Rebuttal to Snake River Oil and Gas Could Start Drilling in Payette County this Spring


It would have been fantastic if you had given a bit of time to some of the local citizens opposed to this development!

Industry has been very successful at convincing everyone else across the state that they do not have anything to worry about – that they are just going to operate a few wells in Payette and Washington counties and that they are not going to frack (at least, that is what we were told originally).

The problem is that does not exactly jive with what they have been doing these past couple of years.

Idaho House Bill 464 went through the legislature last year and totally strips the municipal governments of ANY control over the siting of oil and gas wells in Idaho.  What used to be a process that involved an application to the city/county – a formal public notice and public hearing process – has now became a rubber-stamp process at the state level.  There are only two ways that the state can deny a well permit: if there would be a wasting of the resource and/or if groundwater would be contaminated.  Good luck proving that water will be contaminated BEFORE it happens!  And if it happens – because the state is not requiring ANY baseline testing of well water in the drilling areas – it would be this side of impossible to PROVE that well water was contaminated by drilling activities!  Just ask Mr. Brown if Snake River Oil and Gas or AM Idaho did ANY baseline testing of area water wells.  Ask him if they are required to do any testing! Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: Coal Export & Megaload Protests, Payette County Gas Flaring, Idaho County Frackers

Regional Activists,

Coal Export Resistance Solidarity Actions (This Weekend!)

Expressions of coal export dissent have raged against the corporate machine in Missoula, Moscow, and Spokane over the last week.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists and allies are grateful to share relentless, robust, regional activism with you and will do all that we can to support Montana initiatives against coal mining and trains and Sandpoint and Spokane campaigns against coal trains.  We are staging two or more (snow-postponed) demonstrations at 5:30 pm on Saturday evening, January 19, in Pullman, Washington, and on Sunday afternoon, January 20, in Sandpoint, Idaho, where we will meet at the same place and time (northwest Safeway parking lot at 3 pm).  WIRT hopes that our Occupy Spokane comrades can also join us for a spotlighted message projection in Sandpoint after nightfall.  Please peruse the event announcement for Coal Export Resistance Solidarity Actions on the WIRT website and participate and comment over the next few days, before the January 21 comment period deadline for the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal near Bellingham.  We plan to assemble the photos and descriptions of all of these protests on our facebook and website pages and into a comprehensive media report and pictorial comment of resistance to not only government rubber-stampers but also directly to the coal corporations.  Keep it up!

Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Moscow, January 11: Peace Gains, Not Coal Trains

“Cold but committed through another winter on the frontlines, Wild Idaho Rising Tide activists turned out by the dozens to protest Northwest coal exports at the weekly Friday evening Peace Vigil in Moscow.  They never fail to amaze their comrades, our carbon-conflicted continent, and the climate chaos that they work to calm.  WIRT offers heartfelt gratitude to Bill, Bob, Cass, Ellen, Frank, Fritz, Gail, Helen, Henry, Jacki, Jeanne, Kathleen, Linda, Miriam, Rodna, Sally, Ting, Tom, and everyone who rallied for bold peace and the end of energy wars worldwide.  We send our special thanks to Tom Hansen of Moscow Cares, who captured and posted 43 great images and a video of the January 11 Moscow action.”

Blues Skies Campaign, Missoula, January 12: Coal Export Resistance Solidarity Action

“Out in 14-degree weather on Saturday, January 12, encouraging people to submit public comments to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Submit your comments at  Our action consisted of a banner drop on the pedestrian overpass that crosses the tracks here in town.  And we got lucky – a train went by, right when we were up there!  It’s so great to be working in solidarity with WIRT, Occupy Spokane, and all the other amazing groups fighting the coal trains.”

Occupy Spokane, Spokane, January 16: Return of the Cardboard Coal Train

Michael Beasley: “Great turnout on such a cold night, with warm hearts and warm souls all looking forward to another new year of successful action.  Congratulations, Spokane, for the tremendous turnout at the No Coal Hearing, and we look forward to even bigger and better things ahead.  I tip my hat to the Sierra Club and the many others involved in this effort.  Sorry that I neglected to bring my camera to this gathering, I got a few shots with my phone.  Tremendous thanks to all.”  WIRT applauds Occupy Spokane for arranging this demonstration at the Volunteer Appreciation Party – No Coal Exports, hosted by Coal-Free Spokane.

Coal Export Resistance Solidarity Actions: 1-11 to 1-20-13 (four-action photos) Continue reading

Local Groups to Host Highway 95 Forum and Field Trip

The Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, and concerned Moscow area citizens and groups will hold an informational meeting on Saturday on new routing proposed for U.S. Highway 95 from Thorn Creek Road north to Moscow, followed by a site visit.

On November 26, the Idaho Transportation Department approved a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and technical reports on three alternatives for realignment.

From noon to 2 pm in the Great Room of the 1912 Center, 412 East Third Street, community members will summarize the DEIS, present arguments against the state-preferred eastern alternative, and hold a discussion.  Between 2 and 5 pm, event organizers and participants will carpool to locations along and near the proposed “E2” alternative.

Concerned about Safety

David Hall, Moscow

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, 1/18/13

Regarding Wayne Olson’s letter, Time for U.S. 95 Realignment (Letters, January 16, 2013):

Members of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) do not believe that the proposed eastern alignment is the safest option.  One reason for doing the environmental impact study (besides that it is required by law) was to include a good analysis of the relative safety of each proposed alignment.  It is apparent to most residents that the weather is “worse” in winter up on the ridge than it is along the current alignment – there is often more snow and fog up on the shoulder of the ridge, which makes driving more hazardous.

The highway could have been completed years ago if the Idaho Transportation Department had upgraded the highway along the present alignment, just as they did for the section to the south.  And they could have put measures into place to make the existing road safer in the interim.  They chose to do neither but instead insist on moving the highway into an arguably less-safe location.  Part of their rationale for the eastern route is that it is the shortest, but it is a mere 0.09 of a mile shorter than the central alignment – a few hundred feet.

It is misguided to lay blame on PRDC and other folks who are as concerned about the public safety as is everyone else.

Anyone who wishes to learn more about this issue is invited to attend a forum at noon on Saturday at the 1912 Center in Moscow.