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 CoalExportAction.org/DEQ/.  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)

Other Northwest Coal Export News

Montana Coal Protesters Argue Necessity Defense (January 14 Waging Nonviolence)

Beijing Pollution ‘Worst on Record’ (January 14 Aljazeera)

Chart: What Exactly (Cough) Is Beijing (Hack) Breathing? (January 15 Mother Jones)

Payette County Gas Flaring

Our amazing fractivist colleagues, Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), have been observing activity at the natural gas well heads in New Plymouth, Payette County, Idaho, where gas companies and contractors may be testing and aiming for oil, rather than gas, production, as they mentioned to area residents early in their explorations.  On Friday, January 11, an industry representative told a neighbor adjacent to the gas well portrayed in the following photos that they would be flaring and transporting the resulting oil/water mixture to Salt Lake City refineries.  Although flaring relieves accumulated pressure (and plenty of health-wrecking, climate-altering gases) behind the valves before more drilling (fracking?) fluids could go down the well, we wonder if recent seismic testing revealed more oil than previously accessed/assessed by the original 11 Bridge Resources gas wells.  Oil drilling and gas flaring seem like just more survey methods: maybe that is why the small oil and gas ventures moved in on southwest Idaho before the big corporations.  Profit-driven energy companies and their investors may obviously want the more lucrative, marketable quantities of oil first in this unconventional play, like in the Bakken shale region of North Dakota, while only reluctantly pursuing gas infrastructure build-up until flaring displays how much gas is underground.  Payette County currently lacks infrastructure to clean and compress natural gas and pump it to a regional pipeline.  What are the state rules/regulations on flaring and venting of natural gas?  How are citizens/conservationists combating flaring in the Bakken fields?  As a following scientific paper notes, the health implications of flaring could buttress arguments for an injunction in a civil lawsuit requesting a flaring ban.  Another article below by an industry insider asserts that, “If you ban flaring (assuming that venting is verboten), then you would be banning oil production, and you would never know if the associated gas could be recovered…”

Teunnisen Dairy Gas Well Flaring Prep 1-11-2013 (Alma Hasse photos)

With 300 to 400 oil and gas leases on 130,000 private acres around New Plymouth and Payette, Idaho, Snake River Oil and Gas and Alta Mesa Holdings completed seismic exploration in November, using sound waves to determine underground geology.  During two to three weeks, they are now intensively testing gas reservoir size through flaring at three of seven productive natural gas wells, among 11 purportedly conventionally drilled (without fracking) and purchased from financially challenged Bridge Resources.  In March or April, they could build a pipeline from the wells to regional pipelines in the Payette County area.

Natural Gas Well Testing in [Payette] County (January 9 Argus Observer)

Observer: Gas Drilling Resumes in Payette County (January 9 Boise Weekly)

Effect of Gas Flaring on Lung Function among Residents in Gas Flaring Community in Delta State, Nigeria (May 15 Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences)

“…Between 0.2 to 35 kilometers [up to 22 miles] from the flare stack, gas flares have harmful effects on the health and livelihood of the communities in their vicinity, as they release a variety of poisonous chemicals.  Some of the combustion by-products include nitrogen dioxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds like benzene, toluene, xylene, and hydrogen sulfide, as well as carcinogens like benzapyrene and dioxin…These chemicals can aggravate asthma, cause breathing difficulties and chest pain as well as chronic bronchitis…[and] adverse health effects…ranging from mortality and hospital admissions to respiratory symptoms and decrements in lung function…Pollution and degradation arising from oil and natural gas exploitation [impact]…a decrease in agricultural yield, depression in flowering and fruiting in crops and trees, deformities in children, lung damage and skin problems, increasing concentrations of airborne pollutants, acidification of soils and rainwater, corrosion of metal roofs, and significant increases in concentrations of sulfates, nitrates, and dissolved solids, with associated socio-economic problems…Flares…coat the land and communities in the area with soot and damage adjacent vegetation.  Almost no vegetation can grow in the area directly surrounding the flare due to the tremendous heat it produces…”

Why Will Bakken Flaring Not Fade Away? (September 10 Oil & Gas Financial Journal)

A Mysterious Patch of Light Shows Up in the North Dakota Dark (January 16 Krulwich Wonders)

“When oil comes to the surface, it often brings natural gas with it, and according to North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, 29 percent of the natural gas now extracted in North Dakota is flared off.  Gas isn’t as profitable as oil, and the energy companies don’t always build the pipes or systems to carry it away.  For a year (with extensions), North Dakota allows drillers to burn gas, just let it flare.  There are now so many gas wells burning fires in the North Dakota night, the fracking fields can be seen from deep space.”

Idaho County Former Frackers

What’s under Idaho County?  The Texas billionaire Wilks brothers founded the hydraulic fracturing/oil field services firm Frac Tech, sold it to Singapore investors in 2011 for $3.5 billion, and bought more than 276,000 acres of eastern Montana ranch land and 36,000 acres of two Idaho County properties assessed for agriculture, timber, and wildlife management values.  Behind Western Pacific Timber Company and its 38,000 Upper Lochsa Land Exchange acres, they now rank as the second-largest county landowner…

[Fracking] Brothers Buy Chunk of Idaho County (January 12 Lewiston Tribune)

Billionaire Brothers Buy Another Idaho Ranch (January 12 KTVB Boise)

Canadian/Idle No More/Idaho Tar Sands Resistance

Six People Arrested Inside Enbridge Hearings (January 15 Vancouver Media Coop)

Activists of one of our newest chapters, Rising Tide Vancouver Coast Salish Territories, staged a protest on Tuesday morning disrupting Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline hearings in Vancouver, B.C.  Six of them are now in jail.  Please send them your love and encouragement and promote their action far and wide over the internet by liking and sharing this link and their facebook page.  We are behind fellow Rising Tiders and climate actionistas 100 percent!

Kinder Morgan to Add 100 More Tar Sands Oil Tankers to Their Existing Pipeline Proposal (January 10 Global News)

Press Statement from Chief Allan Adam Regarding Highway 63 Roadblocks (January 15 Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation)

[Another] Idle No More Blockade of Highway 63 Could Affect Oilsands Area Economy (January 14 Calgary Herald)

Idle No More Idaho Solidarity Action

Core WIRT activists and our regional allies have been brainstorming and strategizing to plan Highway 12 megload resistance protesting and monitoring actions in solidarity with Idle No More and our northern comrades who have been fighting tar sands operations for decades.  This week, “Idle No More grassroots founders and organizers from across Canada, in solidarity with common causes – a new initiative bringing together social justice, environmental, labor, and other activist groups – [announced the]…Idle No More World Day of Action on January 28,” the date that two wastewater evaporators could traverse Nez Perce lands to northern Alberta.  “‘The Treaties are the last line of defense to protect water and lands from destruction,’ stated Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs.”  As we have watched and participated in our Canadian allies’ work in the streets and the courts to together halt tar sands infrastructure developments, Mr. Lyons’ words ring true.  Please join us on Sunday afternoon, January 27, and/or Monday night, January 28, as we gather to generate positive force and confront two more tar sands megaloads at the Port of Wilma and on Highway 12 (please see the attached Mammoet travel plan).  We will send updates as they become available early next week.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843

WildIdahoRisingTide.org & on facebook


1 thought on “WIRT Newsletter: Coal Export & Megaload Protests, Payette County Gas Flaring, Idaho County Frackers

  1. Pingback: WIRT Newsletter: New Gas Well Comments & WIRT Events This Week | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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