WIRT Newsletter: Highway 95 Re-Route Meetings, Coal Export Comments & News

Climate action leaders and friends,

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition Meetings

Everyone concerned about the U.S. Highway 95 realignment from Thorncreek Road to Moscow, proposed by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), is welcome to join other area citizens on Tuesday evening at the Friends of the Clearwater office at 116 East Third Street, Room 211, on the second floor above the Shirt Shack near Sisters’ Brew.  Call 208-882-9755 for directions, if necessary.  At 5:00 pm, folks interested in re-establishing and playing a role in the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) will identify potential board members and review and create a mission statement.  Starting at 6:00 pm, participants will shift to a strategizing and knowledge-sharing session.  The currently informal group is also arranging a Saturday, January 19, public forum in the 1912 Center Great Room (412 East Third Street in Moscow), possibly followed by a field trip to locations along the proposed eastern, E-2, alignment described in the ITD draft environmental impact statement for the project.  Please also attend the ITD public hearing between 2 and 8:30 pm on Wednesday, January 23, at the Best Western University Inn, 1516 Pullman Road Moscow.  Unless a deadline extension soon requested by PRDC ensues, public comments are due on February 23.  See the Highway 95 Re-Route category on the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) website for further, continuously updated issue information.


Tongue River Railroad Comments

Keep standing up and voicing your opposition to Big Coal!  To enable Arch Coal to strip-mine Powder River Basin coal, transport it by trains through Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, export it to Asia from proposed Columbia River and West Coast ports, and ultimately profit at Northwesterners’ expense, the Tongue River Railroad Company recently filed a new application with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board for a permit to build a coal-hauling rail line through the quiet, pristine Tongue River valley in southeastern Montana.  This long-looming project would divide the valley and thus increase flooding potential, disrupt wildlife movements, jeopardize farm and ranch operations, and devalue property.  It underscores the necessity of a region-wide, mine-to-port programmatic environmental impact analysis of prospective coal export facilities.  Please see the website of the Northern Plains Resource Council, who bused more than 50 Montanans to scoping hearings in Washington, and send your emailed comments to the Surface Transportation Board before the Friday, January 11, deadline. Continue reading