WIRT Newsletter: Split Evaporator, Nez Perce Fundraising, & Northwest Coal & Shale Oil Transports & Hearings

Fellow activists and friends,

Missing our northern Idaho anti-fracking comrades, but in solidarity with the wounded, the warriors, and the community of Mi’kmaq people, as the North American civil war against fossil fuels commences with spilt blood, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) traveled cross-state on Friday for the Idaho Global Frackdown 2 on Saturday.  On the way, WIRT delivered $1225 in Moscow community contributions raised at the September 20 benefit concert for the legal expenses of arrested Nez Perce megaload protesters.  Due to a weekend on the road (THAT would be a blockade…!), Idaho and New Brunswick fracking, tar sands/megaload, and movement updates since October 13 will have to wait until the next WIRT newsletter.  For now, as documented in the following links, please watch for, photograph/videotape, and report to WIRT and allies any 12- to 13-foot tall, silver, stainless steel barrels on two-foot-high trailers on Highways 12 and 95 and at the Port of Wilma.  They are pieces of the purportedly “irreducible” evaporator stranded by the Nez Perce/Idaho Rivers United court case.  And please pitch in to help arrested Nimiipuu activists raise $800 over the next week.


Tribal Members Opt to Contest Nuisance Beefs (September 21 Lewiston Tribune)

On October 16, an attorney agreed to represent all but a few of the arrested Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) and allied activists, defending them against charges incurred during early August blockades and protests of an Alberta tar sands waste fluid evaporator traversing Highway 12 in Idaho.  The group lawyer has requested a $2000 retainer fee as soon as possible, so Nez Perce and WIRT activists are seeking $800 in donations, beyond the $1200 that generous Moscow supporters raised for our Nimiipuu allies at the September 20 benefit concert.  Please donate soon through WIRT’s WePay link or by sending a check to Wild Idaho Rising Tide at P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, ID 83843, specifying Nez Perce recipients.  We also welcome your notes to wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com about your contribution, which we will share with these passionately courageous defenders of their homeland, treaty, and tar sands impacted indigenous people.  Thank you!

Fall 2013 Moscow Megaload Protests (October 16 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

We eagerly anticipate further videos and photographs captured by participants in the Tuesday night Moscow megaload protest, No Tar Sands Megaloads Anywhere!, as we prepare for ongoing confrontations with Alberta tar sands equipment on Highway 95 and beyond.  See the WIRT photo album description and captions for more information.


Two Train Cars Derail in East Spokane (October 1 KREM TV)

Although not as horrific as the 31 coal train cars that wrecked near Mesa, Washington, on July 2, 2012, the September 30 derailment only a few blocks from the former Occupy Spokane Clubhouse thankfully involved only empty cars, not full Bakken shale oil tankers or loaded coal cars.  It underscored the implicit danger of carbon fuel rail corridors through densely populated areas.

Train Hits Truck on East Trent, Man Pulled from Wreckage (October 11 KREM TV)

Another East Spokane/Spokane Valley train-vehicle collision last Friday, after a more serious (intentional?) wreck in September

Train Strikes Car, Injures One (September 6 KXLY)

State to Study Coal Train Impact on Kent (September 20 Kent Reporter)

According to Kent, Washington, transportation engineering manager Steve Mullen, even without a wide scope of study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers review could halt the Gateway Pacific coal port project: “The majority of their review will involve mitigation for the damages to the Lummi Indian Tribe burial grounds and fishing grounds…The Corps has broad powers to deny permits that infringe on tribal rights.  If the Lummi reject the mitigation proposals, the permit most likely will not go forward.”

The Incredible Shrinking U.S. Coal Industry (September 30 Greenpeace)

King Coal’s Last Stand (October 4 Vice)

An in-depth investigation of the folly of proposed Northwest coal exports, centered on interviews with Washington Department of Ecology regional director Josh Baldi, Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports spokesperson Lauri Hennessey, Lummi Nation totem pole carver Jewell James, Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, and Sightline Institute program director Clark Williams-Derry

BNSF Intimidation of Spokane Anti-Coal Leafleting (September 2013) Continue reading

Payette County P&Z Approves Conditional Use Permits for Alta Mesa

Facilities would allow company to collect and treat natural gas.

Payette County Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members have approved two conditional use permits for two facilities that would allow a natural gas company to collect and treat natural gas.

So far this year, two wells have been drilled in Payette County, and the state has approved a third.  With the approval of these two conditional use permits, the company, Alta Mesa, will be able to sell the natural gas commercially, and Idaho would officially become a gas-producing state.

One of the permits approved by commission members on Thursday was for a hydrocarbon liquid treatment facility near 4303 Highway 30 South in New Plymouth.  This facility would take up nearly six acres of land outside New Plymouth.

The facility would have no liquids open to the atmosphere but held in a sealed, closed container, according to John Peiserich, representing Alta Mesa.

The facility would require a turnaround for 18-wheelers to come through, though Peiserich said the number of trucks would be in the single digits in a week’s time.  A small truck would service the area, and an employee would be present every day, with additional remote monitoring by a computer checking for any fluctuations in the liquids.

A dehydrator would be on the location to extract water vapor from the natural gas.  This dehydrator, which would be out in the open, would run nearly 24 hours per day, seven days per week, Peiserich said.

The size of the dehydrator that would go on the property is built for 40 wells serviced at constant capacity, or approximately 20 million cubic feet of gas per day, Peiserich said. Continue reading

Megaloads Draw Protesters

Four megaload shipments traveling through Moscow on Tuesday night drew about 16 protesters, Moscow Police Chief David Duke said.

The equipment shipments, hauled by Omega Morgan, came through Moscow in pairs, with the first two rolling through town around 11 pm and the second two around 2 am.  Duke said the protesters were gathered on the corner of Third and Washington streets with signs, when the first pair of megaloads came through, but did not cause any interference.  He said that, by the time the second pair came through Moscow, the protesters had left.

Each of the four shipments was 20 feet wide, 15 feet tall, 75 feet long, and weighed less than 80,000 pounds.  After reaching Coeur d’Alene, the shipments turned east to the Montana border on Interstate 90.

(By The Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

General Electric Apparently Splitting Stranded Tar Sands Evaporator to Send Parts up U.S. 95

Likely General Electric tar sands wastewater evaporator travels through Moscow on October 15 (David Hall photo).

Descriptions of the apparently disassembled tar sands wastewater evaporator, stranded by a Highway 12 megaload lawsuit, accompany live Moscow protest recordings and contextual commentary, between 12:48 and 5:46 of the Wednesday, October 16, KRFP Radio Free Moscow Evening Report, Megaload Likely Evaporator.

Mini-Megaloads Head for Montana via U.S. Highway 95

Oversized shipments depart from Port of Wilma

Mini-megaloads were scheduled to depart the Port of Wilma on Tuesday night and make their way to Montana via U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90.

According to a news release from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), the four loads to be moved by the shipping company Omega Morgan are 20.1 feet wide, 15.6 feet tall, 75 feet long, and weigh less than 80,000 pounds.  Although far smaller than the 21-foot-wide, 255-foot-long, and 644,00-pound megaloads that spawned protests and a federal court injunction on U.S. Highway 12 in August, they still required flagging teams and pilot cars.  The mini-megaloads also had the potential to cause delays lasting as long as 15 minutes, according to the state.

[ITD lies:] “This is smaller, lighter equipment,” said Adam Rush, a spokesman for the transportation department.  “This is different equipment; they are called sump sections; it is different from the piece of equipment that is still at the Port of Wilma [because it is no longer attached to it…].” (WIRT emphasis) Continue reading

No Tar Sands Megaloads Anywhere!

Sump Section

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!

Four Oversized Loads to Travel Tonight on U.S. Highway 95

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)

Fall 2013 Moscow Megaload Protests

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)

Evaporator at the Port of Wilma 10-14-13 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photo)

Evaporator at the Port of Wilma 1 pm 10-15-13 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photo)

Continue reading

Idaho Global Frackdown 2

FWW Horizontal Global Frackdown 2013 Logo

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