WIRT Newsletter: WIRT Song, Missing Megaload, In-Situ Oil Spill, & More


Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) offers our exuberant gratitude to benefactor Tom Hansen, composer/performer Roy Zimmerman, and musical guide Jeanne McHale, for the uplifting song created for WIRT in May-June 2013, The Tide Is Rising!  Please share freely and revise as your own anthem, Rising Tide activists and friends.


Missing Megaload! (July 29 Big Country News Connection)

As Portland Rising Tide and 350 posed and hung a bridge banner declaring “Coal, Oil, Gas: None Shall Pass,” WIRT activists arrived at the Port of Wilma to confront two tar sands megaloads that passed under the same bridge the week before the Summer Heat: Columbia River Climate Action.  Unlike in Portland, a few protesters and a Lewiston Tribune reporter showed up at 3:30 pm on Saturday, July 27.  Everyone else likely assumed that the Forest Service and conservationists would keep these evaporators out of the Highway 12 wild and scenic river corridor, although most of the region had failed to stop similar transports to Alberta tar sands operations.  But the three of hundreds of potential protest participants observed that one of the Omega Morgan shipments was missing!  Did it sneak up Highway 12 unannounced?  We questioned the on-site security guard who refused to answer our queries, searched both the Ports of Wilma and Lewiston, contacted our non-activist allies who rarely work during weekends, and alerted and asked multiple associates around the region.  No one in the Kamiah Nez Perce community had seen the missing megaload.  Like during the 2011-12 ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil invasion of Highway 95, we felt betrayed and abandoned by industry, government, and absent allies and protest participants.

We cringed at the same-day juxtaposition of people downriver giddily stating “None Shall Pass,” as they posed against, rather than directly confronted, fossil fuel perpetrators, perhaps assuaging guilt with ‘photo ops’, while a megaload disappeared before anyone but a few diehards bothered to face it on the frontlines.  As we have worked to instigate for years, we hope that Americans will wake up and fight back in time, meeting megaloads with resistance at the coast and all along the 465-mile trip up the Columbia/Snake rivers to Lewiston area ports.  Our activist allies are still wondering why we have not blockaded Highway 12 yet.  On Monday, July 29, Mia Carlson-Simpson of Big Country News solved the missing megaload mystery with a few phone calls.  The module was in a nearby shop at the Port of Wilma, where presumably a crew is installing its insulation (or reducing its height for interstate overpasses?).  This Thursday, an ally noted that “Omega Morgan may have gone down Highway 95.”  With plenty of unverified or unshared information emerging, we remain vigilant of any megaload movement up Highways 12 or 95, not entirely convinced that the Forest Service will hold the line, that conservationist allies would call for an injunction, or that the police will not continue to reinforce social and environmental injustice.

“An oversized load that was delivered to the Port of Wilma just west of Clarkston a week ago has not been transported out of the region, although some people have asked ‘Did it sneak up Highway 12 last week?’  Activists with Wild Idaho Rising Tide showed up on Saturday, to protest the two loads that were unloaded from their barges on July 22, and discovered that there was only one sitting there.  According to Olga Haley, a spokeswoman for transport company Omega Morgan, the load is being ‘stored inside a building at the Port of Wilma.’  Meanwhile, she adds that there is no other news since the company is working with the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Transportation on the permit situation.

The water purification vessels were fabricated in British Columbia, weigh about 320 tons each, and could be the first of at least nine loads that the Oregon-based shipping company wants to move east on U.S. Highway 12 to Montana and then up to Alberta, Canada, to the tar sands.  But the loads can’t move until they meet three interim rules set by the Forest Service to protect the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork Clearwater and Lochsa rivers: no traffic can be fully stopped in the corridor, the loads must pass through the corridor in less than 12 hours, and no physical modification may occur of the highway or adjacent vegetation beyond normal highway maintenance.  Omega Morgan has submitted a revised plan that shows the loads meet two of the three rules, but they would still delay traffic.  (Photo courtesy of Wild Idaho Rising Tide)” Continue reading