Between 11:01 and 7:15 of the Tuesday, October 15, KRFP Radio Free Moscow Evening Report, Moscow Megaload Return, Leigh Robartes describes the first tar sands megaloads to traverse Highway 95 and Moscow in over a year and a half and associated monitoring, protesting, and litigating efforts.
With a mid-afternoon media release, the Idaho Transportation Department confirmed that likely Alberta tar sands equipment shipments with unknown ultimate destinations will travel through the Highway 12 sacrifice zone: northbound on U.S. Highway 95 between Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene and eastbound on Interstate 90, starting on Tuesday night, October 15. Omega Morgan is hauling four sump sections in two pairs from the Port of Wilma in Clarkston, Washington, embarking on Idaho Highway 128 at 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm, and reaching the Idaho/Montana state line at 5 am and 6 am on Wednesday morning. Each oversized cylinder measures over 20 feet wide, 15 feet tall, 75 feet long, and weighs under 80,000 pounds. Due to the width of these modules, three flagging teams, two pilot vehicles, and portable signs will travel with each pair of transports that cannot legally delay other vehicles for more than 15 minutes and must pull over to let such traffic pass. State and city officials have advised that these ‘mini-megaloads’ are not pieces of the 21-foot-wide, 255-foot-long, 644,000-pound evaporator currently stranded at the Port of Wilma, with plans to cross U.S. Highway 12 scuttled by Nez Perce and allied protests and federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill’s preliminary injunction. Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) has filed an appeal of this decision with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) members and regional activists are coordinating local, anti-megaload actions in downtown Moscow starting at 8:30 pm, to confront Big Oil’s return to Moscow streets and Highway 95 in north central Idaho. We will continue to defend the community of life and climate of Earth with our full participation tonight, as we together raise our voices and impose our bodies against General Electric, RCCI, and Omega Morgan. The ecological, human, and global climate consequences of their dirty energy mining degradation of the boreal forests and peat bogs in First Nations homelands are too dire to not act against this transportation venture. We encourage everyone to bring your friends, family, signs, banners, and musical instruments, and if so moved, practice civil disobedience and initiate blockades to counter corporate oppression and bolster our regional resistance. Please join WIRT activists at the corner of Second and Washington streets, near Moscow City Hall, at 8:30 pm and beyond, to monitor the megaloads south of Moscow and/or to replace and create megaload protest signs lost on Highway 12, before convoys enter Moscow at approximately 10:30 pm. We heartily welcome your spontaneous expressions of anti-tar sands passion and force on every Northwest/Northern Rockies megaload route!
The transportation company Omega Morgan will move oversized loads that could cause traffic delays tonight on U.S. Highway 95.
The four shipments, known as sump sections, are 20.1 feet wide, 15.6 feet tall, 75 feet long, and weigh less than 80,000 pounds. They are not the 21-foot-wide, 255-foot-long, 644,000-pound water evaporator megaloads planned for U.S. Highway 12, which spawned protests and a preliminary injunction issued by federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill.
The shipments will move in pairs from the Port of Wilma. The first pair is scheduled to embark on its journey to Coeur d’Alene and the east-bound portion of Interstate 90 at 9:30 pm and be followed by the second pair at 10:30 pm. They are anticipated to reach the Idaho/Montana state line at 5 am and 6 am Wednesday.
According to a news release from the Idaho Transportation Department (Equipment Shipments Will Travel on U.S. 95, Interstate 90 Starting Tonight), flagging teams will travel with the shipments, and traffic could be delayed up to 15 minutes at a time.
In regards to the megaloads, Resources Conservation Company International has filed an appeal to Winmill’s injunction on the Highway 12 shipments to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
(By The Lewiston Tribune)
Barging in Alberta tar sands facilities components, despite court/street resistance, dissembling them, and sneaking them up Highway 95 are apparently becoming standard, default, corporate operating procedure. General Electric subsidiary Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) has been hiding and taking apart such megaloads in a leased Port of Wilma warehouse. Omega Morgan, Morgan Machinery, and their state police and transportation department facilitators slipped four legal weight “sump sections” up Highway 95 and through Moscow on the night of October 15-16. Adam Rush of the Idaho Transportation Department said that these smaller, lighter transports are “different from the piece of equipment that is still at the Port of Wilma,” probably only because they were no longer attached to it.
No one blockaded the first two suddenly apparent pieces of the controversial RCCI evaporator that passed the too-familiar Third and Washington Street protest haunt in downtown Moscow at 11 pm on Tuesday. The vertical cylinders appeared to be the larger-diameter, outer layers of the second, plastic-wrapped evaporator that arrived at the port on July 22 with the similar megaload that encountered early-August Nez Perce and allied resistance on Highway 12. Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists noticed Moscow city police looking out their nearby back door several times and even walking across the street from them, while city, county, and state police vehicles drove by numerous times, all watching and perhaps waiting for protesters to leave, after the first two RCCI loads traversed the city. At 2 am, haulers snuck the last pair of megaloads past Moscow area residents, after they dispersed at 1:30 am.
Like permitting protocol for the 33 overlegal ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil tar sands processing components that also sought Highway 12 passage but were court-blocked and not as secretly down-sized by mostly out-of-state workers to approximately 70 half-height Highway 95 modules during 2011-12, RCCI also certified to the Idaho Transportation Department that it could not reduce the size of its steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) mining evaporators and thus must transport them through the overpass-free Nez Perce Reservation and wild public lands and rivers around Highway 12. It revealed its lies when Omega Morgan and Morgan Machinery moved pieces of the court-stranded evaporator through Moscow on Tuesday evening, October 15. Heavy hauler Mammoet similarly tried to sneak Imperial Oil behemoths weighing up to 415,000 pounds past Moscow area protesters and monitors.
Are the widths of the remaining parts of the huge second evaporator, seen outside the port warehouse on October 14 and 15, narrow enough to not require oversize permits and public notice and thus traverse Highways 95 or 12 unnoticed? Their schematics originally submitted to the Idaho Transportation Department imply otherwise. Expect resistance soon to more oversize loads that will compromise Highway 95 night-time safety, indigenous lands, waters, and people in Alberta, and the global climate! Moscow and Wild Idaho Rising Tide are fortunate to exercise our responsibility as gatekeepers to Alberta tar sands hell! People across the Northwest should obstruct every such route on rivers and roads leading north!
No Tar Sands Megaloads Anywhere! (October 15 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
Four Oversized Loads to Travel Tonight on U.S. Highway 95 (October 15 Lewiston Tribune)
Megaloads Return to Moscow Streets Tonight (October 15 KRFP Evening Report)
General Electric Apparently Splitting Stranded Tar Sands Evaporator to Send Parts up U.S. 95 (October 16 KRFP Evening Report)
Mini-Megaloads Head for Montana via U.S. Highway 95 (October 16 Lewiston Tribune)
Megaloads Draw Protesters (October 17 Moscow-Pullman Daily News)
WIRT Scouting the Port of Wilma 10-20-13 (October 20 Wild Idaho Rising Tide video)
Omega Morgan/Morgan Machinery Highway 95 Sump Section Superload Applications & Traffic Plan 10-15-13 (Idaho Transportation Department)
During the last two Idaho legislative sessions, a majority of our state senators and representatives succumbed to the mercenary ambitions of the oil and natural gas industry and the state of Idaho. They passed state laws, rules, and regulations allowing hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” that pollutes surface and ground water, sanctioning associated waste injection wells that leak or re-use water wells, permitting seismic testing and gas flaring that jeopardize geologic stability and air quality, granting corporate hegemony over local jurisdictions that undermines democratic oversight of oil and gas facilities, and consenting to drilling on state lands and near or under rivers, wetlands, and wildlife refuges that sustain drinking water, agriculture, and native species [1, 2].
Despite ongoing outcry from thousands of citizens and diligent input from scientists, attorneys, elected officials, and conservation organizations, our delegates have negligently accommodated oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation in Idaho, especially where the state owns the subsurface mineral rights, at the likely expense of their constituents’ health, safety, livelihoods, and self-governance. In the wake of increasingly erratic weather and horrific oil and gas spills in the flooded South Platte River bottomlands of Colorado, honest, hard-working Idahoans dread the impacts of similar probable scenarios on their families and communities, homes and businesses, and resources and recreation in the Payette River floodplains, where drilling resumed this summer, and in the wild, downstream Snake River canyons [3, 4]. Continue reading