Moscow Democracy School Workshop

Without public consent, how can officials “permit” industrial processes and pollution that destroy pristine land, clean water, and shared infrastructure?  Democracy Schools offered by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) examine how the American constitution has been reinterpreted and laws enacted to shift power from real people to “corporate persons.”  Learn why large businesses have gained and seemingly possess more civil rights than the communities they overrule and impact, which often lack the authority to reject unfavorable development projects.  Discover how people from Maine to Washington are working through their municipal governments to legally enforce economic and environmental sustainability.  Explore next steps for passing city or county laws to expand protections for people and places, lives and livelihoods.

Organizer Kai Huschke of CELDF in Spokane will lead the Moscow Democracy School Workshop discussing remedies to state and federal government enforcement of corporate rights to extract natural and financial resources from citizens and communities in Idaho and across the country.  Please RSVP and register to participate in this timely, pro-active seminar held in the 1912 Center Fiske Room at 412 East Third Street in Moscow between 6:00 and 8:30 pm on Friday, March 23, and from 9 am until noon on Saturday, March 24.  To cover presenter work, travel, venue, and materials costs, we are requesting a $15 registration donation upon arrival for the entire two-day-minimum session.  Similar to workshops provided in Bellingham, Washington, where an anti-coal export train initiative has emerged, and in Washington County, Idaho, where strong natural gas facility regulations have developed, further descriptions and the Two-Day Democracy School Agenda for the Moscow Democracy School Workshop are available on the Wild Idaho Rising Tide and CELDF websites.  Kai encourages participants who would like to further lead the campaigns that arise from the Moscow workshop to attend the more comprehensive Democracy School in Spokane on Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7.

Megaload Protester Faces Charge for Throwing Sign at Truck

Wild Idaho Rising Tide protester Helen Yost faces a misdemeanor charge in connection to her last act of protest against two Imperial Oil refinery modules that came through Moscow last week.

The 54-year-old Moscow woman was charged in Latah County Second District Court with throwing a substance at a vehicle after she threw her cardboard protest sign at one of the passing tractor-trailers as it came through Washington Street on March 6.  She was cited Thursday and will have an initial court appearance [at 8:30 am on] March 21.

Yost is also set for trial in Kootenai County for a charge of obstructing an officer in connection with her arrest in August 2011 by an Idaho State Police trooper while monitoring module transports, where she said she refused to give the law enforcement officer her license.  She was also cited at that time with failing to wear her seatbelt, which she said was because the vehicle she was in was parked at the time.  Her trial in Kootenai County is set for May 14.

(By The Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

Imperial Gets Last of Kearl on Road

The foundation and underground services are in place at the first phase of the $8-billion Kearl Oil Sands project, seen in a recent aerial photo of the site north of Fort McMurray (Imperial Oil photo).

$11-billion plant on schedule to start up at year’s end

After months of delays, route changes, and extra work to disassemble huge oil sands modules sent from South Korea, the last loads are on the road to Imperial’s $10.9-billion Kearl project.

The final shipment of 33 modules left the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, last week on the way to Edmonton, where they will be reassembled and sent to Fort McMurray.

Meanwhile, about half of the 205 imported modules remain at the Port of Pasco, midway between Lewiston and the Port of Vancouver, Washington.  The Korean units represent about 20 percent of the modules needed for the vast Kearl project.  Almost all of the remainder were constructed in Edmonton-area yards, primarily in Nisku.

The Pasco modules are being disassembled and sent off in batches of two or three shipments twice a week, following a four-lane highway to Spokane, Washington, and Butte, Montana, then north to Alberta on a route that will take them east of Calgary.

“We’ve been moving multiple loads but on fewer nights,” said spokesman Pius Rolheiser.  Imperial has day park locations along the route.

Kearl is scheduled to start up at the end of this year with work now about 90 percent complete.

…Depending on weather and permits, all Pasco modules will be at Kearl by the summer.

…Imperial won’t be building an upgrader at Kearl but is using a patented paraffinic froth treatment system to produce a solids-free bitumen that will be blended with diluent and shipped by pipeline to North American refineries.

…A key feature of Imperial’s plan is to ship the Kearl diluted bitumen on the proposed 500,000 barrels-per-day TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which has become a hot political issue in the U.S.

Read more: Imperial Gets Last of Kearl on Road

(By Dave Cooper, Edmonton Journal)

Watching Megaloads

Cynthia Magnuson, Moscow

The Lewiston Tribune 3/12/12

Thank you, Lewiston Tribune, for your excellent coverage of the megaloads.  Evidently the Daily News did not notice them nor the protesters through all of these recent months.  Evidently, Daily News editors did not consider this an important enough issue to assign a reporter.  Even with all the state troopers and all the Moscow policemen, the Daily News took no recognition of them.

Climate Justice Forum: Brent Rowley & Ellie Smith 3-12-12

On the Monday, March 12, Climate Justice Forum hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide between 7:30 and 9:00 pm PDT on KRFP Radio Free Moscow, we will feature Brent Rowley of Northern Rockies Rising Tide talking about regional activism against the tar sands as well as Moscow-visiting Australian activist Ellie Smith speaking about coal extraction in her country and Appalachian mountain top removal opposed by Mountain Justice.  Hear about other regional dirty energy projects and resistance, too, at 92.5 FM or online!

Media Release: More Charges Brought Against Tar Sands “Megaload” Protesters in Moscow, Idaho

As some of the last five of over 70 massive parts of an Alberta tar sands upgrader plant rumbled through the small, quiet, college town of Moscow, Idaho, at about 11 pm on Sunday, March 4, four protesters linked arms and sat down in the middle of Washington Street to stop three of these “megaloads” weighing 200,000 to 415,000 pounds and measuring 150 to 200 feet long.  Police arrested Cass Davis and Jim Prall for resisting and obstructing officers and dragged Jeanne McHale and Pat Monger to the sidewalk, as another 40 protesters voiced their opposition to expanding tar sands mining operations.  Again on Tuesday, March 6, when the final two similarly huge shipments crossed this 22,000-person city, demonstrators pounded drums, chanted slogans, played music, and engaged in street theater.  Helen Yost tossed a cardboard protest sign at the rear of the last megaload and air-kicked the transports and their police escorts out of town, resulting in misdemeanor charges for throwing an object at a moving highway vehicle and attempted battery of a peace officer.

All three accused protesters are pleading not guilty based on the necessity of their actions induced by their moral obligation to directly confront the causes of climate change that are currently killing millions of people, plants, and animals around the globe.  For their statements, please listen to Cass Davis and Jim Prall on Flashpoints and Helen Yost on KRFP Radio Free Moscow.  Other articles, photos, and videos of numerous megaload passages and protests are available on the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) facebook page and website. Continue reading

As Eco-Terrorism Wanes, Governments Still Target Activist Groups Seen as Threat

…The police chief in Moscow, Idaho, said in an interview that he discussed with FBI agents the repeated protests aimed at blocking the shipment of equipment ExxonMobil and other firms are using to extract heavy crude in Canada’s oil sands.

Some say the broad definition of domestic terrorism the FBI uses contributes to the number of investigations.  According to its 2002-05 terrorism report, “A terrorist incident is a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States, or of any state, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

As a result, any act aimed to intimidate an individual or corporation that has a political or social goal qualifies…

Read more: As Eco-Terrorism Wanes, Governments Still Target Activist Groups Seen as Threat

(By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post)

Senate Deadlocks on Amending Gas Drilling Measure, Lieutenant Governor Casts Tie-Breaker

The debate over local control when it comes to Idaho’s burgeoning gas exploration made its way to the floor of the Idaho Senate Friday morning.

What started as a series of speeches promoting the benefits of oil and gas exploration evolved into a robust debate of how much input Idaho cities and counties should have in determining where, or even if, oil and gas wells should be allowed.

“I want the oil and gas industry to succeed and move forward, but I also have grave reservations about this bill,” said Rupert Republican Sen. Dean Cameron, referring to House Bill 464, which would give ultimate authority on permits for oil and gas drilling to the state, trumping local oversight. “I have received a good deal of correspondence from our counties that are expressing their concerns.”

Read more: Senate Deadlocks on Amending Gas Drilling Measure, Lieutenant Governor Casts Tie-Breaker

(By George Prentice, Boise Weekly)

Yost Charged with Two Misdemeanors for Throwing Cardboard Sign at Rear of 415,000-Pound Megaload, Air-Kicking in Direction of Officer

On Thursday, March 8, Moscow City Police Lieutenant Paul Kwiatkowski served two misdemeanor charges to Helen Yost for “throwing…a two-by-three-foot sign…at a vehicle traveling on a highway” and for “willfully attempt[ing] to kick…a peace officer…while he was walking away” at the final megaload protest in Moscow, Idaho, on Tuesday, March 6.  Listen to between 14:56 and 6:35 of the Thursday, March 8, Evening Report, Sign Throwing Charge, on KRFP Radio Free Moscow for an interview and discussion of Yost Charged with Two Misdemeanors for Throwing Cardboard Sign at Rear of 415,000-Pound Megaload, Air-Kicking in Direction of Officer.

Lakotas and Idahoans Forming Human Roadblocks

Debra White Plume: “If you don’t see the importance of the Lakotas and the Idahoans forming human roadblocks against tar sands contracted trucks in this nation’s heartland, know that those people are putting their lives on the line for this nation’s water and food security.  With all the folks freaking out over foreign terrorists poisoning our food and water supplies in this country, the real threat to our nation’s homeland security is a threat to the water supplies of this nation’s heartland, which produces the bulk of the food you eat throughout the year.”