WIRT Newsletter: A Month of Megaload News!


WIRT Monthly Meeting & Movie (Thursday, March 21)

As always, climate activism requires ongoing vigilance of industry and government actions and involvement in collective, local efforts to confront the corruption and pollution of fossil fuel energy development and its state and federal facilitation.  Between the March 4 anniversary of Cass’, Jeanne’s, Jim’s, and Pat’s courageous tar sands megaload blockade (YOU ROCK!) and our second annual celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), we hope that you and all WIRT activists will join us at our next third Thursday monthly meeting, at 7 pm on March 21 at The Attic (up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow).  For voluntary donations (we paid $50 for the film and promotional materials), we will publicly screen the British climate activism documentary Just Do It: A Tale of Modern-Day Outlaws, in which Emily James follows daring climate action troublemakers over a year, as they blockade and confront factories, coal power stations, and international banks, despite threats of arrest.  After the movie, we will plan the annual WIRT party and upcoming megaload, fracking, coal, and tar sands protests.


Idle No More World Day of Action Idaho Solidarity (January 27)

Thanks to the difficult, ongoing, behind-the-scenes work of our allies who provided logistical information in December, WIRT staged a great Idle No More solidarity rally on Sunday, January 27.  A few dozen WIRT activists bundled against the relatively mild Idaho/Washington winter, carpooled, and gathered at the Port of Wilma on the Snake River, expecting to encounter two Bantrel/ConocoPhillips tar sands megaloads offloading and staging in the port yards.  Instead, the haulers were late again and/or avoiding us, and we noticed only a few railroad workers, chip trucks, and scores of Canadian geese.  Nevertheless, we are outrageously proud of all of our heroes who foisted protest signs and the WIRT banner, marched, stood, chanted “Shut Down Tar Sands!”, and composed and sang revised lyrics to Down by the Riverside (“We’re gonna protest those megaloads…Down by the riverside…We’re gonna stand for a cleaner world… Ain’t gonna bow to greed no more!”).  Thanks to everyone who participated in showing our solidarity with indigenous allies opposing the devastation wrought by tar sands development across the continent.  We apologize for posting so late the resulting videos and photos gleaned from about 200 shots: the last few months have been hectic, due to various overlapping campaigns.

Bantrel/ConocoPhillips Evaporator Monitoring on Highway 12 (January 30)

A week before a favorable federal court decision, WIRT activists did not want to miss our seemingly final chance in late January to personally and directly defend the Big Wild and its Wild and Scenic Rivers from tar sands megaloads and resulting climate change.  Two Mammoet-hauled ConocoPhillips wastewater evaporators, each weighing 255,600 pounds and measuring 20 feet (two stories) tall, 16 feet (1 1/2 lanes) wide, and 141 feet (1 1/2 basketball courts) long with trucks and trailers, slithered up Highway 12 on January 30 through February 3.

WIRT activists accomplished an effective night of monitoring the initial transport but, besides plenty of audio notes, we could only obtain a few clear megaload photos with a cell phone in motion.  Waiting at a flagger station in north Lewiston, we were the first to encounter the implement of watershed and planetary annihilation after it entered Idaho, draped with a cloth banner boasting “Made in U.S.A.” on its mid-section.  (Because the phallic module fostered a few Oregon jobs, we should let it ream the Athabasca and regional wild and scenic rivers?)

As we followed the industrial circus, we passed sporadic, oncoming vehicles forced to the side of the road without a flagger.  We leap-frogged the evaporator and the more numerous than usual convoy vehicles several times without much reproach.  When an Idaho state trooper pulled us over near Greer, we were delighted (for a change!): The interaction likely informed the entire familiar entourage of Mammoet and Mountain West Holding Company holdovers from the Highway 95 Imperial Oil transports that arrested core WIRT activists were scrutinizing their every move.

After passing the convoy a few times, we drove slowly (as a moving blockade?) in front of the glaring procession of dozens of flashing lights within the river canyon cliffs, while impatient convoy truck drivers followed us too closely.  We kept the pressure on almost to Lowell, where tears overcame watching the hubristic interlopers continue deep into the wild, beloved Lochsa valley in the dark and quiet, early morning hours.  The WIRT website hosts photos and articles about this dirty energy invasion. Continue reading