On Wednesday, August 22, at 2:15 pm, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, along with Idaho Governor Butch Otter, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, and U.S. Senator Jim Risch, will tour the Port of Lewiston dock for about 45 minutes. Event organizers have invited a group of 50 port customers, entrepreneurs, local elected officials, and reporters. This rare Idaho visit of a White House Cabinet official, the first since June 2005 in Boise, emphasizes a June $1.3 million federal grant, only one of seven given to ports, and a $600,000 Idaho loan for the $2.9 million expansion next summer of the 125-foot container dock to 275 feet. But port use for Pacific Coast and overseas shipping of agricultural and wood products through the fish-blocking gauntlet of Snake and Columbia river dams has declined significantly over the last decade, due to evolving market demands and alternative transportation opportunities. Our purported governmental representatives have believed the port’s grant application misinformation and likely hold at least one overriding pork-barrel objective for the financially failing Port of Lewiston: Alberta tar sands equipment transport through north central Idaho.
But Idaho citizens have relentlessly confronted oil companies and our state and federal agencies in the courts and the streets with the real and potential economic and environmental detriments of port expansion, megaload traffic through our wildlands and hometowns, and the associated waste of public funds and infrastructure. Please accompany us again on Wednesday, August 22, to carpool to the Port of Lewiston vicinity and rally against this expensive dock project that subsidizes Big Oil’s destructive extraction and transportation ventures with our local tax dollars, while we are shunted from democratic access to our public decision-makers.
Members of Friends of the Clearwater, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Northern Rockies Earth First!, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide will meet at 1 pm at the Eastside Marketplace south parking lot, near the Troy Highway in Moscow, to share rides to Lewiston and stage a demonstration near the port. Although we will provide some materials like protest signs, banners, art supplies, and talking point flyers, bring your own creative statements, spirit of resistance, and all your friends and family members, as we match this closed-door, stakeholder party with 50 protesters standing in solidarity with residents throughout our region. We intend to return to Moscow by 3:30 or 4 pm. Contact Friends of the Clearwater (208-882-9755) or Wild Idaho Rising Tide (208-301-8039) and peruse the August 21 Lewiston Tribune article Transportation Secretary’s Visit is Invitation-Only for more information about this event and JOIN US!