WIRT Newsletter: Lapwai Meeting & Teach-In, Megaload Hearing & Injunction​, Protester Charges, SAGD Response, & Benefit Concerts

Fellow megaload resisters,

Friday, September 13, 5 pm: Megaload Meeting

Nez Perce tribal and non-tribal activists are holding a gathering at 5 pm this Friday, September 13, at Lapwai City Park in Lapwai, Idaho, to discuss ideas and plans for protester court cases and next megaload movements on Highway 12.  Judge Winmill today granted a preliminary injunction against only Omega Morgan megaloads using Highway 12, in response to the Monday, September 9 federal court hearing that the tribe and Idaho Rivers United brought against the Forest Service.  Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Boise will attend this meeting, to assist the 28 tribal members who were arrested while protesting the last Omega Morgan megaload shipment in early August.  At no cost, ACLU representatives may also provide a training to advise the tribe and community about the legal aspects of conducting civil disobedience.  They could also coordinate on-site legal observers to document protests, if and/or when the next tar sands module currently parked at the Port of Wilma or other megaloads pursue passage on regional highways.  This precautionary activist practice and legal protocol assures better protections and outcomes for arrested protesters, who should talk with attorneys before making any statements or decisions about charges.  Contact the Boise office of the ACLU at 208-344-9750, extension 1202, with your questions.  Nez Perce T-shirts printed at the start of anti-megaload struggles three years ago will also be available at this convergence.  Participants invite everyone attending to bring cold water or drinks in anticipation of high temperatures.  Palouse area carpools depart the WIRT Activist House at 4 pm.

Sunday, September 15, 4 pm: Megaloads Teach-In

Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) Nation community members who are concerned about the recent tar sands megaload protests that occurred on August 5 through 8, 2013, encourage and welcome youth, elders, and people of all ages to participate in a community discussion at The Cave, 118 Main Street in Lapwai, Idaho, from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday, September 15.  The teach-in aims to provide the Nimiipuu Nation and community with information and background about the megaloads and the history of Nimiipuu activism, including the perspectives of nation members who wish to share their knowledge on this topic.  Along with dialogue about why the Nimiipuu Nation wants to stop the megaloads and support other indigenous communities in their struggles against tar sands exploitation, facilitators will host a community forum on this issue.  This second teach-in will also offer updates on the federal court case and legalities, in the aftermath of the September 9 hearing in Boise and the September 13 temporary injunction.  Please bring an open mind, positive attitude, and ideas for next steps.  For further information, see the Caywaaspoo Megaload Teach-In Flyer 9-15-13 and contact Ciarra Greene at ciarrag@nezperce.org.  Moscow/Pullman area carpools depart the WIRT Activist House at 3 pm.

Federal Judge Orders Injunction Blocking Highway 12 Megaloads (September 13 Spokesman-Review Eye on Boise)

Sacrifice zone activists opposing alternative tar sands supply routes are always leery when our regional allies proclaim victory while we continue frontline resistance.  Like the Montana court decision on ExxonMobil loads, Judge Winmill’s ruling applies only to Omega Morgan transports.  Another hauler, Contractors Cargo Company, “wants to ship three massive refinery vessels from the Port of Lewiston to Great Falls, Montana, by November”.  But Judge Winmill’s memorandum decision implies that the Forest Service should enforce Highway 12 closure, ironically beyond the Nez Perce Reservation, until the agency has conducted its corridor review and consulted with the tribe.  His order states, “In accordance with the memorandum decision set forth above, now therefore it is hereby ordered that the motion for preliminary injunction is granted.  It is further ordered that the Forest Service issue a closure order to Omega Morgan pursuant to the Forest Service’s authority under 36 U.S.C. § 261.50.  The closure order shall close Highway 12 between mileposts 74 and 174 to any Omega Morgan megaload, and shall remain in place until the Forest Service has conducted its corridor review and consulted with the Nez Perce Tribe.  It is further ordered that the parties may contact the court’s clerk to set up an evidentiary hearing if necessary.”

Inventor Says Megaload Does Good (September 11 Lewiston Tribune)

Friends, we need multiple 250-word letters to the editor of the Lewiston Tribune (letters@lmtribune.com), especially from our First Nation allies in Alberta, with links to more information refuting this evaporator megaload creator’s claims!  Steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) mining of tar sands fracks underground deposits and causes vast devastation from oil spills and seeps in indigenous lands full of peat bogs, wetlands, permafrost, and boreal forests.  Numerous human and environmental hazards result from SAGD extraction processes.  Please consider the following information and send your letter soon!

WIRT Newsletter: WIRT Song, Missing Megaload, In-Situ Oil Spill, & More (August 2 WIRT Newsletter)

See “Potential Evaporator Impacts” in this early-August WIRT newsletter for descriptions of SAGD problems in Alberta.

Deep Trouble: The Reality of In Situ Tar Sands Operations (April 7, 2011, R.A.V.E.N.)

Plenty of links to reports and videos about SAGD tar sands extraction and Beaver Lake Cree First Nation challenges of it, from an indigenous website source

SAGD (Athabasca Oil Corporation)

Eighty percent of tar sands deposits in Canada are so deep that oil companies say they must use SAGD methods to reach them.  Athabasca Oil Corporation is awaiting delivery of Omega Morgan-hauled evaporators on Highway 12 for its SAGD operations, likely the first of many more.

GE’s ‘Thorough’ Transport Study Came Up Short (September 3 Lewiston Tribune editorial)

Why did a General Electric subsidiary and transport company Omega Morgan barge two megaloads to the Port of Wilma?  The reliably cooperative Idaho Transportation Department and irresolute Forest Service?  Before risking $84 million in calculated gambles, if a two-year-long lawsuit closes the U.S. Highway 12 corridor to megaload traffic, a purportedly thorough and expensive industry review investigated “the most economically feasible and environmentally sound route and means to transport” tar sands equipment to Alberta.  But four ConocoPhillips refinery drums took 15 months to move up Highway 12 and between Lewiston and Billings, stalled by three court hearings, winter weather, and mountainous terrain.  ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil chopped 34 tar sands modules into 75 smaller transports that traveled through persistent Moscow area protesters and monitors, from Lewiston up Highway 95 and Interstate 90 to Alberta in 17 months.  Delays cost Kearl Oil Sands facilities development twice as much as originally projected.  “What started out as a band of Clearwater River corridor residents fighting the projects has picked up momentum in the past three years, capped by an alliance with the Nez Perce Tribe.”

Reader’s View: Permission for Megaloads Ignored Nez Perce Treaty Rights (September 8 Idaho Statesman)

On the eve of the federal court hearing about Highway 12 megaloads, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee Chair Silas Whitman wrote, “‘Permission’ for these megaloads to cross the Nez Perce Reservation and the wild and scenic corridor of the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers was given over the objection of the U.S. Forest Service and the tribe, without tribal consultation or the completion of a corridor impacts study of harm to the treaty-reserved rights of the Nez Perce Tribe and the corridor itself…The travel of more than 1,000 of these megaloads, as is rumored, through one of the most pristine and spectacular areas in America is not genuine commerce…The tribe has been ignored by the outside interests who will reap profits at the expense of the region’s resources.  This exclusion led to frustration that spilled over into acts of civil disobedience so the tribal voice was heard…The tribe will hold the Forest Service accountable to protect this area as Congress and the courts have directed under multiple laws.  The tribe refuses to allow third parties to circumvent that process.  To be clear, the tribe does not believe megaload traffic creates sustainable jobs or economic infrastructure for this region, and the tribe is opposed to the transformation of U.S. 12 into an industrial corridor.  The Nez Perce Tribe, which in providing over 1,300 jobs is one of the largest employers in north central Idaho, is not opposed to commerce or economic development.”

Federal Judge Hears Megaload Arguments Today from IRU and Nez Perce Tribe (September 9 Idaho Rivers United)

IRU pre-hearing press release about the lawsuit

Megaloads to Roll into Federal Court in Boise Today (September 9 Lewiston Tribune)

Among descriptions of both sides’ arguments in the federal court case hearing about Highway 12 megaloads, anti-megaload activist Paulette Smith, who thankfully had the foresight to quickly document her protest/arrest experiences, holds forth: “Declarations filed by tribal members indicate that protests against megaloads are likely if an injunction is not issued.  ‘To me, the protest of this first megaload shipment – organized in a matter of hours – is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the opposition that will accompany any effort to turn this road into an industrial corridor,’ said tribal member Paulette Smith in a declaration included in the court record.”

Highway 12 Megaloads Dispute Heads to Boise Federal Courtroom Today (September 9 Spokesman-Review Eye on Boise)

“The tribe and IRU are asking the court to immediately block any further megaloads from the route until the Forest Service completes a corridor study and consults with the tribe about the transports, as required under an array of federal laws…In addition, the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association, which represents the oversized-load trucking industry, has filed to participate in the case on the Forest Service’s side.”

Megaloads Dispute Hits Federal Court in Boise (September 9 Spokesman-Review)

A post-hearing description of Monday’s court room proceedings, which WIRT could not attend due to lack of regional carpools

Environmentalists, Tribe Seek to Halt GE Megaloads (September 9 KTVB TV Boise)

“Protesting in front of the Idaho Statehouse Monday afternoon, before lawyers for the tribe as well as lawyers for Idaho Rivers United met in federal court later that day, the Nez Perce Tribe, joined by environmentalists, said further shipments of GE gear will cause irreparable harm to the rights of its people and damage environmental values in the federally designated Wild and Scenic River corridor…GE’s second 225-foot-long, 640,000-pound water evaporator is slated to travel on U.S. Highway 12 September 18. [Judge] Winmill promised a ruling by week’s end.”

Sixteen photos of the rally

Nez Perce Leaders Likely to Face Charges (September 8 Spokesman-Review)

Among 28 people arrested on charges of public nuisance, eight of nine Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee members blockaded an Omega Morgan-hauled megaload on U.S. Highway 12 at the reservation boundary in early August.  “Depending on the tribal court’s ruling in the case, committee members convicted could be forced to resign from their posts.  If removed from office, individuals would not be eligible to serve on the committee for three years following their ouster, according to the tribe’s constitution.”

28 Tribal Members Charged in Megaload Blockade (September 12 Lewiston Tribune)

On Wednesday, the Nez Perce Tribal Court charged 28 arrested tribal members with the same public nuisance infractions (unlawfully obstructing passage on a public highway) stemming from the early August protests of an Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload on Highway 12 in the Nez Perce Reservation.  If convicted, eight accused Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee members may be forced by the tribe’s constitution to forfeit their posts for three years.  An arraignment for all 28 demonstrators will occur at 9 am on Friday, September 20, in Nez Perce Tribal Court, 149 Lolo Street in Lapwai, Idaho.  In solidarity and support of our valiant Nez Perce allies, please attend the hearing and a benefit concert that evening at 7 pm in the Unitarian Church, 420 East Second Street in Moscow.  Hosted by WIRT and three Moscow conservation groups, we are raising funds for Nez Perce arrestees and will announce the event soon.

Neil Young Talks Oilsands, Compares Fort McMurray to Hiroshima (September 10 Huffington Post Canada)

This video of Neil Young’s speech about electric/biofuel vehicles and Alberta tar sands devastation makes WIRT want to invite him to play an anti-megaload benefit concert in Idaho.  Another passionate protest in Highway 12 or 95 may cinch the deal.  Who has Neil Young’s contact info?

Neil Young: Tar Sands Fields ‘Look Like Hiroshima’ (September 10 Common Dreams)

Extreme Weather, Extreme Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Extremely Committed Climate Activists (September 10 Daily Maverick)

“Yet even in the belly of the beast, more people seem to be mobilizing, and there is growing connectivities in the spirit…For example, fossil fuel projects have been fought hard in recent weeks by forces as diverse as Idaho’s Nez Perce Native Americans, Idle No More, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide; by Nebraska farmers; by activists from the filthy oil city of Houston who are contesting a new coal terminal; and in Utah where not only have conservationists sued to halt drilling of an 800,000-acre tar sands field stretching into Colorado and Wyoming, but 50 activists physically blocked tar sand mining and construction at two sites last month…”

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843





1 thought on “WIRT Newsletter: Lapwai Meeting & Teach-In, Megaload Hearing & Injunction​, Protester Charges, SAGD Response, & Benefit Concerts

  1. Pingback: Upcoming Events & Megaload, Fossil Fuel Export, & Coal Resistance News | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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