WIRT Newsletter: Rising Tide & Climate Movement, Totem Pole Journey, & Megaload/T​ar Sands News

Activists, friends, and supporters,


Leaked Stratfor PowerPoint Shows Corporation’s Fear of Activist Campaigns (August 3 Popular Resistance)

A Stratfor document released by Wikileaks reveals that big business interests take activists and their impacts seriously.  It advocates dividing and conquering various groups in four categories, who are working to stop the extraction, development, and transportation of tar sands.  “Pull opportunists and realists into compromised positions, convince idealists they have the facts wrong, and isolate the most dangerous group, the radicals.”  Please write a letter of support for Jeremy Hammond, who has pled guilty to the Stratfor hack and is currently collecting such letters to ask the judge for a sentence of only time served.

Northwest Fossil Fuels: Exports and Resistance from Oregon to Alaska (September 26 Rising Tide)

Across the Cascadia region, from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Coast and from northern California to south central Alaska, huge private corporations are developing energy infrastructure that imposes dangerous risks and associated impacts in the short-term and compromised functionality and management in the mid- and long-term.  Their antiquated analyses consider profit maximization over the real concerns of residents and the interdependence of all life that transcends political boundaries.  People throughout Cascadia need to exercise their rights to free, prior, and informed consent of energy projects affecting the natural world upon which present and future generations depend.

Rising Tide activists Adam from Seattle, David from Portland, Helen from Moscow, and Maryam from Vancouver, B.C. presented an insightful panel discussion and community forum on these topics on Thursday evening, September 26, at the University Temple United Methodist Church in the University District of Seattle.  After long journeys that day, we talked about Northwest fossil fuel corridors and transportation projects, including megaload routes, from North Dakota to Washington and from Oregon to Alaska.  Our discussions about regional export of Alberta tar sands, Bakken shale oil, and Powder River Basin coal, and imports of tar sands mining equipment met with thoughtful concluding questions and extended post-forum conversations with 40 audience members.  Ideas for similar educational events arose later that weekend among Rising Tide groups who met near Bellingham.

Rising Tide Regional Strategy Summit (September 27-29 Rising Tide)

Two weeks ago, some of the 29 Rising Tide activists who participated in a weekend strategy summit at a Bellingham area farm touched coastal waters and joined the Lummi Tribe totem pole blessing ceremony at Cherry Point, Washington, near the site of the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal.  (Please see the following Totem Pole Journey links and listen to the Climate Justice Forum radio program on KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday evening, to hear parts of the hour-long recorded ceremony.)  After the festivities on Friday evening, an Occupy Spokane activist spoke at the strategy summit and, after returning home, committed to restarting Spokane Rising Tide.  The summit exceeded most of our expectations, bringing together experienced and emerging Rising Tide groups and key organizers from Vancouver/Coast Salish Territories, B.C., Bellingham, Seattle, Olympia, Portland, and Moscow, to strengthen our regional network and increase our communication and coordination.


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gives Its Hacktivists the Same Name as Actual Activist Group (September 26 Wired)

Riding the pop culture wave of the television show Agents of SHIELD with Rising Tide North America

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Meet Its Real-Life, Climate-Defending, Disney-Dissenting Villains (October 1 Yes!)

More misguided television/internet hype: strange associations for remote climate activists who consider even big cities bizarre

Timeline of the Climate Movement: How Direct Action Took Center Stage (October 2 Yes!)

“There’s a clear trajectory, too: away from ‘Big Green’ groups, who placed their hopes in electoral politics, and toward creative, high-stakes actions in the communities that have the most to lose.  Increasingly, direct action is seen not as a fringe tactic but as the next logical step when other avenues fail.  ‘When people see each other confronting power, their fear goes away…People are willing to take risks when they know their community has their back.’”  The interactive, graphic timeline embedded in this article could benefit from more extensive, detailed data that maps on-the-ground campaigns across the continent over the last decade.

Building the Environmental Movement Today: A Debate (October 3 Climate and Capitalism)

Sasha Ross’ critique of Chris Williams’ article Strategy and Tactics in the Environmental Movement, followed by Chris Williams’ retort

The Climate Movement’s Pipeline Preoccupation (October 8 Earth Island Journal)

Arielle, David, Kirby, and Maryam of our Rising Tide North America network penned this article about next steps for the climate movement, during and after the Keystone XL pipeline campaigns.

Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse (April 12-14 Counterpunch)

The Grassroots Battle Against Big Oil (October 28 The Nation)

Tar Sands Blockade’s robust climate movement-building, grassroots resistance to fossil fuels deep in the belly of the Texas beast made the cover of The Nation magazine!  In blockaders’ own words: “From the Winnsboro tree blockade to Nacogdoches and Houston, from eminent domain abuse to climate justice, writer Wen Stephenson with The Nation extensively interviews several blockaders and our local allies, like the Austin Heights Baptist Church and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Service, in one of the most in-depth profiles ever written about Tar Sands Blockade.”


Kwel Hoy’: We Draw the Line – A Totem Pole Journey to Fight Big Coal! (August 23 Indiegogo)

Kwel Hoy’: A Totem Pole Journey (August 23 Kwel Hoy’: A Totem Pole Journey)

Kwel Hoy’: The Cherry Point Blessing Ceremony (September 23 Kwel Hoy’: A Totem Pole Journey)

Rising Tide activists from Vancouver, B.C., to Moscow, Idaho, to Portland, Oregon attended the twelfth day of the Kwel Hoy’ Totem Pole Journey on Friday, September 27, near Ferndale, Washington.  The Lummi House of Tears Carvers brought their totem pole from the Powder River Basin in Montana to the place where the Northwest coal export battle started, at Xwe’chi’eXen, or Cherry Point, on Puget Sound.  We joined a powerful blessing ceremony, celebrating the legacy of many resident Lummi generations and supporting their efforts to protect sacred waters and lands into the future.

Cherry Point Totem Pole Blessing Ceremony 9-27-13 (September 27 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

Kwel Hoy Cherry Point 9-27 (September 28 Anita Hanks)

Photos of the Kwel Hoy’ ceremony at a proposed coal export site, Cherry Point, Washington, depict representatives of the Lummi and other tribes sharing words and music with hundreds of people gathered to bless a Lummi-carved totem pole that traveled from indigenous lands among Montana coal mines to the Pacific Coast.

Photos: Totem Pole Symbolizes Cross-Border Unity for First Nations (September 29 Vancouver Sun)


Energy Barn Dedication (September 22 York News Times)

Demand Clean Power (October 7 Huffington Post)

With perhaps the most eloquent statement we have ever read, linking tar sands megaloads with wildfires, climate change, the Keystone XL pipeline, and Obama administration policies, has a strong Alliance for the Wild Rockies endorser sold out?  Why is the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) using long-time Idahoan Carole King to sign-up members and cash-in on the megaloads issue?  NRDC translated some Korean documents and extrapolated future megaload numbers three years ago, and never responded to numerous pleas for assistance from WIRT as we battled Highway 95 megaloads a year later.  Where in this article is a call for support of the regional groups and tribes who have been struggling in the roads and courts against megaloads for over three years?  In Idaho, we all need more tangible tactics than another open letter to President Obama: Good luck with that result!  Did he ever respond to Friends of the Clearwater requests for Highway 12 closure to megaloads?  Why doesn’t Carole play megaload benefit concerts for Idaho organizations instead?  Beware the Big Oil-investing Big Greens telling (stealing?) our story more slickly than us, through yet another issue/funding diversion away from our more significant, shared, grassroots resistance work.  We are unflattered…

First Nations “Go Undercover” to Ask World’s Largest Oil Tanker Companies Who Is Responsible for Spill Clean-Up Costs in Canada (October 8 Market Wired)

Federal Judge Affirms Megaload Injunction! (October 10 Idaho Rivers United)

Thanks to Idaho Rivers United for their extended, relatively successful lawsuit, started when the first megaloads crossed Idaho in early 2011.  WIRT envisions that, as the region protects Highway 12 from megaloads, it can guard the entire Northwest/Northern Rockies from tar sands/shale oil imports on rivers, roads, and rails and exports on trains and tankers.

Judge Refuses to Let Megaloads Roll (October 10 Lewiston Tribune)

Judge Winmill granted neither reconsideration nor a stay of his preliminary injunction that prohibits only the litigants’ megaloads on Highway 12, until the Forest Service completes its corridor impact study and consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe.  Highway 12 ‘victory’ usually means Highway 95 hell and a ‘blind eye’ regional pass to Alberta tar sands ecocide/genocide.  So prepare yourselves, Northwest activists, with river, port, and highway scouting, ITD permit questioning, sign and equipment making, etc., for a Highway 95 evaporator transit to disastrous Alberta tar sands SAGD mines!

The similar megaload that encountered the Nez Perce resistance gauntlet on Highway 12 in early August measured 21 feet wide, 250 feet long, 23 feet high, and weighed 644,000 pounds.  The largest 2011-12 Imperial Oil loads/trailers/trucks blocked two 12-foot lanes of traffic with their 24-foot widths and 215-foot lengths, barely cleared overpasses with their 15-foot heights, and tore up our highways with their 415,000-pound weights on hydraulic trailers.  Monitors noticed one of these megaloads using an off-ramp/on-ramp at a Highway 395 overpass.  We observed no such maneuvers on Highway 95, and no one thoroughly monitored Interstate 90.  As noted in an August 16 Moscow-Pullman Daily News article, U.S. Highway 95 Still Limited to ‘Mini’ Megaloads, our best experienced guess suggests that, like the ConocoPhillips coke half-drums, the mechanical integrity of these evaporators would likely be compromised if sliced horizontally in half.

The recent temporal progression of this lawsuit and associated occurrences also seem to indicate transporter Omega Morgan’s desperation to use Highway 12 – not Highway 95 – for its stranded payload.  Late on September 12, Judge Winmill issued a preliminary injunction against litigants’ Highway 12 megaloads.  On September 14, activists spotted an Omega Morgan pole truck measuring height clearances on Highway 95.  On September 17, the Forest Service closed Highway 12 specifically to Omega Morgan megaloads.  And on September 20, General Electric subsidiary Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) filed a motion for Winmill’s reconsideration, which the Forest Service later supported.  Why would these megaload producers and haulers fight so doggedly to access Highway 12 if they could pummel Highway 95?

But whatever worst case scenario WIRT imagines, the oil companies usually trump with even worse.  Like our response to the 350 Imperial Oil megaloads that we monitored, protested, and blockaded on Highways 12, 95, and 395 and in Spokane, WIRT and allies pledge that the General Electric evaporator stranded at the Port of Wilma will not pass through our region without a fight or a downriver barge celebration.

Highway 12 Megaload Injunction Upheld by Judge (October 11 Spokesman-Review)

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843





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