A grassroots movement is growing in Spokane to stop coal trains from traveling through the city and across the Northwest.
With the demand for coal rising in Asia, several energy companies are proposing to mine coal in Montana and ship it overseas.
The proposal calls to ship coal by train through Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon and eventually to several export terminals along the West Coast.
On Friday, more than a dozen activists and environmentalists met in Spokane to learn how to peacefully protest the proposal.
Read more/see the TV video: Movement Wants to Stop Inland Northwest Coal Trains
(By Annie Bishop, KXLY Spokane)
On Wednesday evening, June 6, Flashpoints radio show host Dennis Bernstein talked with Nick Engelfried of Blue Skies Campaign in Missoula, Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky of Portland Rising Tide and Columbia Riverkeeper in Portland, and Helen Yost of Wild Idaho Rising Tide in Moscow about the Northwest Extraction Resistance Workshop in Spokane on June 8 and 9 and about regional protests of coal export trains, tar sands megaloads, and natural gas fracking. The program aired on KRFP Radio Free Moscow on the same night and can also be downloaded from KPFA Free Speech Radio in Berkeley. Listen to between 21:31 and 36:50 of this nationally broadcast episode or to the 14-minute discussion excerpted and uploaded online by Tom Hansen of Moscow. Thanks, Dennis, Tom, and KPFA!
Sunday, June 3, marked the last transit of tar sands modules through Spokane and a rambunctious send-off by Wild Idaho and Spokane Rising Tide and Occupy Spokane activists. At 7:30 pm in the Magic Lantern Theatre, about 35 concerned Spokane citizens converged to watch the incisive documentary Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands and to discuss emerging local and continent-wide struggles around one of the most compelling environmental issues of our time: tar sands development near Fort McMurray, Alberta. As we grew weary of uncertain and false ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil shipment finales but nonetheless plotted our last Spokane megaload protest for that night, our Port of Pasco scout informed us just before the public screening that more Big Oil behemoths were poised to rumble through Spokane streets. At the movie showing and lively debate, we alerted attendees of their immediate opportunity to take action against the topic of the film. Considering the last transports’ historical significance, Terry Hill of Occupy Spokane posted a facebook event simply and aptly titled “Megaloads, Sunday, June 3, 2012.” Folks met at the Occupy Spokane Clubhouse at 11 pm before traveling to Third and Regal streets to tell ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil one more time, “not in our town.”
Even though convoy personnel had erected orange cones on the north/freeway side of East Third Avenue, to block our tactical parking on both sides of the street, we crowded the two lane stretch with our banner hanging from the pedestrian bridge and our bodies, protest signs, and vehicles lining the ruined road to America’s Mordor. Mayhem ensued as one of the largest of three tar sands modules passed within inches of outstretched arms and signs and a support vehicle darted back and forth behind it to survey width clearances. A city police officer across the street waved three passenger vehicles following the loads onward with a flashlight, when a stop sign-mimicking protest sign asserting “Stop Tar Sands” inadvertently halted them. One of the demonstrators captured the convoy CB radio chatter with his video, Megaload Spokane 6/4/2012, documenting the (hopefully) last megaloads to challenge the Northwest, available here with a few Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos. WIRT hosted Terry Hill of Occupy Spokane on our June 11 Climate Justice Forum radio program, talking about this final demonstration, other Spokane anti-megaload protests, and the Lilac City’s occupy movement and clubhouse.
On Monday, June 4, the Climate Justice Forum program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will feature Sharon Cousins of Viola, a founding leader of our collective that confronts climate change through direct action. Sharon will discuss clean and sustainable alternatives to dirty energy enterprises like tar sands, coal, and natural gas extraction. She will also talk about the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and how citizens can actively influence energy and environmental conundrums for the sake of future life on Earth. Please adopt WIRT as your DJ, as we also cover other climate activism news between 7:30 and 9 pm PDT, live at 92.5 FM and online at KRFP Radio Free Moscow.
While returning from Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s (WIRT) Tar Sands Megaloads Road Show of Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands screening in Kennewick, Washington, on June 2, a lone WIRT activist saw rainbows, but heavy rain compromised dawn explorations of Lower Monumental Dam. If ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil or other companies barge more Alberta tar sands equipment to the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, the modules would move through the tallest structure on the downriver (right) side of the dam and out along the levee jutting upriver (left).
While traveling from Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s Tar Sands Megaloads Road Show of Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands screening in Kennewick, Washington, on June 1, a solitary WIRT activist saw rainbows and thoroughly scouted the Port of Pasco for the final ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil modules. She spotted a huge “blue box” hooked to a truck, facing the dock yard gate, and guarded by a security car and two frame-type megaloads near the port cranes or on a trailer. These transports rumbled through Spokane streets and protests just a few nights later on June 3, the last of ExxonMobil’s first phase of tar sands development rampaging our region.