Climate Justice Forum: Helen Yost 8-27-12

The Monday, August 27, Climate Justice Forum radio program, hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features weekly host Helen Yost reading the court statement she delivered today while pleading guilty to disturbing the peace at a March 2012 tar sands megaload protest in Moscow.  We also discuss court cases and on-the-ground resistance to TransCanada’s initial construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and seizures of private lands under eminent domain.  Listen to KRFP Radio Free Moscow between 8:00 and 9:30 pm PDT live at 92.5 FM and online, as the show also covers continent-wide climate activism news, and adopt WIRT as your KRFP DJ.

Megaload Protester/Monitor Hearings & Trial

On Monday, August 27, at 4 pm, in the Latah County Courthouse (522 South Adams Street, Moscow), Judge John Judge will preside over a jury pre-trial and motion hearing addressing pending charges against Helen Yost for allegedly throwing a protest sign at a vehicle and air-kicking (attempting assault or battery?) in the direction of a police officer, while the last two ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil tar sands megaloads crossed Moscow on March 6.  (Hear an interview about the situation between 14:56 and 6:35 on the KRFP Radio Free Moscow March 8 Evening Report, Sign Throwing Charge.  At a June 13 motion in limine hearing, attorney Ben Onosko representing Helen argued that the Moscow city laws under which she was cited for throwing an object at a highway vehicle do not define a module hauled on a vehicle but only describe vehicles and people in vehicles, suggesting that her charge be dropped.  Prosecutor Rod Hall and the judge countered that Idaho state law clearly delineates vehicles, loads carried on such conveyances, and persons in vehicles and that Moscow city codes are subordinate to state laws.

The court issued a decision denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss the misdemeanor citation, but the prosecution re-opened a previously time-limited offer to drop the attempted battery charge if Helen would plead guilty to the sign-throwing violation.  (For more information about this hearing and motion, listen to the KRFP Radio Free Moscow June 13 Evening Report between 6:44 and 5:18.)  The case is scheduled for a jury trial on September 14, but Ben has negotiated a pre-trial change in terms and resolution.  At this Monday’s 4 pm hearing, Helen will plead guilty to disturbing the peace instead of throwing an object at a vehicle, and the court will dismiss her attempted battery citation.  Like Cass Davis and Jim Prall, she will present a statement for court records, explaining her intentions for her actions and their context.  (Read a transcript of Helen Yost Sentencing Statement 8-27-12).  Please consider supporting Helen with your hearing attendance, as she affirms our shared community motivations for non-violent civil disobedience to obstruct the largest climate-wrecking industrial project on Earth.  She will also request a jail sentence rather than a fine for bouncing an assertive but harmless six-ounce foam-board sign reading “If one oil company is successful, many more will follow. ~Port of Lewiston” off a 415,000-pound aggressive and violent piece of tar sands processing equipment (see attached photo).  Whether David’s stone ultimately toppled Goliath on Highway 95 remains to be seen (with plenty of breaking information about this later!). Continue reading

Welcome, Mr. Secretary. Why’d You Come?

Marty Trillhaase, Editorial Page Editor, Lewiston

The Lewiston Tribune 2/4/12

Aside from former Idaho governors who wind up in a presidential administration – Interior Secretaries Cecil D. Andrus or Dirk Kempthorne – Lewiston doesn’t often see a cabinet member stop by.

So Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s visit Wednesday to the Port of Lewiston was a big deal.  The former seven-term House member runs an agency that employs 55,000 people and spends $70 billion.

Thanks, Mr. Secretary, for coming to see us – or at least a selected group of 50 dignitaries and reporters you invited to attend – Wednesday.

Just one question: Why did you come?  No, really.

Supposedly, the visit was timed to highlight a $1.3 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant allowing the port to expand its container dock.

But that’s old news.  The grant was awarded in June.  Plus, it’s $1.3 million, not $1.3 billion, not even $130 million. Continue reading

Alberta Tar Sands: an Environmental Disaster Coming Our Way

For the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition at 7 pm on Friday, August 24, Helen Yost presented the story and images of the Third Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, organized by First Nations (native) people, through the desolate landscape of Alberta tar sands operations.  In the lower community room of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse at 420 East Second Street in Moscow, Helen and presentation participants also discussed the interrelationships of corporate/governmental development of and citizen resistance to Alberta and Utah tar sands, the Keystone XL pipeline, and regional megaloads of processing equipment.  View a pdf version of her slideshow of the Third Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk.

Protesters Object to Tax Dollars Funding the Port of Lewiston

A group of protesters crowded the entrance to the Port of Lewiston Wednesday, chanting and holding up signs in outrage regarding a recent port grant.

Protesters said their anger is directed toward the federal government, who granted the port $1.3 million for the inland port improvement on the Columbia/Snake River System.  Protestors said spending millions of taxpayer dollars for a port that’s not producing jobs or enough shipments is a substantial waste of money.

“The port continues to prove that it is not a job maker and it is in fact a money loser,” said protester Brett Haverstick.  “Even from a common person’s perspective, dock extension makes no sense.  Where is the business?”

Protesters also showed their disapproval of the grant, voicing their concerns about more megaload traffic and the negative impact it inflicts on the environment.  The activists also provided onlookers with informational sheets explaining why they believe the Port of Lewiston extension is a bad idea.

See the video at: Protesters Object to Tax Dollars Funding the Port of Lewiston

(By Whitney Hise, KLEW TV Lewiston)

Transportation Secretary Met By Cheers, Jeers at Lewiston Port

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled up to central Idaho late Wednesday to promote river traffic after spending some time in Boise earlier in the day promoting light rail.

While in Lewiston, LaHood was thanked by local officials, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, and Republican Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch for $1.3 million in federal funding to expand the Port of Lewiston’s container dock.  Paper and agricultural products are shipped from the dock to Portland, Oregon, and on to Pacific Rim destinations.

This morning’s Lewiston Tribune reports that LaHood was also met by a half-dozen protesters from the Wild Idaho Rising Tide activist organization.  They disagreed with using more federal dollars at the port, calling it a “taxpayer hoax.”

Read more: Transportation Secretary Met By Cheers, Jeers at Lewiston Port

(By George Prentice, Boise Weekly)

Lewiston Port Project Draws Cabinet Visit

Idaho Senator James Risch, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Idaho Governor C.L. (Butch) Otter, and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo were at the Port of Lewiston Wednesday to promote the expansion of cargo traffic through the port (The Lewiston Tribune/Barry Kough photo).

A group called Wild Idaho Rising Tide protested Wednesday during a visit by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the Port of Lewiston (The Lewiston Tribune/Barry Kough photo).

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hears about effect of $1.3 million dock extension grant

The area’s elected officials got a rare chance Wednesday to thank a Cabinet official on their home turf for the $1.3 million his agency gave to an expansion of the Port of Lewiston’s container dock.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood toured the dock that stands in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, one of the few U.S. communities of about 50,000 that’s more than an hour away from a multi-lane interstate highway.

LaHood answered media questions and heard praise of the grant from Idaho’s governor, senators, and the port president.

The port received a $1.3 million grant in June from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant program. The money will help the port add 150 feet to its 120-foot container dock, which handles paper and agricultural products. The goods are barged to Portland, Oregon, then transferred to bigger vessels to be shipped overseas. Continue reading