Climate Justice Forum: David Osborn 6-17-13

The Monday, June 17, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) welcomes David Osborn of Portland Rising Tide, a climate activist who compiles and creates the Rising Tide North America newsletter every month.  David talks on the show about upcoming summer actions and expanding resistance to fossil fuel export corridors traversing Northwest lands and waters, carrying Alberta tar sands, Bakken shale oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to regional and Asian markets.  Roy Zimmerman’s recently premiered song about WIRT, commissioned by Tom Hansen, The Tide is Rising, also airs.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT live at 92.5 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.

Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! Month of Action

Stop the Frack Attack Idaho

During the Stop the Frack Attack Week of Action on June 3 to 9, activists of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), and United Vision for Idaho coordinated protests at six Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) offices throughout Idaho [1, 2].  Staging Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! demonstrations and a strategy meeting, citizens expressed their concerns about oil and gas drilling near water bodies, on state lands, and via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Payette and surrounding counties [3, 4].  On Tuesday, June 4, Idaho and Washington participants brought their friends, family, and neighbors and fracking/drilling protest signs to IDL offices in Coeur d’Alene and Saint Maries in northern Idaho.  Fellow concerned citizens demonstrated outside IDL offices in Deary, Kamiah, and Orofino in north-central Idaho on Wednesday, June 5, and took plenty of photos and videos at all six locations to share with IDL and the regional and national media [5].  On Thursday evening, June 6, a dozen highly motivated and energized Idaho activists and attorneys converged for a third strategizing session, to shape our ongoing resistance to oil and gas drilling and fracking over the next year.  At the culminating action outside the main IDL office and minerals division near the state capitol in downtown Boise on Friday, June 7, at least 20 southwestern Idaho fractivists briefly talked with IDL director Tom Schultz, waved signs and banners during afternoon rush-hour traffic, and chalked notes on the adjacent sidewalks [6-9].

With a May 28 press release and event announcements, WIRT and its allies initially instigated these successful protests at IDL offices to rally public comments and opposition to the proposed Smoke Ranch natural gas well on Birding Island [10].  On April 30, Alta Mesa Services (AMS) submitted an application for an IDL permit to drill a gas well among the extensive floodplain and wetlands confluence of the Payette River and Big Willow Creek [11].  Between two nearby units of the Payette River Wildlife Management Area and the traditional lands of the Lenni-Lenape tribe, the AMS well would drill under Highway 52 near New Plymouth, only a few miles upriver from the City of Fruitland water supply intake and the Payette/Snake River convergence [12, 13].  On behalf of our nearly 2000 members, IRAGE and WIRT raised numerous objections to IDL permitting of the poorly-placed Smoke Ranch well that could set a precedent for risky, mercenary, industrial use of state lands and waters along and under the Payette River, leased by AMS and Snake River Oil and Gas [14-18].  The Smoke Ranch well pad on private property, constructed before the public comment period closed, recently flooded and required surface water pumping before drilling with toxic chemicals that has not yet commenced [19].

In response to nationwide WIRT publicity of this gas extraction scheme, the Idaho Department of Lands provoked the escalating urgency and significance of citizen protests of private exploitation of public resources with its May 30 Fact Sheet for Media countering WIRT’s May 28 press release [20, 21].  It disclosed the first written proof of impending fracking in Idaho: “Approximately half of the currently completed [eleven] wells in Idaho will need a small frac job to clear the drilling mud from the porous reservoir rocks.”  Similar to, but purportedly smaller than, the risky hydraulic fracturing of shale that has poisoned places like North Dakota and Pennsylvania, dangerous, earthquake-inducing fracking in the fifth most seismically active state could permanently withdraw and pollute millions of gallons of water in the Payette River basin.  As described in WIRT’s rebuttal of IDL’s media release, these deep explosions could induce methane and drilling chemical migration in the punctured, shallower layer of sandstone and gas underlying vulnerable area aquifers and surface waters including irrigation canals [22, 23].  IDL also confirmed the state’s conflict of public interest, as the major holder of subsurface mineral rights in the target region, with its fact sheet revelation that the two profiteering companies had leased tracts from IDL and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in the Payette River WMA, within one half mile of the Smoke Ranch well.  This drill site could provide multiple, underground entry points for directional drilling and fracking of gas fields beneath the wildlife refuge, where the lease prohibits surface disruption from drilling [24]. Continue reading