// action 8.25.11

(Ed. Note: This footage was originally posted on YouTube by a critic. I believe an open dialog is essential to advancing an honest dialog between the various stakeholders involved. Misinformation and disinformation need to be addressed on both sides so that an understanding of the facts can be attained.)

Information is the Key

“The future path of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada will depend on a number of factors including: government actions, technological change, the growth in the economy, and developments in energy markets. Without incorporating the impacts of future government measures that have not yet been specified, the projections presented in this report are based on expectations of the evolution of key economic and energy drivers (such as the world oil price, gross domestic product, and population growth) derived from a variety of authoritative sources. However, as with any projection of this type, the likely outcome associated with each specific driver is subject to a high degree of uncertainty. As such, the emissions scenarios presented here should be seen as representative of a number of possible greenhouse gas emissions outcomes to 2020, depending on economic and other developments, as well as future government measures.”

(Ed. Note: Specific mention is made of the impacts due to the expansion of tar sands development on p24-27. GHG emissions are projected to rise in Canada in part because of increases in the exploitation of bitumen as a source of unconventional oil.)

– from Environment Canada report “Canada’s Emission Trends” released July 2011

The Stakes

“Canada’s boreal region contains one-quarter of the world’s remaining original forests. It is home to a rich array of wildlife including migratory songbirds, waterfowl, bears, wolves and the world’s largest caribou herds. Canada’s boreal is a major part of the global boreal region that encircles the Earth’s northern hemisphere, storing more freshwater in its wetlands and lakes and more carbon in its trees, soil, and peat than anywhere else on the planet. The Canadian boreal forest is also the location of one of the world’s largest deposits of oil – Alberta’s oil sands.

With conventional oil reserves in North America in steady decline, Alberta’s oil sands have begun to attract significant attention, both locally and internationally. Currently, the majority of oil sands production comes from open-pit mining facilities, and it is these shovel and truck operations that most people have come to associate with oil sands development. The mining zone currently extends across approximately 3,300 km2 of northern Alberta and, when fully developed, will likely qualify as the world’s largest open-pit mining complex.

What is not well known is that only a fraction of the total available oil sands deposits are close enough to the surface to be mined. The bulk of the established reserves (81%) must be extracted using in situ techniques.”

(Ed. Note: Canada’s boreal region extends beyond the proposed oil sands extraction sites and comprises almost 60% of the country’s land area.)

“… [I]n situ development of Alberta’s oil sands will result in unprecedented impacts to Alberta’s forests and pose grave risks to regional wildlife populations. Existing in situ leases already total 3.6 million ha (hectares), which is more than ten times the size of the mineable oil sands region. To put this in perspective, we are talking of an intensive industrial use zone larger than Vancouver Island. If existing leases are subjected to the same industrial footprint as the Long Lake project then 296,000 ha of forest will be cleared for SAGD infrastructure and over 30,000 km of access roads will be built. Furthermore, new leases continue to be awarded at a rapid pace, and new technologies for extracting less accessible reserves are continually being developed. If the entire area underlain by oil sands is eventually developed, in situ infrastructure could impact almost 14 million hectares of forest – a land area the size of Florida.”

– from “Death by a Thousand Cuts: Impacts of In Situ Oil Sands Development on Alberta’s Boreal Forest”

More reports are forthcoming.

The Planet They Will Inherit from Us

Arrested tar sands megaload protester and WIRT activist Vince Murray

Vince Murray, Moscow

Moscow-Pullman Daily News 9/5/11

My grandmother, my father’s mother, lived into her mid-90s, living for most of the 20th century and for a little more than a decade of the 19th century. She was a wonderful person who endured much during her long life, but as she neared the end she always referred to two events that she felt best summed up her time here on earth.

She loved to say to me, “Vincey, when I was young I rode into Yosemite Valley on a wagon pulled by horses over a rough dirt road. Years later, I watched a television as a man walked on the moon.” That change in the technology of travel astonished her, and it said something profound to her about the changes one person can experience in a lifetime. The slow pace of a life dependent upon dirt roads and horses suddenly converted to a life where rockets and computers and televisions were things taken for granted. Continue reading

Exercise in ‘Pure Stupidity’

Doyle McClure, Colfax

Moscow-Pullman Daily News 9/3/11

Comparisons of Joshua Yeidel’s tightly crafted letter “Superficial editorial” (about 3 column inches) and Henry Johnston’s flat-earth rant, “An ‘asinine exercise in pure stupidity’ ” (about 20 column inches), on the Aug. 30 Daily News Opinion page, clearly show that “less can be more.” Though unintended, the latter also clearly demonstrates an “asinine exercise in pure stupidity.” Continue reading

Megaload Protest Was Righteous

Jodie A. Ficca, Moscow

Moscow-Pullman Daily News 9/2/11

I am writing in reply to the editorial in the weekend Daily News (August 27 & 28), “Protestors fighting the wrong fight in Moscow.”

It is a brave endeavor, apparently, to actually speak out in support of keeping Moscow and many other towns and cities along the megaload route undamaged. There is a reason those megaloads are being driven through town after midnight. Exxon/Mobile is very aware that what they are doing has a negative impact on the people and the land they travel through as well as their destination. They are ignoring citizens’ rights to deny access to their property by an entity that is damaging to that property as well as other roads and highways. The citizens have a right to refuse to enable that negative impact. Continue reading

No Shortage of Cops as Another Megaload Rolls through Moscow

Police chief says no arrests were made this time

MOSCOW – Amid a police presence of nearly 30 officers, an estimated 200 demonstrators lined both sides of Washington Street here just after midnight Thursday as an Imperial Oil/Exxon Mobil megaload slipped through the gauntlet with ease.

Police Chief David Duke reported no arrests. “We had four that were warned, but they complied.”

Last week, six demonstrators were arrested and jailed after a megaload was forced to a stop. Continue reading

Global Warming Worth Going to Jail Over

20-year climate activist and WIRT co-founder Rob Briggs

Rob Briggs, Pullman

Moscow-Pullman Daily News 9/2/11

Normally, I would feel mortified learning that my arrest and incarceration had made front-page news in my local paper (Daily News, August 23). But last Tuesday, I looked forward to telling my mother, who agrees that global warming is worth going to jail over.

My charge was failure to leave the “postcard area” in front of the White House until the Park Police agreed to arrest me. I was guilty as a dog and prepared to admit it. After two days in jail, I was released without charge. Continue reading

ExxonMobil Megaload with Police and Tar Sand Protestors in Moscow, Idaho 8-31-11

ImperialOil/ExxonMobil’s ninth megaload on Highway 95, the second largest shipment to date, measuring 24 feet wide, 14 feet high, and 193 feet long and weighing 323,000 pounds, rolled through Moscow around midnight.  But ensuing events were radically different from the previous protest on August 25-26, which resulted in six arrests.  Moscow police constrained expressions of free speech and assembly by not allowing protesters to step into the street and not giving any second warnings before making arrests for which they were over-prepared.

(Video and heavily edited text provided by a megaload proponent)