Protesters Cited for Railroad Bridge Trespassing during Fearless Summer Rally

In solidarity with grassroots organizations across the country, Rising Tide and allied groups throughout the Northwest organized region-wide direct actions for the Fearless Summer Escalating Week of Action during June 24 to 29 [1].  In Coeur d’Alene, Missoula, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane on June 25, 27, and 28, climate activists protested extreme energy extraction, transportation, and combustion through coordinated demonstrations confronting dirty energy industrial projects including Northwest coal mining, hauling, and burning [2-5].

Like citizens in the Northwest and beyond, activists and allies of Occupy Spokane, Spokane Coalition Builders, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) take issue with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) disclosure at a June 18 U.S. House Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing [6].  The federal agency stated that it will not undertake a programmatic environmental impact statement considering the broader climate change impacts and the effects of rail transport of coal in its review of three proposed Northwest coal export terminals [7-9].  The Corps has also unjustifiably fast-tracked its environmental assessment of Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific Project plans for the Coyote Island coal export terminal at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, Oregon [10].

On behalf of the health and environment of eastern Washingtonians, Idahoans, and Montanans dismissed by the Corps, about two dozen people staged two demonstrations called Fearless Summer: Coal Export Sacrifice Zone Uprising in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington [11-13].  On Thursday, June 27, protesters encountered a deserted Corps regulatory field office in Coeur d’Alene, with a note posted on its door saying that “staff members are working in the field during the afternoon of Thursday, June 27.”  Through photographs, activists nonetheless documented citizen outrage with Corps coal export decisions, before personnel at the private office building expressed their displeasure with their presence.

During evening rush-hour traffic on North Division Street in Spokane on Thursday, June 27, over 20 people gathered for a sign-waving rally denouncing coal export train routes and increased rail traffic through northern Idaho and Spokane.  While most of the participants stood  near the Sprague Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way intersections, two activists walked toward the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad bridge over Division Street near Sprague Avenue, to obtain higher traffic visibility for their protest signs juxtaposed to the loaded coal train cars temporarily stopped on the bridge.  BNSF patrols cited Tony Dellwo and “Ziggy” with second degree criminal trespass [14].  Along with supportive fellow coal export opponents, the defendants will appear in Spokane district court for hearings on July 5 and 11. Continue reading