Eastern Oregon Megaload Public Meetings

An evaporator parked off U.S. Highway 20, between Fairfield and Highway 75 in Idaho, on July 31, 2013 (Greg Stahl photo)

An evaporator parked off U.S. Highway 20, between Fairfield and Highway 75 in Idaho, on July 31, 2013 (Greg Stahl photo)

At 7 pm on Monday, November 18, Omega Morgan representatives will hold a meeting at the Grant County Regional Airport in John Day, Oregon, to talk with the public about their proposal to move oversize refinery equipment through Grant County to southern Idaho [1].  County Judge Scott Myers requested this first of two meetings confirmed at the weekly county court session on November 15.  After fielding questions and concerns about the Oregon megaloads and routes from citizens and agencies, Myers contacted Omega Morgan, who offered to send its public affairs team to the session.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) scheduled a second presentation by Omega Morgan, at 11 am MST on November 25 at ODOT District 14 Headquarters, 1390 SE First Avenue in Ontario, to inform the Southeast Area Commission on Transportation Regional Partnership about the project [2, 3].  Elected officials, tribal leaders, and citizens of Grant, Harney, and Malheur counties compose the commission.

The Hillsboro, Oregon-based hauling company Omega Morgan is seeking permits to transport three, but probably many more, parts of Alberta tar sands evaporators by barge to the Port of Umatilla, east to Pendleton, south on U.S. Highway 395 to Mount Vernon, and east through John Day and Prairie City via U.S. Highway 26 to Ontario [4].  It initially planned to truck the megaloads south through Burns to Nevada, but recently indicated the eastern route toward southern Idaho [5, 6].  Starting in late November and continuing into December, the eastern Oregon loads would require utility crews to lift many low-hanging wires.  Blocking both lanes of two-lane highways at night, with traffic delays limited to 20 minutes by state law, these modules and accompanying dozen-vehicle convoys could compromise emergency access to the only regional hospital for residents suffering sudden heart attacks, strokes, accidents, or childbirth. Continue reading

A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands

A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands 1

Tar Sands, Megaloads, Pipelines, Climate Change: What’s the Connection?

Tar sands, megaloads, pipelines, climate change: What’s the connection?  Explore these issues with six concerned local citizens from Idaho, who journeyed in 2012 and 2013 to the tar sands region of northern Alberta, to gather with First Nations and non-tribal activists and journalists from across the continent, for the annual Tar Sands Healing Walk.  Led and inspired by indigenous elders and leaders, participants experienced first-hand the scale of environmental devastation caused by tar sands mining and resulting crude oil production.

Through a slide show presentation and discussion, six local healing walkers – James Blakely, Pat Fuerst, Pat and Dan Rathmann, Anne Remaley, and Helen Yost – will share what they learned on their solidarity journey, connecting tar sands exploitation with regional megaload transports, huge pipeline projects, impacts on people and places, and overarching climate change and moral issues.  Join co-sponsors 350 Idaho, the Idaho Sierra Club, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC), and Wild Idaho Rising Tide for this insightful talk from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, December 7, in the 1912 Center Arts Workshop Room, 412 East Third Street in Moscow, Idaho.  For further information, contact Pat Fuerst of PESC at epfuerst@frontier.com.