Dear WIRT activists and supporters,
Monthly WIRT Potluck Meeting
We are converging at the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) Activist House at 7 pm on June 20, as on the third Thursday of every month, for some brainstorming, planning, and potlucking fun. A few Moscow and Spokane folks have been arranging Fearless Summer events for next week, while WIRT remains immersed in Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! actions and preparations for the Second Tar Sands Solidarity Journey, Rising Tide Continental Gathering, and other endeavors. WIRT activists will finalize summer plans at this Thursday evening meeting, so we would greatly appreciate your feedback soon about ideas for protests. Please see the WIRT Events Calendar website page for more information.
Two Omega Morgan Evaporators on Highway 12?
In response to our allies’ requests for information about potential overlegal/oversize equipment shipments on U.S. Highway 12 across Idaho, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) released on Friday, June 14, documents that Omega Morgan submitted to ITD in mid-May (Omega Morgan Schematics 6-13, Omega Morgan Traffic Control Plan 6-13, Omega Morgan Haul Route 6-13). Supporting permit requests to transport two humongous evaporators (“water purification vessels”) from the Port of Lewiston to Sunshine Oilsands near Fort McKay, Alberta, the files describe the schematics, traffic control plan, and haul route and schedule of megaloads that weigh about 644,000 pounds and measure 255 feet long, 23 feet tall, and 21 feet wide. Omega Morgan of Hillsboro, Oregon, and Red Wolf Traffic Control of Lapwai, Idaho, moved similar loads in October 2013, the first to reach Alberta ground-zero of tar sands exploitation via Highway 12. Crews expected to transport the evaporators around June 12.
But by the April 8 deadline, the U.S. Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration did not appeal Judge Winmill’s early-February decision on the federal lawsuit brought forward by Idaho Rivers United and Advocates for the West. The judge ruled that these federal agencies have, and neglected to implement, the authority to regulate megaload passage on Highway 12, through national forest lands and wild and scenic river corridors. The Forest Service is purportedly devising protocols and rubrics for ITD permits of such transports, likely engendering disputes with – and stalling – ITD’s usual rubber-stamp permitting procedures. Reymundo Rodriguez, the ITD motor carrier services manager, told Omega Morgan that “Idaho does not guarantee such movement a year from now, as there are many variables concerning safety, weight constraints, construction, and etc., but Idaho has permitted loads of this height and greater.”
Anti-megaload coalition scouts have not recently observed these evaporators at area ports or on regional rivers, but WIRT and our allies will notify you when and if they attempt to traverse the same route that we will travel during the Second Tar Sands Solidarity Journey to the Fourth Tar Sands Healing Walk. Effective direct actions on Highway 12 will only happen with your involvement: please contact WIRT soon to organize!
Thanks to several generous contributors who recently funded WIRT’s anti-fracking campaign. We rely solely on individual donations to cover hundreds of dollars of costs every month: please help out if and when you can through WePay.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843
WildIdahoRisingTide.org & on facebook & Twitter