Co-Agitators for Climate Justice,
“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious – makes you so sick at heart – that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” ~Mario Savio
We obviously have lapsed far behind on the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) newsletter due to Highway 95 re-routing campaign involvement and will update WIRT’s amazing activists through this and the next few messages about megaloads/tar sands and Idaho fracking this week, while we also launch another phase of our anti-fracking campaign.
Don’t Pave Paradise! (February 15 to March 24)
On the day before the February 23 public comment period deadline, the Federal Highway Administration and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) extended opportunities for public input on the U.S. 95 Thorncreek to Moscow draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) until Monday, March 25. A week earlier on February 15, the agencies denied the comment period extension request of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) and allied citizens and organizations including Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT). But they granted deadline postponement last Friday to meet the requirement that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have enough time to review the DEIS. Along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the EPA and IDFG oppose the eastern E-2 realignment of the ITD-proposed project south of Moscow and did not receive the DEIS until mid-February, likely after PRDC members sent their comment period extension request and DEIS comments to these agencies besides ITD. Copies of the 725 nationwide, paper/online signatures of the PRDC Petition Opposing the E-2 Alternative Realignment of Highway 95 between Thorncreek Road and Moscow, Idaho arrived at ITD headquarters in Boise on the day of the deadline extension decision. The associated ITD media release reasserted agency responsibility and jurisdiction over all “interstates, state highways, and U.S. routes” in the state system (and over “local, city, or county” control?).
As PRDC members, we will continue to relentlessly petition in the downtown Moscow streets and soon in neighborhoods, talking with as many of the 22,000 residents as possible. Join us in stopping our state from building and encouraging use of an international industrial corridor through our shared rural home. For just a few hours between 10 am and 2 pm on weekends and between 4 and 8 pm on weeknights, outside the Moscow Food Co-Op or One World Café or around downtown, you can collect up to 50 signatures on the PRDC petition. Overwhelm ITD with the resistance it deserves and stop the tar sands megaload red carpet through extremely rare Palouse Prairie remnants on Paradise Ridge south of Moscow! Please sign, comment, and share this petition to Idaho governor ‘Butch’ Otter, ITD director Brian Ness, and transportation board chairman Jerry Whitehead, which currently has 965 of the 2000 signatures that we would like to attain. Because Highway 95 is a federal highway supported by the tax dollars of all Americans, every U.S. citizens can sign the PRDC petition. See the following web links for more information, view the DEIS, and email your comments to Comments@ITD.Idaho.gov or mail them to the Office of Communications, Idaho Transportation Department, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID 83707-1129.
Moscow Mardi Gras Gathering (Saturday, March 2)
The Moscow Volunteer Peace Band has invited Wild Idaho Rising Tide activists to participate in this year’s Moscow Mardi Gras Parade turned Gathering on Saturday, March 2, in Friendship Square in downtown Moscow. Event coordinators received too few parade registrations to justify expenses from city permit fees, police oversight, and event insurance. So organizers are hosting a family-oriented convergence of kids, parents, pets, school groups, clubs, community organizations, and bands at 10 am until the 11 am children’s party at the Moose Lodge. Because we wholeheartedly agree with parade entry instigator Fritz, who “can’t think of anything that a kid might want more than a livable planet,” let’s cavort for a stable climate in plenty of traditional Moscow Mardi Gras color and spirit. With the Peace Band in full accompaniment, playing brass and percussion and other musical instruments, we could wear WIRT T-shirts and dress up like polar bears or weather-fried zombies or something more festive to attract a new, young audience for all our signs and props. We could even flaunt our organization banner and Occupy Spokane’s cardboard coal train chugging against global warming, as we chant creative slogans and hand out organizational/educational flyers. All are welcome to participate: please contact WIRT if you would like to help organize this fun event.
Last Winter Market (Saturday, March 2)
WIRT is seeking volunteers to engage our community with educational materials, raise climate change awareness, activism, and funds, and offer opportunities for citizen resistance to the root causes of climate chaos, such as tar sands, coal export, and fracking schemes. Group representatives will showcase and celebrate the wide variety of ways in which people can participate in WIRT activities during Winter Market on Saturday, March 2. Next to a PRDC booth, we will host an information display table in the 1912 Center east hallway above the Great Room (412 East Third Street in Moscow) between 10 am and 2 pm at the last such public event of the winter season. Promote our collective, distribute WIRT brochures and donation envelopes, rally and recruit new members, and request physical and fiscal support for our many initiatives, direct actions, outreach work, and ongoing costs. Please contact us if you can assist with this endeavor and/or visit our website and the WIRT Activist House to generously contribute to our shared work or purchase one of the few remaining commemorative, collectors’ item WIRT T-shirts from among the 40 off-white, large-size originals reserved for megaload protesters.
Highway 95 Re-Route Meeting with Shirley Ringo (Saturday, March 2)
For an hour starting at 2:30 pm on Saturday, March 2, members of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition and public are gathering at The Attic (up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow) to share our Highway 95 re-routing concerns with colleague and friend Idaho Representative Shirley Ringo. Besides a copy of the organization’s official comments, PRDC encourages meeting participants to bring pertinent outlines or highlighted documents, such as deceptive ITD DEIS wording, so Shirley can later consider our deliberations in writing. Continue reading