On Wednesday, October 17, the Idaho Transportation Department issued a permit to Omega Morgan Inc. to haul a water treatment vessel of unknown ownership up U.S. Highway 12 between 10 pm and 5:30 am on Monday night, October 22, through Saturday night, October 27. At 300 feet, this longest overlegal load to ever traverse the wild and scenic river corridor and largest wildlands complex in the contiguous U.S. states weighs 520,000 pounds and measures 20 feet wide and 22 feet high. Like the four 226-foot-long ConocoPhillips megaloads and one since dismantled ExxonMobil test validation module that Idahoans monitored last year, it will probably encounter difficult passage frustrated by impending snow and tight curves between roadside rock cliffs and guard-railed precipices over the Lochsa and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers.
The region, if not the nation, is watching this incursion, as apparent in a recent Boise Weekly article, Idaho Transportation Department Greenlights Mega-Load for U.S. Highway 12, and an Oregonian piece, Water-Purification Equipment Will Be Transported on Disputed Idaho-Montana Mountain Highway. Your involvement in monitoring and protesting this likely tar sands equipment as it grinds up highways from the Port of Wilma, Washington, to northern Alberta is more essential than ever. Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and our regional allies have coordinated two protests and four nights of monitoring activities to confront this industrial invasion. Continue reading
On Friday evening, October 19, performer and environmental educator Dana Lyons of Bellingham, Washington, brought his Great Coal Train Tour to Moscow. Best known for his comedy hit song Cows with Guns, Dana has recorded eight albums during his lifetime artistic career, working around the world to raise awareness, activism, and funds for environmental and social justice causes. Visiting communities from Billings to Bellingham and from Portland to Coos Bay along the route of proposed coal export trains through four Northwestern states, Dana’s fun and inspiring concert intermingled stories of resistance to associated mines, trains, and ports, gathered from potentially impacted groups like eastern Montana ranchers, Lummi Indians, and Puget Sound residents. While federal, state, and county agencies accept public scoping comments on the largest prospective coal export facility in North America, five local conservation organizations hosted this benefit event to bolster knowledge and participation in this significant regional and global issue. Wild Idaho Rising Tide, the Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Clearwater, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, and the Palouse Broadband of Great Old Broads for Wilderness offered appetizers and no-host beer and wine for almost 100 attendees at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse. After the show, visiting Occupy Spokane activists and Wild Idaho Rising Tide members staged a light projection action near the Sixth and Jackson street intersection in Moscow. Illuminating some recently repainted crop silos with messages denouncing Northwest coal exports and proclaiming various group affiliations, Ziggy and his comrades huddled under an awning in the rain, as passing motorists and pedestrians marveled at huge spotlighted campaign slogans and logos.