In the wake of the Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! Week and Month of Actions, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and United Vision for Idaho (UVI) are launching the Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! Weekend to conclude an undeniably successful June full of citizen resistance to oil and gas drilling and impending fracking in Idaho [1, 2, 3]. As mercenary natural gas development companies and the colluded state government accelerate pillage of public resources, Idahoans are increasingly confronting politicians and profiteers through actions to protect shared surface, ground, and irrigation waters, wildlife, agriculture, and recreation, air quality and climate, and the subsequent health of current and future generations.
From Coeur d’Alene to Boise, we started the month with statewide protests at six offices of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the agency charged with permitting oil and gas exploration, extraction, and production in Idaho. Initially through these WIRT actions and comments, we voiced opposition to IDL leasing of state lands along and under the Payette River for drilling and rallied against an IDL permit sought by Alta Mesa Services (AMS) to drill the Smoke Ranch well in a Payette River island floodplain near a confluence and wildlife refuge, wetlands, prior Native lands, and downstream city water intake. In response, IDL issued a media counter-release that disclosed that IDL had leased the Payette River Wildlife Management Area for drilling and that it anticipated “small frac jobs” on half of the previously established eleven wells in Payette County. IDL also inexplicably disregarded and refused to post WIRT’s extensive comments on the AMS permit application, despite their relevance. Twenty-plus participants in the June 7 protest outside the main IDL office and minerals division during afternoon rush-hour traffic in downtown Boise waved signs and banners, chalked sidewalk notes, and engaged IDL director Tom Schultz in a brief conversation. Several widely circulated press releases and the WIRT rebuttal to IDL’s counter-release motivated Boise Weekly, Earthworks Earthblog, EcoWatch, and KRFP Radio Free Moscow to cover our extensive demonstrations. Continue reading