ITD Releases Draft EIS on Proposed Routes for Widening U.S. 95

Hear about the potential environmental, economic, and safety consequences of various re-rerouting alternatives considered in a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) compiled by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), detailed in the news story ITD Releases Draft EIS on Proposed Routes for Widening U.S. 95 between 20:05 and 10:25 of the Monday, December 31, 2012, KRFP Radio Free Moscow Evening Report entitled ITD Draft EIS on U.S. 95 Widening.

Climate Justice Forum: 2012 Climate Change Issues and Activism

On the Monday, December 31, Climate Justice Forum radio program, Wild Idaho Rising Tide organizer Helen Yost will describe the most significant regional and North American climate change issues and climate justice activism of 2012.  Broadcast on KRFP Radio Free Moscow between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST live at 92.5 FM and online, and later aired on KMEC in Ukiah, California, the show also covers news about continent-wide dirty energy developments and citizen resistance.  Thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted Helen as his KRFP DJ: please adopt our fellow DJs through the KRFP website!

WIRT Newsletter: Highway 95 DEIS, Coal Export Comments & Meetings This Week

US Highway 95 DEIS Re-Route Alternatives

Happy New Year!

Some exciting developments are emerging in our megaload, fracking, and community bill of rights campaigns, about which we will send more news as soon as it becomes available.  Instead of a year-end funding appeal letter from our non-non-profit collective, we are composing a photo montage of all of our 2012 actions and initiatives this year, which we will share upon completion for your enjoyment.  As it portrays, dozens of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) members have made 2012 a year to remember, as we grew from our 2011 inception stage through our 2012 expansion phase.  Besides offering our heartfelt gratitude for your ongoing activism, we ask that you roll up your sleeves and rock out your fiscal and physical support, because 2013 is already dawning as a year bursting with effective direct actions and American transformations toward a healthier, happier, cleaner energy future.

Highway 95 Re-Routing Documents Released by ITD

Thanks to core WIRT activist David Hall, who alerted us of the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) website posting, predictably/probably over the recent holiday week, of its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and technical reports for U.S. Highway 95 re-routing between Thorn Creek Road and south Moscow (to encourage an industrial/megaload corridor and devastate native Palouse Prairie remnants?).  Please see letters to the local newspaper editor about this issue from stalwart re-routing resisters Dave and Al, included in the Highway 95 Re-Route section of the WIRT website, as well as the attached map of DEIS re-routing alternatives. Continue reading

Safety and the Law

Al Poplawsky, Moscow

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 12/29/12

The release of the draft environmental impact statement for relocation of U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow is imminent, and the preferred alternative is the same, old, problematic, eastern route over the shoulder of Paradise Ridge.

A recent editorial in this paper (Daily News, December 13) erroneously referred to the first document for this project as an environmental impact statement (EIS).  However, it was actually an environmental assessment (EA) – a much less thorough study and document.  The law is clear that an EIS is required for the relocation of a highway to a divided highway.  The attempt of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to push this project through without an EIS was a blatant attempt at violation of the law.

Environmentalists have been blamed for the deaths and injuries that have occurred on this stretch of Highway 95 since the favorable ruling in their lawsuit.  However, we were just trying to uphold the law.  We have laws for a reason.  Those who criticize us for our efforts are advocating for the breaking of our laws.  If the majority of us think a law should be changed, then maybe it should be.  But we should not advocate for the breaking of laws that are on the books. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Activism News 12-24-12

On the Monday, December 24, Climate Justice Forum radio program, Wild Idaho Rising Tide organizer Helen Yost will feature updates on the emerging First Nations Idle No More movement against recently passed Canadian federal legislation that would degrade indigenous rights.  Broadcast on KRFP Radio Free Moscow between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST live at 92.5 FM and online, and later aired on KMEC in Ukiah, California, the show also covers news about regional and continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism.  Thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted Helen as his KRFP DJ: please adopt our fellow DJs through the KRFP website!

Fix Existing U.S. 95

David Hall, Moscow

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 12/22/12

The original report that the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) produced was an environmental assessment (EA), not an improperly done draft environmental impact statement (EIS) as stated in the Daily News’ editorial on December 13.  An EA is a much less rigorous review than an EIS, which the court ordered.

Safety is the largest issue here and the supposed reason for the realignment/upgrade.  It has not been shown to my satisfaction that the eastern alignment would be safer than, or even as safe as, the other alignment options.  There is quite a bit of testimony that there is increased snow, fog, and other hazardous weather and driving conditions on the shoulder of Paradise Ridge compared to the existing route.  In addition, the eastern alignment might require deer/elk/moose fencing to attempt to keep game off the highway.

With safety of the driving public of primary importance, why has the Idaho Transportation Department done nothing in the past ten years to improve safety along the existing HIghway 95 route?  I am sure there are things that ITD could have done – reducing the speed limits, placing warning signs, and probably some localized realignments.  It makes so much more sense to fix the existing route than to plow through a new area. Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: Climate Activism, Human Rights, Megaload Monitor Trial, & Oil on Rails

Dear Friends,

Carpools to the Winter Solstice Party on Paradise Ridge southeast of Moscow depart the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) Activist House at 4 pm (or call 208-301-8039 for directions)!


AGU Scientist Asks, ‘Is Earth F**ked?’ Surprising Answer: Resistance is NOT Futile! (December 9 ThinkProgress)

Nils provided this scientific paper abstract that suggests that WIRT’s efforts represent an essential part of the solution to American climate woes: Resistance and activism are necessary!

Chris Hedges Lecture, Occupy the Future, at MIT (December 6 video)

Author-activist Chris Hedges discusses how problems with the current political system sparked the Occupy movement and where the movement is going.  Co-sponsored by Boston Review and MIT’s political science department, the presentation occurred as part of the “Ideas Matter” series.

Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine (February 13 video) (website excerpted) Continue reading

Megaload Monitor Jury Trial Outcomes

On Thursday, December 13, the Kootenai County Court in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, heard a six-hour, well-argued jury trial that appealed to the public, rather than the government, to defend the civil liberties of a citizen monitoring an Alberta tar sands megaload on Highway 95.  Idaho State Police Corporal Ron Sutton accused co-activists Cici Claar and Helen Yost of not wearing safety restraints in a parked vehicle, arrested them for resisting/obstructing an officer, and imposed an inexplicable night in the county jail, when they refused to identify themselves amongst the ExxonMobil police state on Highway 95 on August 26-27, 2011.  WIRT’s day in court started at 8:30 am with jury selection from about 30 gathered citizens, as Helen and her defending Moscow lawyer Ben Onosko weighed the odds stacked against them but hoped that a jury could empathize with the shock of sudden imprisonment for no significant reason.  Ben worked diligently throughout the trial to help the jury appreciate the precedents for civil liberties violations that they would set by siding with Corporal Sutton, who searched, seized, and jailed vehicle passengers without just cause.

Early in the trial, the prosecutor convinced Magistrate Judge Robert Caldwell to dismiss the evidence and results of the previous seat belt infraction trial and three pre-trial hearings on motions to suppress charges and a motion for reconsideration.  Representing the State of Idaho, the prosecutor presented her simple but assertive case that the defendant contested the infraction and ID request at roadside rather than in court.  The defense described Helen’s extensive academic and activist background and asserted that Idaho state police targeted the monitoring vehicle and its occupants for protest repression.  Although Helen never uttered a word in this court until trial conclusion, Corporal Sutton took the witness stand and noted his officer certifications before he described the place of the disputed incident and his approach of the driver Sharon Cousins’ vehicle and requests of driver and passenger IDs.  After commenting on the seatbelt-less state of the back seat passengers Cici and Helen, he explained the reasons for his ID requests and how Ms. Yost denied and debated them. Continue reading

Weather Delays Move of Oversized Shipment

Weather has delayed an extra-long shipment that was scheduled to move from the Port of Lewiston across north central Idaho on U.S. Highway 12 late Thursday evening and this morning (Friday, December 21).

Snow was likely at Powell Thursday night near the Montana border, according to the National Weather Service.

No new date has been set to move the 163-foot-long rig carrying a generator skid, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

(By The Lewiston Tribune)