days until August 22, 2011, perhaps due to our collective insistence.  So if you have not commented yet (perhaps due to WIRT’s late notice: Sorry!) or if you commented only on the overarching megaload situation encouraging port expansion (as detailed in Fighting Goliath’s forwarded talking points: Thanks!), you now have an (additional) opportunity to dissect and denounce the technical intricacies of the port’s expansion plan.  WIRT hopes to provide more information about these items later.  However, the bad news is that the Corps did not (yet!) offer public hearings addressing this port proposal, as many of us requested, and that the Port now also proposes laying foot-deep gravel on ten acres “to allow for additional storage area for equipment and miscellaneous products delivered to the port” (likely more megaloads).  Please see the brief public notice/permit application/project proposal, Port of Lewiston Expansion Permit Application, and WIRT’s submitted Port of Lewiston Permit Application Comments.  Send your comments about Application NWW-2010-213-Wpr (note different number) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at

(From WIRT Newsletter)

// activist toolkit v.2

A few resources for “getting the goods” (aka non-violent direct action) within the safety of your own affinity group:


(Crimethinc. Workers Collective)

(Ruckus Society)

Port of Lewiston Expansion Plan Comments due Friday, July 22

The Port of Lewiston has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to expand their dock facilities into the Clearwater River.  The Port is proposing this expansion explicitly to increase its capacity to accommodate larger equipment and oversize cargo, likely more oil-processing megaloads that haulers could transport on U.S. Highway 12 and/or U.S. Highway 95 and onward to the interstate system and the Alberta tar sands.  As a tax-payer funded project that could receive support amid ubiquitous budget crises, the expansion may also encourage later silt dredging in front of Port terminals and/or raising of the Lewiston dikes to offset possible flooding aided by ongoing silt accumulations.  Further discharge of dredged and fill materials into the river could adversely impact water quality.  This potential Port enhancement could also simultaneously buttress the economic viability of the four lower Snake River dams while further jeopardizing the recovery and restoration of wild salmonid and other fish populations in the Clearwater Basin.  All of these consequent conditions could precipitate myriad negative socioeconomic and ecological effects in our region.

Unless the Corps grants an extension, the 30-day public comment period for the Port’s expansion plan expires on Friday, July 22.  Please ask for an extension of the comment deadline that currently deters many regional residents who travel during the summer months from submitting comments.  Demand a series of public hearings in Lewiston and the affected highway corridor cities, during which public officials could share information and accept input.  Also tell Corps decision makers that the current environmental assessment for the Port’s plan is inadequate and that an environmental impact statement should be prepared to study the cumulative impacts of this project.  See the Port of Lewiston Expansion Permit Application and consider utilizing some or all of the preceding and following talking points provided by our allies All Against the Haul, Fighting Goliath, and Friends of the Clearwater.  Send your emailed concerns to the Army Corps of Engineers at or your mailed written comments to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Idaho Falls Regulatory Field Office

900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite A

Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402-1700 Continue reading

// injunction granted

Missoula County Judge Ray J. Dayton granted a preliminary injunction halting the shipment of over-dimension loads along the Kearl Module Tranport Project (KMTP) route over Lolo Pass.

Read the decision by following the link below:

Although this represents a clear victory for those who have sought to stop the shipments along the HWY 12 Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, the language of the document makes no specific mention of the proposed US 95 to I 90 route. The recent shipment of equipment through Moscow, ID along US 95 indicates that the transport of these modules could in the future continue along this revised route. But, there is another obstacle compounding these modules transportation problems – a construction project currently underway on I 90. For now, the shipments may have been stopped. Stay tuned for further updates on Idaho’s and Montana’s permitting of over-sized loads destined for Alberta using this alternate route.

Recent Development

According to the Lewiston Morning Tribune (quoting MDT legal council Dave Ohler):

“If Imperial Oil is successful in getting paperwork reissued in Idaho and issued in Montana, road construction on Interstate 90 and Interstate 15 won’t be an obstacle…”

– from

// activist toolkit v.1

For those of you wanting to get plugged-in to tracking the US 95 and I 90 megaload shipments, here are a few resources to follow:

(Kearl Project Transportation Website)

(ITD Press Releases)

(Drive Our Economy)

Megaload Ready to Roll through Moscow

Permits reissued but final date not set

Imperial Oil has five days starting Friday to get a megaload and another smaller, oversized shipment from the Port of Lewiston to Idaho’s border via the Palouse.

The Idaho Transportation Department reissued the permits Wednesday for the moves, said Adam Rush, a spokesman for the agency in Boise.

The 23-foot-wide, 208-foot-long, 13 1/2-foot-tall shipment will be inspected and weighed today, but its exact date of departure hasn’t been set yet, according to Rush and Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman for Imperial Oil. Continue reading

Five Arrested and Released in Helena Protest against Big Oil

HELENA – About 70 protesters thundered into the state Capitol on Tuesday, banging on plastic pails and chanting slogans in opposition to the planned Keystone XL pipeline – which is slated to carry crude oil from the Alberta tar sands through Montana – and the megaloads of oil-drilling equipment destined for Alberta.

…Many were associated with Northern Rockies Rising Tide, a group that opposes development of the Alberta tar sands, which critics have said will have significant negative environmental effects.

…Helen Yost of Moscow, Idaho, stood and invited the group to her town, where she said megaloads would be coming. “We’re going to stop them, any way we can,” she said, to cheers.

(By Sanjay Talwani, Independent Record, Helena, Montana, article in Missoulian)

Read more: Five Arrested and Released in Helena Protest against Big Oil