WIRT Newsletter: ITD Lies, Mini-Megaloads Sneak, Corporations Quit, & Protesters Prepare


Defenders of our most vital shared resource (air),

TAR SANDS MEGALOADS UPDATE

On Thursday, October 24, Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) withdrew its U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals request for a stay pending appeal of federal Judge Winmill’s preliminary injunction and its emergency appeal to transport Alberta tar sands fracking equipment through Nez Perce and public lands and wild and scenic river corridors along Highway 12 in Idaho.  We offer our admiration and congratulations to everyone who worked so diligently on this federal lawsuit and the accompanying grassroots battles to block RCCI transports on Highway 12, especially Nez Perce Tribe attorneys Mike Lopez and Dave Cummings, the Advocates for the West legal team, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee members, Idaho Rivers United, Friends of the Clearwater, Fighting Goliath, and Nez Perce, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), Moscow, and Missoula activists.  As one WIRT associate exclaimed, “The world needs more committed environmental warriors like you!”  We appreciate that fossil fuel extraction companies have again reassessed their transportation project feasibility and abandoned Highway 12 as a possible route for overlegal industrial equipment, and that recent cooperation among the Nez Perce Tribe and several regional groups has impeded Omega Morgan passage.

Considering that ANY megaload imposes impacts on the national forest wildlands, wild and scenic river corridors, and Nez Perce homelands and treaty rights, which the Forest Service is studying in consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe, Judge Winmill’s preliminary injunction should hold for all such traffic and subsequent impacts until the study is complete.  But for now it applies only to Omega Morgan megaloads hauled only on Highway 12, not to other companies on that route, or to Omega Morgan transports on other highways, or to smaller fossil fuel processing modules that may not be considered “megaloads.”  Before RCCI pulled its appeals court case last week, our allies clarified our understanding of Judge Winmill’s September 12 decision and the Forest Service’s subsequent September 17 closure of U.S. Highway 12.

Judge Winmill granted a preliminary injunction and ordered the Forest Service to issue a closure order that 1) blocks any Omega Morgan megaload on Highway 12 between mileposts 74 and 174, through the wild and scenic river/national forest corridor, and 2) remains in place until the Forest Service has conducted its corridor review and consulted with the Nez Perce Tribe.  The Forest Service closure order, immediately effective until rescinded by the Forest Service, prohibits any Omega Morgan 1) vehicle over 16 feet wide or 150 feet long, 2) overlegal vehicle that requires longer than 12 hours to travel this portion of Highway 12, and 3) vehicle that requires roadway or adjacent vegetation modification for passage.  The Forest Service will probably not tighten these megaload restrictions anytime soon.  But if another company applied for a Highway 12 overlegal permit, allies would swiftly seek a similar temporary injunction.  Moreover, even if stranded evaporator owner RCCI had persuaded the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay Judge Winmill’s preliminary injunction, the Forest Service closure order could have remained in force.  At this point, WIRT and all of our allies can only hope that Judge Winmill would extend a permanent injunction or that the Forest Service would institute a perpetual closure order for all Highway 12 megaloads in Idaho, when the multitude of intrinsic and cultural values of this internationally treasured route emerges from further analysis. Continue reading

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Climate Justice Forum: Millennium Bulk Terminal Scoping Hearing Testimony in Pasco 10-28-13


The Monday, October 28, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features recorded and edited testimony from the three-hour Millennium Bulk Terminal scoping hearing in Pasco, Washington, on October 1.  Speakers voice concerns about the global, regional, and community impacts of the proposed Longview coal export facilities and accompanying Northwest coal trains, for agency consideration in a draft environmental impact statement.  Participants note employment opportunities, economic vitality, worker/public safety, and human, environmental, and climate health threats.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT live at 92.5 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as his KRFP DJ.

Omega Morgan/Morgan Machinery Highway 95 Sump Section Superload Applications & Traffic Plan 10-15-13


Omega Morgan Highway 95 Traffic Plan 10-15-13

Omega Morgan Highway 95 Traffic Plan Drawing 10-15-13

Washington Sump Section Superload Application 317 10-15-13

Washington Sump Section Superload Application 318 10-15-13

Washington Sump Section Superload Application 326 10-15-13

Washington Sump Section Superload Application T-26 10-15-13

Megaloads Company Gives Up Legal Fight


GE subsidiary drops appeal of federal preliminary injunction blocking shipments to Alberta, Canada, tar sands fields.

The company blocked by court order from moving its giant wastewater evaporator equipment through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, on its way to Canadian tar sands fields, has abandoned its legal efforts to reverse the injunction.

Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI), a subsidiary of the General Electric (GE) Company, filed documents on Thursday, signaling it would voluntarily drop its appeal and its emergency motion to stay the injunction.

According to a statement issued by GE, the company abandoned the appeal because of “ongoing uncertainty regarding timely delivery of properly permitted shipments.  Because this technology is important to our customers and to improving the environmental impact of oil recovery operations, GE instead will focus on alternative shipment options. (WIRT emphasis)”

Last month, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered the U.S. Forest Service to block the shipments from using a 100-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 12 that passes through the forest and the Lochsa/Middle Fork of the Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor.  The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United.

The company asked Winmill to reconsider, but the judge reached the same conclusion when he reconsidered the ruling earlier this month.  The company filed an appeal following Winmill’s second ruling, but pulled the appeal on Thursday. Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: Thursday, October 24, Protest Planning Potluck 7 pm


WIRT activists and supporters,

As you have likely noticed over the last week, Nez Perce and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists have been blindsided by the Idaho Transportation Department, Omega Morgan, and another transport company rapidly moving inadequately announced “mini-megaloads” over regional roads.  (See the WIRT website, facebook photo albums, and YouTube channel.)  Despite plenty of advance scouting, we have found ourselves poorly prepared to confront these tar sands and fossil fuel invasions by Pacific Rim manufacturers and Alberta and Oregon haulers.

With four core WIRT organizers already pledged to participate, we hope that you will consider attending the regular Thursday WIRT potluck meeting at 7 pm on October 24 at the WIRT Activist House in Moscow, to brainstorm non-violent direct action tactics, create replacement megaload/tar sands protest signs, and build collective strength and unity. Continue reading

Interview with Nez Perce Woman Who Temporarily Halted Load Almost Big Enough to Qualify as Megaload on Reservation


Liquid full absorber on Highway 12 through Kamiah

Nez Perce tribal activist Judy Oatman talks about her solo vehicle blockade of an oversized, Vietnam-made liquid full absorber traveling on Highway 12 during daylight hours on Monday, October 21, through an interview between 9:32 and 2:16 of the Tuesday, October 22, KRFP Radio Free Moscow Evening Report, Big Load on Res.

Nez Perce Briefly Block Oversize Load Nearly Big Enough to Trigger Judicial Review


A mini-megaload of unknown ownership, origin, and destination traversed Highways 12 and 95 and met Nez Perce resistance in the reservation on Monday, October 21, as described between 25:40 and 23:55 of the Monday, October 21, KRFP Radio Free Moscow Evening Report, Borderline Load.

WIRT Scouting the Port of Wilma 10-20-13


On Sunday afternoon, October 20, three Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists drove by the Port of Wilma, across the Snake River from Clarkston, Washington, where megaload hauler Omega Morgan has leased and secured a yard and warehouse, to store, disassemble, and stage evaporators transported whole up Highway 12 or in pieces up Highway 95 to Alberta tar sands steam assisted gravity drainage mining operations.

(WIRT video)

Vietnam-Made Liquid Full Absorber 10-20&21-13


On Sunday afternoon, October 20, on the way to scout the Port of Wilma, three Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists spotted a megaload with an oversized load banner and Alberta license plates (4MMO-31).  The liquid full absorber manufactured by Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam, on Trail King trailers licensed in Alberta and provided by R & D Trailer Rentals, parked facing downhill (southbound) at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) weigh station on the top of the Highway 95 Lewiston grade.  The cylindrical module, used to process natural gas or other fossil fuels, measures 15.38 feet wide, 14.64 feet high, and 38.71 to 49.21 feet long, with a gross weight of 64,174 pounds.  WIRT documented the equipment specifications with videos and photos.

Nez Perce tribal activists Alicia and Mary Jane Oatman were traveling west on U.S. Highway 12 near Greer, during daylight hours on Monday, October 21, when they saw this oversized load with Alberta license plates speeding east with two pilot cars, wide enough to take up a lane and a half.  As soon as they reached a cell phone service area, they called their mother, Judy Oatman, to ask if she could videotape the mini-megaload’s passage and get its permit information.  Judy confronted the Canada-bound transport by staging a perpendicular, solo vehicle blockade, to briefly stop the Vietnam-made absorber crossing her mother’s land.  She questioned the transport crew and put them on notice that they were trespassing illegally through Nez Perce lands.  They drove around her truck, probably called the cops, and proceeded through Kamiah and over the Clearwater River bridge.  Judy took two separate videos with good footage and continued monitoring the sneaky big corporations’ obviously dangerous load, as it probably headed to Alberta to refine natural gas used to extract and process tar sands.

Without news of this shipment in the regional papers, and allies awaiting the results of their gracious Highway 95 public records request, no one knew what the load was (a natural gas dehydrator?), where it came from (across Washington from the coast or rivers?), and where it was going in Canada.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) sent out a media release to motivate press communication with various state agencies, in an effort to belatedly reveal the truth of the situation on Tuesday.  A media source contacted Lonnie Richardson of the Idaho State Police, who said that this big load (and similar ones to come) traveled Highway 12 to the Gifford Reubens Road to Highway 95, bypassing a defunct railroad trestle near Lapwai and heading south toward Grangeville.  This natural gas processor could have moved southward toward the soon-to-be-fracked Payette County oil and gas field.  But our trustworthy Nez Perce allies saw the load move through Kamiah.  Dennis Bernstein of the nationally broadcast radio show Flashpoints called WIRT, in response to our October 21 press release, but we told him that we still did not have enough information about this fiasco.  KRFP Radio Free Moscow covered the incident on its Monday evening report, and Judy called and interviewed for KRFP’s Tuesday evening news program.

The Idaho Transportation Department stated that the module was an “excessive load,” not considered a “megaload.”  The agency provided no public notice of this transport except a returned phone call from Doral Hoff of the ITD Lewiston office, who confirmed that the megaload traveled on Highway 12 to Montana and Canada during daylight hours on Monday, October 21.  For a few days, WIRT and tribal allies remained unsure whether this absorber went up Highway 13 to Highway 95 and south to Payette County gas fields or up Highway 12 to Montana and Alberta.  On Wednesday, October 23, Adam Rush of the Boise ITD office verified that the mini-megaload arrived at the Montana border, via Highway 12, at 3:30 pm PDT on that Monday.  He also described a typical three-step process of public notification about this transport that was inexplicably rushed and unaccomplished in this instance.  Unimpeded by Judge Winmill’s preliminary injunction and the subsequent Forest Service closure order prohibiting Highway 12 passage of only Omega Morgan megaloads larger than 16 feet wide and 150 feet long, this hauling company and ITD blatantly disregarded the regional tar sands/megaload resistance community.  This situation and the October 15-16 dismantled evaporator transports through Moscow on Highway 95 prove that ITD will sneak Omega Morgan and other companies’ oversized shipments up both Highways 12 and 95.

Vietnam-Made Liquid Full Absorber 10-20-13 (October 20 Wild Idaho Rising Tide videos)

Nez Perce Briefly Block Oversize Load Nearly Big Enough to Trigger Judicial Review (October 21 KRFP Evening Report)

Interview with Nez Perce Woman Who Temporarily Halted Load Almost Big Enough to Qualify as Megaload on Reservation (October 22 KRFP Evening Report)

(All photos except the Kamiah photo provided by Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

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Continue reading

Vietnam-Made Liquid Full Absorber 10-20-13


On Sunday afternoon, October 20, on the way to scout the Port of Wilma, three Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists spotted a megaload with an oversized load banner and Alberta license plates (4MMO-31).  The liquid full absorber manufactured by Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam, on Trail King trailers licensed in Alberta and provided by R & D Trailer Rentals, parked facing downhill (southbound) at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) weigh station on the top of the Highway 95 Lewiston grade.  The cylindrical module, used to process natural gas or other fossil fuels, measures 15.38 feet wide, 14.64 feet high, and 38.71 to 49.21 feet long, with a gross weight of 64,174 pounds.  WIRT documented the equipment specifications with videos and photos.

Nez Perce tribal activists Alicia and Mary Jane Oatman were traveling west on U.S. Highway 12 near Greer, during daylight hours on Monday, October 21, when they saw this oversized load with Alberta license plates speeding east with two pilot cars, wide enough to take up a lane and a half.  As soon as they reached a cell phone service area, they called their mother, Judy Oatman, to ask if she could videotape the mini-megaload’s passage and get its permit information.  Judy confronted the Canada-bound transport by staging a perpendicular, solo vehicle blockade, to briefly stop the Vietnam-made absorber crossing her mother’s land.  She questioned the transport crew and put them on notice that they were trespassing illegally through Nez Perce lands.  They drove around her truck, probably called the cops, and proceeded through Kamiah and over the Clearwater River bridge.  Judy took two separate videos with good footage and continued monitoring the sneaky big corporations’ obviously dangerous load, as it probably headed to Alberta to refine natural gas used to extract and process tar sands. Continue reading