Monday Montana Megaload Uprising!


Dear Comrades,

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) offers its humble gratitude for all of the courageous Nez Perce tribal members and regional supporters who so successfully blockaded and scuttled the Omega Morgan plan to move a 644,000-pound evaporator to Alberta tar sands operations through the wild rivers, forests, and canyons of the Nez Perce homeland.  After crossing Idaho over four nights and meeting the most passionate resistance ever witnessed by such an industrial convoy, the megaload reached Highway 12 milepost 4, just over Lolo Pass in Montana, at 5:30 am on Friday morning, August 8.  Ideally, the Idaho Rivers United/Nez Perce injunction requested on Thursday may take effect this week for the Lochsa-Clearwater wild and scenic river corridor in Idaho.  We have heard that another eight loads are now headed down the Washington coast toward the Port of Wilma, so we are calling on all West Coast/Columbia River activists to report their observations of these shipments.

According to the Montana Department of Transportation and its issued megaload permit, the module cannot travel in the state on Fridays or Saturdays and will move from its current location to the Bonner truck stop on Monday night, August 12.  Northern Rockies Rising Tide (NRRT), No Shipments Network, All Against the Haul, and other anti-megaload activists sent an alert and are organizing a Monday night solidarity protest.  They coordinated an action planning meeting on Saturday afternoon and are asking that, if you can help with organizing or participating in the Monday action, please contact NRRT as soon as possible by email at northernrockiesrisingtide@gmail.com or through the phone number posted in the contact section of the NRRT website.

Thanks to everyone in Idaho and Montana for your ongoing climate, tar sands, and indigenous rights activism.  We urge brave, fellow activists in Montana to rise up against this escalating Big Oil invasion.  WIRT will send you megaload issue updates as timely as possible from the road.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843

WildIdahoRisingTide.org & on facebook and Twitter

208-301-8039

Rolling Onward, Slowly


Protesters unable to stall oversized shipment, but tribe plans to take the fight to court today

Nez Perce tribal members and other megaload protesters were largely unsuccessful Wednesday night in their efforts to slow the shipment as it travels on U.S. Highway 12 en route to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

But the Nez Perce Tribe’s work to halt the load is expected to continue today. Nez Perce Tribal Chairman Silas Whitman said Wednesday the tribe plans to file legal action this afternoon seeking to stop the load.

Approximately 100 protesters started Wednesday night gathered at Canoe Camp at Orofino along Highway 12 awaiting the arrival of the shipment. The oversized load began the evening just west of Pink House, with plans to move through Kamiah and end its third day of travel at Kooskia.

The protesters carried signs with messages such as “Idle no more, Nez Perce Tribe,” and “Megaloads not welcome.” Continue reading

Omega-Loads No More Again!


Second Nez Perce Megaload Protest [BH2]

[THURSDAY UPDATE: The Nez Perce tribal community, several conservation groups, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists are staging a protest tonight, to directly confront the Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload that rolled past its planned Kooskia parking stop to Highway 12 Milepost 90 in Syringa last night. Please bring your friends, family, comrades, and documentation tools described in WIRT’s original action alert and meet to carpool at either 5 pm or 6 pm PDT tonight, August 8, from the sidewalk in front of the Friends of the Clearwater office in Moscow (116 East Second Street) to the Clearwater Valley. Idaho Rivers United, Friends of the Clearwater, and Fighting Goliath are hosting a Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic River rally at 7 pm PDT, converging at 5695 Highway 12, where participants can preferably park closely together, either along or diagonally on the driveway at Highway 12 milepost 77.4, instead of in more visible, nearby highway turnouts. Tribal and allied resistance will gather in the general vicinity of the evaporator parked in the private lot of Terry and Becky Jackson, who lift the milepost 83 tram cable for megaload passage and who erected the roadside sign stating “Megaloads Keep Idaho Green $$$.” The tar sands module, which will desecrate indigenous lives, rights, waters, and lands at its destination, now occupies the traditional Nez Perce homeland, the wild and scenic river corridor, and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.]

The Nez Perce Tribe has vowed that it will continue nightly protests until it rids its reservation and ancestral homeland from the ravages of tar sands/industrial equipment and resulting ecological, social, and climate devastation.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Occupy Spokane are infinitely grateful that the people and places directly confronting tar sands supply routes are growing!  Please join carpools of megaload protesters from Friends of the Clearwater (FOC) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), sustaining our support of Nez Perce resistance and departing the sidewalk outside the FOC office (116 East Third Street in Moscow) at 8 pm on Wednesday, August 7, and Thursday, August 8.  On Wednesday, we will journey to Highway 12 milepost 38.8, the Pink House pull-off near Orofino that an Omega Morgan megaload currently occupies, and on Thursday, we will travel to other Clearwater Valley locations that the evaporator may reach.  On both and potentially successive nights, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has permitted the megaload convoy to resume passage toward Alberta tar sands operations at 10 pm.  Please bring your friends and family, spirit of solidarity, protest signs and banners, video and still cameras, audio recorders, food, and beverages for the third, fourth, and perhaps many more showdowns between the heroic Nez Perce community and yet another industrial/police invasion.  WIRT will update this action alert as further opportunities for megaload opposition arise. Continue reading

Omega Morgan Megaloads at Nez Perce Border, August 5-6, 2013


The Nez Perce Tribe asserts its sovereignty, stopping a gigantic, oversize General Electric load en route to Canadian tar sands operations at its reservation border for about two hours.  Neither the tribe nor the U.S. Forest Service have approved these Omega Morgan-hauled loads to travel through Nez Perce land, the Clearwater/Lochsa Wild and Scenic River Corridor, or the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, across most of U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho.  Idaho State Police escorts eventually impose their force to let the megaload pass.

(All videos provided by Zachary Johnson)

First part, the initial half-hour of the August 5-6 Nez Perce and allies’ megaload blockade

Second part, from 30 to 50 minutes into the August 5-6 Nez Perce and allies’ megaload blockade

Continue reading

Updates on Highway 12 Tar Sands Megaload Protests


A megaload waits on Monday at the Port of Wilma (Lewiston Tribune/Elaine Williams photo).

A megaload waits on Monday at the Port of Wilma (Lewiston Tribune/Elaine Williams photo).

Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee member Brooklyn Baptiste speaks during a megaload protest on Monday night at the Clearwater River Casino (Lewiston Tribune photo).

Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee member Brooklyn Baptiste speaks during a megaload protest on Monday night at the Clearwater River Casino (Lewiston Tribune photo).

UPDATE 11:15 pm Tuesday, August 6: The megaload is moving again, but slower than a walking pace.

Idaho State Police, Nez Perce County sheriff’s deputies, and Nez Perce Tribal Police are urging people to stay off the roadway.  Protesters are taking issue with tribal police for their role in trying to keep the megaload moving, rather than protecting the tribe and its homeland.

“We have the right to assemble, we have the right to protest.  It’s in the Constitution,” said Del Rae Kipp of Lapwai, who is one of the protesters facing charges from last night’s blockade near the Clearwater River Casino.

“That megaload is violating a court order.  Make it stop,” Lana Rickman of Lapwai shouted at police and Omega Morgan employees, as the shipment crawled along the highway.

Law enforcement personnel have arrested at least two people thus far tonight. Continue reading

No Tar Sands Omega-Loads Shall Pass!


Omega Morgan Megaloads FOC 4 Modified 7-22-13

[AUGUST 6 UPDATE: Our allies among the Nez Perce Tribe, Idle No More, and several conservation groups opposing tar sands megaload transports on U.S. Highway 12 are calling on Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) to participate in protests again tonight, Tuesday, August 6, as the Omega Morgan-hauled evaporator and its convoy depart the Arrow Bridge vicinity at 9 pm.  A carload of WIRT activists is departing the sidewalk outside the Friends of the Clearwater office (116 East Third Street in Moscow) with the WIRT banner at an unknown time.  Please call 208-310-1790 for more information about carpools and join us!]

As megaload hauler Omega Morgan attempts to defy the authority of the Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to review and regulate transport of massive Alberta tar sands equipment through the national forests and wild and scenic river corridor surrounding U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) appreciates, supports, and encourages the courageous resistance of Nez Perce tribal members.  If the Portland, Oregon-based company imposes its 644,000-pound General Electric Corporation evaporator onto the Nez Perce Reservation from the Port of Wilma after 10 pm on Monday, August 5, WIRT activists will peacefully stand with our tribal allies in earnest solidarity against the genocide and ecocide wrought by this megaload’s impending bitumen extraction in Canada.  We share deep concerns and opposition to the fossil fuel industry’s aggressive disregard and adverse impacts on the unique Nez Perce traditional homeland and landmarks, cultural and treaty-reserved resources, and tribal commerce and government function.  Please meet to carpool from the corner of Second and Washington streets in Moscow at 8:30 pm and/or from Locomotive Park in Lewiston at 9:30 pm on Monday evening, to demonstrate our collective outrage at Omega Morgan’s plan to move the first of ten proposed tar sands shipments, measuring over 250 feet long, 23 feet high, and 21 feet wide, through the cherished lands and waters that sustain the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) people.  To learn about opportunities to protest and monitor this megaload, contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide at wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com or at 208-310-2108 and 208-301-8039.

Despite a February ruling by federal judge B. Lynn Winmill, affirming Forest Service/FHA authority over Highway 12 megaload permits, Omega Morgan barged two evaporators to the Port of Wilma, Washington, a few miles downriver from Lewiston, Idaho, on July 22, provoking urgent conflict with numerous opposing interests.  On Friday, August 3, the Idaho Transportation Department issued a permit for pending transport of one of these megaloads, but the Forest Service has not granted approval for it to cross the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and the Lochsa and Middle Fork of the Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor.  The Nez Perce Tribe executive committee passed an emergency resolution on Sunday, August 4, formally disputing these shipments through its reservation and homeland, as it challenged the Forest Service to use all legal avenues, including the courts, to stop them.  The tribal executive chairman asserted that the “tribe will not interfere with its members’ constitutional rights to lawfully assemble in opposition to the immediate threat of the transport of these two megaloads” and that it “would not prevent its own members from blocking the load,…[when] actions beyond mere words may be necessary, in order to have the Nez Perce Tribe’s voice heard.”*  Forest Supervisor Brazell has consistently reiterated that he will not allow the Omega Morgan incursion before consulting with the tribe, scheduled for August 20, but that he does not know if he has legal authority to physically block it.  Brazell and Forest Service officials plan to respond to Omega Morgan’s announcement of its transport intentions on Monday morning, August 5.  According to the contractor’s traffic control plan, its megaload would violate the first two of three Forest Service interim criteria for permit approval: it is greater than 16 feet wide and 150 feet long and would require more than 12 hours to travel through the national forest, but would not necessitate modification of the roadway or adjacent vegetation to facilitate passage.  However, the Omega Morgan module would obstruct both lanes of mostly two-lane Highway 12, with full traffic stoppage for less than 15 minutes at a time and ongoing, rolling roadblocks during its four-day journey to the Idaho/Montana border at Lolo Pass.

* Nez Perce Tribe Urges Forest Service to Stop Megaloads (August 5 Lewiston Tribune)

Nez Perce Tribe Urges Forest Service to Stop Megaloads


Tribal members encouraged to peacefully oppose move set for today

The Nez Perce Tribe challenged the U.S. Forest Service on Sunday to use “all legal avenues” to stop a pending megaload shipment from crossing national forest land and said it would not prevent its own members from blocking the load.

In a news release issued on Sunday evening, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Chairman Silas C. Whitman said he was shocked at the audacity of shipping company Omega Morgan, which announced on Friday its plans to begin moving a massive evaporator east on U.S. Highway 12 tonight.  The company has a permit from the Idaho Transportation Department but has not gained approval from the U.S. Forest Service.

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell has said he won’t authorize the shipments before consulting with the tribe.  But he also said he doesn’t know if he has legal authority to physically block them.

Whitman said the tribe believes the federal agency can and should stop the shipments.

“The Forest Service must not tolerate Omega Morgan’s open defiance of its authority and instead should aggressively assert, in court if necessary, the agency’s decision, so that the Nez Perce Tribe’s unique treaty-based interests and U.S. public’s interest in the national forest and wild and scenic river corridor are fully protected,” he said. Continue reading

Urgent WIRT Meeting, Possible Monday Megaload Movement


WIRT Activists and Friends,

URGENT WIRT MEETING

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is staging a strategizing and planning meeting at the WIRT Activist House at 6 pm on Sunday, August 4!  Participants will discuss tactics for protesting and monitoring tar sands evaporators that could cross Highway 12 in Idaho beginning on Monday night, August 5.  Omega Morgan has attached one of these megaloads to pull and push trucks and staged it for transport in a paved lot at the Port of Wilma, Washington, a few miles downriver from Lewiston, Idaho.  As described in a previous WIRT newsletter, another shipment remains in a large shop at the port.  Please call 208-310-2108 for more information about this WIRT meeting and see the following articles about this emerging situation.  Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction and WIRT organizers are participating in a direct action training for trainers this weekend and will conduct a regional training session soon, to foster effective demonstrations against megaloads, oil and gas drilling/fracking, and the Keystone XL pipeline.  Expect an action alert after the WIRT meeting on Sunday evening…

Earth First! Direct Action Manual

Megaloads Could Go Monday (August 2 Lewiston Tribune)

On Friday, Omega Morgan stated its intentions to start hauling a massive evaporator up Highway 12 to Alberta tar sands operations at 10 pm on Monday, August 5.  The Forest Service “is not likely to try and stop the shipments if the company proceeds without its approval.”  The Idaho Transportation Department issued a permit to Omega Morgan on Friday and advised it to contact the Forest Service and the Federal Highway Administration.  A federal court recently affirmed their authority to review and regulate megaload permits for passage through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and the Lochsa and Middle Fork of the Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor.  But the Forest Service has only suggested three interim criteria for such megaload transport and has not yet consulted the Nez Perce Tribe, conducted a proposed study of corridor values affected by the shipments, nor established a megaload permit approval process.  Forest Service response to Omega Morgan’s assertions will need Chief Tom Tidwell’s approval.  Opponents and mercenary supporters of megaloads have sent dozens of messages to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest over the past few weeks.

Update: Can a Mega-Load Make a U-Turn? (July 31/August 3 Boise Weekly)

Editorial: Time to Set Rules of Road for Idaho Megaloads (July 31 Spokesman Review)

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843

WildIdahoRisingTide.org & on facebook & Twitter

208-301-8039

Smoke Ranch Well Protest 8-2-13


On Thursday and Friday, August 1 and 2, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) arranged carpools from north Idaho and Boise to the current Payette County drilling area, to stage the first, overdue, public, on-site, oil and natural gas drilling protest in Idaho history.  With continent-wide recognition through Earth First! Newswire coverage, even Utah comrades called WIRT and considered participation.  At 3 pm MDT on August 2, friends, family, and neighbors gathered with their fracking/drilling protest signs and banners, cameras and binoculars at the A & W Restaurant/Chevron gas station just north of Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.  These dozen protesters from across the state and country chanted and waved signs at the nearby high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30.  They then followed organizers to the Smoke Ranch well site on Highway 52, from where Alta Mesa Services had moved a drilling derrick to the new ML Investments well pad, soon after the IRAGE/WIRT announcement of this demonstration of outrage.

Along Highway 52, the protesters observed the capped well head and pad of the first directionally drilled natural gas well in the state, located in a floodplain full of standing water, wetlands, riparian areas, and a wildlife refuge, between the Payette River and Big Willow Creek.  The ultimate outcome of the Smoke Ranch well could set a precedent for looming drilling/fracking on and under nearby state lands and waters already leased by Alta Mesa and Snake River Oil and Gas.  From the roadside only a few miles upstream from the City of Fruitland municipal water intake and the Payette/Snake River confluence, IRAGE activists had monitored the well site daily.  On that sunny August afternoon, the first time that many of the demonstrators had seen Idaho oil and gas facilities, Alma Hasse of IRAGE described the prior activity and equipment at the well site, and pointed out the location of a possible diesel fuel or drilling mud spill clean-up that she and Tina Fisher documented on July 21.  Everyone also noticed the close proximity of working ranches and community irrigation canals to the well situated below distantly recognizable sandstone cliffs and bluffs.

At the last stop during this great educational and expressive event, concerned citizens converged along Little Willow Road, to view the derrick and operations of the ML Investments 2-10 well, situated on a private road and property.  No news reporters joined the protesters as they considered, discussed, and learned about the strong, impending possibilities of compromised air and surface and ground water quality, threatened environmental and human health, and jeopardized local agricultural, recreational, and economic productivity, which oil and gas exploration and production of the Hamilton/Willow gas field could impose on the surrounding rural landscape.  Participants talked about a looming third new well since drilling resumed after a few years in June, as well as a proposed pipeline connecting Payette County gas wells to Idaho Power Company’s Langley Gulch natural gas-fired power generation plant near New Plymouth.  As industry and government continue to hide their fracking intentions for the region, which do not require public notice or comments and could spur well treatments soon, several state, county, and city police cruised by or chatted with demonstrators at all three sites visited on that Friday.

Protest at Smoke Ranch Well (July 29 Earth First! Newswire)

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters from across the state and country chant and wave fracking/drilling protest signs at the high-traffic corner of Highways 95 and 30 near Interstate 84 Exit 3 in southwestern Idaho.

Protesters observe the capped well head and pad at the Smoke Ranch site south of Highway 52, the first directionally drilled natural gas well in the state, located in a floodplain full of standing water, wetlands, irrigation canals, riparian areas, and a wildlife refuge, between the Payette River and Big Willow Creek, only a few miles upstream from the City of Fruitland municipal water intake and the Payette/Snake River confluence.

Protesters observe the capped well head and pad at the Smoke Ranch site south of Highway 52, the first directionally drilled natural gas well in the state, located in a floodplain full of standing water, wetlands, irrigation canals, riparian areas, and a wildlife refuge, between the Payette River and Big Willow Creek, only a few miles upstream from the City of Fruitland municipal water intake and the Payette/Snake River confluence.

Continue reading

Megaloads Could Go Monday


But Forest Service has yet to give its approval for loads to cross agency land.

Megaloads could begin rolling eastward on U.S. Highway 12 starting Monday, but their fate remains in the legal limbo between state and federal jurisdiction.

The Idaho Transportation Department issued a permit to shipper Omega Morgan on Friday, authorizing the company to begin moving massive water evaporators through Idaho and toward oil fields in Alberta, Canada, starting at 10 pm Monday.  But in an accompanying letter, transportation department administrator Alan Frew advised the company that the U.S. Forest Service and the Federal Highway Administration have jurisdiction to review the permit.

“You should contact these federal agencies,” he wrote.

Omega Morgan President and CEO John McCalla sent a letter to Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell on Friday, stating the company plans to embark on Monday on a four-night trip following the highway from Lewiston to the Idaho/Montana state line at Lolo Pass.  But the agency has not given its approval for the loads to cross national forest land between mileposts 74 and 174.

On Friday, Brazell again said he does not support the loads crossing the forest until agency officials have had time to consult with the Nez Perce Tribe, which opposes megaload shipments.  He said the agency will respond to the company’s letter and the response will need to be approved by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

“Until we consult, we are not approving anything from our end,” he said. Continue reading