First Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide

Please print on spring-colored paper and post liberally...

All are welcome at the First Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), a Moscow group whose exuberant activism confronts the root causes of climate change.  On Saturday, March 31, WIRT’s one-year anniversary, revel in a benefit concert by Jeanne McHale and Corn Mash along with a potluck, beer and wine, and a slide show and videos to savor successes.  Participate in a parade through downtown with the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band, gathering by 7 pm in Friendship Square and joining the festivities at the 1912 Center Great Room at 412 East Third Street in Moscow, Idaho.  For $5 or greater voluntary admission/raffle donations, enjoy home-cooked food and no-host drinks provided by community members and businesses from 7 pm until midnight, politically-charged music by Jeanne McHale and friends between 7:30 and 8:30 pm, and the invigorating, danceable songs of Corn Mash from 9 pm to midnight.  For further information or to offer event support, contact or 208-301-8039.

Thanks to a member’s donation of 40 off-white, large T-shirts, WIRT will offer the displayed limited edition, collectors’ item design at our First Annual Celebration on Saturday, March 31.  We have reserved complimentary shirts for each of the 12 arrestees and the rest for purchase by Moscow area protesters, to be worn as honorable badges of intense, shared courage and history.  After vigilant activists deservedly receive the originals, we may print a second batch of megaload protest or organizational logo T-shirts, so please contact WIRT soon to request some of these $20 shirts.

Port of Lewiston Expansion Comments due Friday Night

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) extended the deadline until March 30, 2012, for public comments about the environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) analyses of the proposed Port of Lewiston Dock Expansion and Storage Area Development.  This project specifically aims to accommodate larger cargo on a regular basis, like the Alberta tar sands megaloads that have invaded and damaged Highway 95, Moscow streets, and Highway 12 through the Wild and Scenic Lochsa-Clearwater river corridor.  Together, north central Idahoans have prevented and protested these transports on our roads; let’s flood the Walla Walla Corps offices with letters of continuing resistance and block megaloads in Idaho at their point of arrival.  Please write a few paragraphs to Corps officials, urging decision makers to choose the “No Action” Alternative 1 before midnight on Friday evening.  Ask your friends, co-workers, and family members to pen their opinions, too.  For suggestions of key points to include in your letter to the Corps, please peruse WIRT’s formal July 22 Port of Lewiston Permit Application Comments and consider the following arguments suggested by Fighting Goliath and Friends of the Clearwater.  Also see the Port of Lewiston category on the WIRT website for a recent project summary and government document links, additional talking points, and related news articles. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Dirty Energy Activists 3-26-12

The Monday, March 26, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will feature local activists talking about Moscow and Spokane Democracy Schools led by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, resulting initiatives, and YOUR insights on dirty energy resistance in Moscow and beyond.  Please call 208-892-9200 between 7:30 and 9:00 pm PDT, as we also cover news about recent tar sands protests in Cushing, Oklahoma, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and upcoming actions in Spokane, Helena, and elsewhere.  Listen to the show online at KRFP Radio Free Moscow or at 92.5 FM and adopt WIRT as your KRFP DJ!

Controversial Oil/Gas Drilling Bill, HB 464, Signed into Law

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho ― Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed the bill restricting local control over the natural gas industry, putting the finishing touches to a measure that launched the Senate’s ethics investigation into Senator Monty Pearce.  The law, HB 464, went into effect Friday, forbidding local governments from enacting ordinances to prohibit gas drilling.  From now on, Idaho cities and counties can’t require exploration companies to secure conditional use permits for their projects.  Though the bill cleared the House and Senate on wide margins, it created a sensation in the 2012 Legislature when Democrats accused Pearce of not disclosing a conflict of interest.  Pearce has leased land to Snake River Oil and Gas, the company behind the bill.  He didn’t disclose his leases publicly until the final vote.  Wednesday, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed the complaint.

(By Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise, The Spokesman Review)

Gasland Rancher John Fenton in Idaho

On Monday, March 19, in Weiser, and on Tuesday, March 20, in Fruitland, the Idaho Organizing Project of the Western Organization of Resource Councils and Oregon Rural Action hosted guest speaker John Fenton of Pavillion, Wyoming, the rancher and chair of the Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens featured in the Gasland documentary.  Throughout two informative evenings of free, public presentations, John talked about his and his neighbors’ personal experiences and their direct struggles against the negative aspects of living in the middle of oil and gas fracking development on their ranches and in their community.  See a brief video of John explaining how his peers organized themselves and recruited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a seminal study of their ground water.

(Link provided by Liz Amason)

Idaho Senate Democrats Decry ‘Unpleasant Ordeal’ of Pearce Ethics Process

The Senate ethics investigation into Senator Monty Pearce is over – as a bipartisan committee voted unanimously to drop a conflict-of-interest complaint.

But the hard feelings linger.

In a news release this morning, Senate Democrats complain that they were saddled with an unreasonable burden of proof. They say they were told to prove that Pearce, R-New Plymouth, would derive direct and unusual financial benefit from oil and gas leases from the process.

Committee Republicans and Democrats closed the process with an agreement that potential conflicts should be disclosed sooner in the legislative process – not on the Senate floor, before a final vote on legislation, as Pearce did last week.

Read more: Idaho Senate Democrats Decry ‘Unpleasant Ordeal’ of Pearce Ethics Process

(By Kevin Richert, The Idaho Statesman)

Foes of Megaloads Face the Music

Helen Yost

MOSCOW – The last megaloads have reportedly passed through downtown here, leaving behind 11 misdemeanor court cases against people who protested shipment of infrastructure equipment to Canadian oil fields.

Last to plead innocent to two allegations was Helen Yost, 54, of Moscow. Yost, spokeswoman for Wild Idaho Rising Tide and an organizer of the months-long protests, appeared in Latah County Court here Wednesday morning.

She is charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly throwing a sign at a megaload and attempted battery of a Moscow police officer. She and two other demonstrators, Cass Davis, 47, and James Prall, 67, both of Moscow, have pretrial conferences set for April 3, according to court records.

Davis and Prall were arrested March 4 during a protest and charged with resisting, or obstructing police for allegedly refusing to stay out of the roadway when oversize loads were moving through town on Washington Street. Yost received citations for her actions two nights later, after she publicly admitted that she threw a sign and “air-kicked the transports and their police escorts out of town.” Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Lowell Chandler & Jace Bylenga 3-19-12

On the Monday, March 19, Climate Justice Forum radio program, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists will talk with Lowell Chandler of the Blue Skies group in Missoula, Montana, and Jace Bylenga of Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper in Sandpoint, Idaho, about the impacts of coal trains bound for Asian export at West Coast ports on the residents, land, water, and air along the tracks as well as ongoing citizen initiatives to stop proposed increases in train traffic. Listen to KRFP Radio Free Moscow at 92.5 FM or online between 7:30 and 9 pm Pacific time and sponsor WIRT as you Adopt a DJ for only $10 per month.

House Bill 464 in the Idaho Senate

Controversial legislation fast-tracked by the Idaho Petroleum Council through the Idaho Legislature, House Bill 464 faced a gridlock 17 to 17 vote on the Senate floor last Friday, March 9, about whether it should be sent to the Amending order for language changes.  This industry-sponsored law would allow state agencies and commissions to pre-empt city and county control of natural gas development and would exempt associated wells from state regulations governing Class II injection wells, thus permitting disposal of hazardous drilling waste such as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluids.  In an unexpected turn of events, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little cast the deciding vote in favor of revisions (see the Boise Weekly article also on the WIRT website, Senate Deadlocks on Amending Gas Drilling Measure, Lieutenent Governor Casts Tie-Breaker. Continue reading

Comment Period Extended for Port of Lewiston Expansion

The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has extended the deadline for public input on the recently released 73-page Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Port of Lewiston Dock Expansion and Storage Area Development.  It lengthened the comment period to a more appropriate 30 days ending on Friday, March 30, rather than on Friday, March 16.  Both documents are available for your examination on the left side of the Corps’ Port of Lewiston Dock Expansion and Storage Area Development web page.  The project proposed by the Corps’ preferred Alternative 2 would expand the existing dock from its present 100 feet to 250 feet parallel with the north bank of the Clearwater River, along the Corps-owned flood protection levee and adjacent shoreline land.  It would also move a mooring pillar downstream in the river and develop two acres as a graveled storage area at current port facilities, among a half dozen other associated modifications. Continue reading