Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Marsing 12-28-13


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Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Marsing 12-28-13 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

On Saturday evening, December 28, 2013, four women from Boise, Moscow, and Parma, Idaho, gathered with difficulty and courage in Marsing, Idaho, to protest a 450-ton, 376-foot-long component of new tar sands mining facilities, as it exploited Idahoans’ highways, bridges, and rights on its way to Alberta, Canada.  Outnumbered by more than 100 onlookers who seemed mostly supportive of the Omega Morgan-hauled transport of the General Electric subsidiary equipment, they stood in silent, sorrowful vigil, demonstrating their opposition with protest signs reading, for example, “End Big Oil Tyranny” and “Idaho Says No Dirty Energy” [1, 2].

Staged by 350 Idaho and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, the first ever southern Idaho transit and protest of controversial tar sands megaloads, relatively close to the Boise metropolitan area, attracted several regional, commercial and private media representatives, who interviewed and photographed participants [3, 4, 5].  For a third winter, the vigilant activists stood in defiance of the global impacts wrought by tar sands shipments that ultimately degrade public infrastructure, civil liberties, indigenous lives and ways, boreal ecosystems, and worldwide climate [6].  Except through public displays of dissent, they have found no recourse to the state and federal governments who permit, subsidize, and accept hefty lobbyist donations from the wealthiest corporations – the oil, gas, and coal companies – to profit from the largest and most destructive energy extraction project on Earth. Continue reading

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Latest Megaloads Arrive in the Valley


The next round of megaloads has arrived in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley.

The transportation company Mammoet is working with multiple pieces of huge equipment at the Port of Wilma.

The company has plans to transport the equipment to an oil refinery in Great Falls, Montana, via U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90.  The shipments, which are not expected to depart until sometime during the new year, would be about 472 feet long, 16 feet tall, 27 feet wide, and weigh about 1.6 million pounds.

(The Lewiston Tribune)

WIRT Newsletter: Friday Southern Idaho Protest, First Oregon Megaload Travails


Idaho and Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests!

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies have postponed Idaho megaload protesting and monitoring activities, centered on Boise carpools and a demonstration in Marsing, Idaho, until Friday evening, December 27.  On Friday, December 20, the Idaho Transportation Department issued a permit, without a bond, for Omega Morgan to abuse Idaho roads, bridges, and citizen rights and to degrade indigenous and public lands and people.  On the WIRT website and facebook pages, we will regularly update the tentative dates, times, places, and carpool arrangements of megaload resistance events in or near Marsing, Mountain Home, Bellevue, and Salmon, Idaho, and in Missoula and other Montana locations.  Please bring your family, friends, and neighbors, and come prepared with protest signs, banners, and equipment, musical instruments, voices, and chants, audio and video recorders, cameras, notepads, and your spirit of solidarity, regional resistance, and freedom of expression.

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The Winter Travails of the First Oregon Tar Sands Megaload

The inaugural Resources Conservation Company International/Omega Morgan-hauled heat exchanger core of a tar sands mining wastewater evaporator recently struggled against weather and road conditions on the final leg of its Oregon journey in Malheur County, after encountering four blockades, a week of Umatilla tribal vigilance and ceremonies, snow, ice, and frigid weather, and steep curving highways, since it departed the Port of Umatilla on Monday, December 2.  As illustrated in a constantly updated map of the approximate travel segments of the first of three similar megaloads, the transport launched after two blockades from A, the Port of Umatilla, moving 37 miles to Pendleton, where snowy, cold weather forced a week-long layover [1].  During its hiatus, Umatilla tribal members gathered each evening at about 7 pm, offering prayers, songs, and indigenous leadership in defense of the Earth against fossil fuels pillage [2].  With several Umatilla megaload monitors in hot pursuit of the convoy, it resumed travel on Tuesday, December 10, south on Highway 395 through the McKay Creek National Wildlife Refuge and Battle Mountain State Scenic Corridor and Forest, moving 47 miles to C, Ukiah [3]. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Arrested Rising Tide Activist 12-23-13


The Monday, December 23, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features a recorded interview of a Rising Tide climate activist whom police illegally arrested as an innocent bystander at a vehicle lock-down blockade that temporarily halted an Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload in John Day, eastern Oregon, on Monday, December 16.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PST live at 90.3 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.

Tar Sands Megaload Resistance Solidarity


Updates and additions to Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests!

Over the last month by Christmas Eve, Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes, Rising Tide groups, and allied organizations and activists have staged dozens of actions escalating Northwest resistance against tar sands mining and megaload exploitation of indigenous and public lands and people.  At least five Umatilla-led protection ceremonies in Pendleton, four Port of Umatilla protests and blockades, three Portland and Seattle area office occupations of megaload hauler Omega Morgan and designer Resources Conservation Company International, two blockades in John Day, Hermiston and Stanfield protests, a Portland visit to the Oregon Department of Transportation, and a light brigade overpass action have resulted in nineteen mostly illegal arrests of activists at the four blockades [1].

Activists with 350, All Against The Haul, Blue Skies Campaign, Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction, Montana Indian Peoples Action, five Rising Tide groups, and multiple indigenous tribes are planning protests in Umatilla, Oregon, Missoula and other locations in Montana, and in or near Marsing, Mountain Home, Bellevue, and Salmon, Idaho, over the next month [2-7].  In the wake of years of relentlessly meeting every Highway 12 and 95 tar sands facilities shipment in Idaho with resistance, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies will not stand down, despite recent, illegal, and unethical police attempts in John Day to dissuade further First Amendment-protected expressions of citizen dissent of the state/corporate fossil fuel agenda [8].  As news of Rising Tide and allied protests has spread through some of the most popular Idaho media outlets over the past month, we are calling Oregonians, Idahoans, and Montanans to rise up against tar sands megaloads [9].

These heat exchanger cores of wastewater evaporators are likely the remnants of the ten in-situ tar sands mining modules that Omega Morgan tried to transport in August to Canada, up Highway 12 through Nez Perce resistance – manufactured at the General Electric plant in Port Coquitlam, B.C., disassembled (not made) in Portland, and barged to the Port of Umatilla.  Rising Tide groups in Missoula, Moscow, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane have struggled against these components of tar sands extraction since early 2010.  Understanding their ultimate implications for vast ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos, we cannot in good conscience stand aside while some of the wealthiest corporations profit at the expense of millions of people and species and the habitats that sustain them [10].  As our Oregon colleagues develop a seventh lawsuit against megaload incursions of the Northwest, we invite everyone to participate in the following actions. Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: Highway 95 Megaload Meeting, Oregon-Was​hington Protests, Other Megaloads


Compassionate compatriots,

THREE 1.6-MILLION-POUND HIGHWAY 95 MEGALOADS?

Mammoet, the ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil hauler, has proposed moving the first of three 1.6 million-pound, 472-foot long, 27-foot wide, 16-foot tall megaloads up Highway 95 from Lewiston within a month.  These heaviest and longest northern Idaho transports weigh almost twice as much and are 100 feet longer than the Omega Morgan load currently crossing Oregon and that earlier attempted passage through the Nez Perce Reservation until halted by a lawsuit victory.  The shipments would spur construction of a custom Interstate 90 on-ramp and close this primary access highway for “brief” night-time periods, as they avoid and travel under I-90 bridges and cross traffic to rejoin the interstate.

A private Boise engineering firm that conducted 2011 bridge analyses for the Imperial Oil megaloads contacted Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) on Wednesday with a stakeholder letter sent to property owners, non-governmental organizations, and agencies.  Forsgren Associates assured us that several Spokesman-Review articles erroneously stated the final Alberta tar sands destination of the equipment.  Bound for a Calumet refinery in Great Falls, Montana, the megaloads will be used to remove sulfur from diesel and thus later reduce sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions from diesel combustion engines.  Are these declarations more green-washing, like Resources Conservation Company International statements about its evaporators?

Nonetheless, WIRT opposes all weapons/processors of chemicals of mass destruction supporting expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, even Montana or North Dakota components of tar sands or shale oil production facilities.  We are continuously forging wider climate and tribal activist alliances, to stage protests on inland Northwest roads.  All three convoys facilitated by incestuous dirty energy industry/state relationships would traverse and disturb Moscow and the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Reservation.  Like dozens of other smaller behemoths, they will cost citizens damage to personal and public rights, lives, property, and infrastructure and ultimately the Earth and its climate.

Voice your concerns and outrage at this horrific, ongoing, climate-wrecking onslaught.  The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will accept public comments at a Thursday, December 20, 4 to 7 pm meeting/hearing at the ITD Coeur d’Alene office, 600 West Prairie Avenue.  WIRT suspects that ITD scheduled this megaload meeting for the same time as the anticipated Omega Morgan megaload arrival in southern Idaho, but snow forecasts have salvaged our precarious capacity.  Please contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide soon to arrange carpools that depart the WIRT Activists House promptly at 1 pm or later if planned in advance, to scout Interstate 90 with Spokane colleagues before the meeting and winter nightfall. Continue reading

Three Megaloads Headed Our Way


Shipments through Lewiston and Moscow will begin in January, require brief I-90 ramp closure

Three megaloads could be traveling through Lewiston and Moscow on their way to a Calumet refinery in Great Falls, Montana.

The cargo is expected to arrive at the Port of Wilma just west of Clarkston before taking U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 through Idaho, said Adam Rush, a spokesman for the Idaho Transportation Department at Boise.

At 472 feet in length, the shipments will be longer than a football field. They’ll weigh 1.6 million pounds and be 27 feet wide and 16 feet tall.

Many details are still being determined, such as how many nights of travel it will take for the rigs to go through Idaho and which nighttime hours they’ll be allowed to travel. Continue reading

Megaload Protesters Arraigned in Justice Court


The 15 adult protesters charged in Monday night’s actions to delay the megaload were arraigned on Wednesday morning in Grant County Justice Court.

Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett set security at $10,000 or $1,000 cash for each, and set conditions for their release, including:

* No contact with Omega Morgan or its employees.

* No coming within 1,000 feet of materials, equipment, or other loads being transported by Omega Morgan.

* No possession of “dragon sleeves” or other items used to lock oneself to a fixed object or to prevent safe extraction.

The accused were charged with misdemeanors in connection with the protests, in which vehicles were disabled in the highway, in an attempt to stop the Omega Morgan megaload from proceeding.

A 16-year-old girl, also apprehended at the protests, was released to family friends.

(By the Blue Mountain Eagle)

Megaloads Might Roll through Moscow in January


Trucks, loads to be 472 feet long and weigh 800 tons

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) might allow three megaload deliveries of oil field equipment to travel through Moscow, en route to a refinery at Great Falls, Montana.

One vehicle and its equipment load would weigh 1.6 million pounds total and be 472 feet long, 27 feet wide, and 16 feet high, according to a press release sent out by ITD.

State officials aren’t “being fully transparent” about the route or when the cargo is expected to reach certain areas, because they want to avoid controversy, said Helen Yost, an organizer with Wild Idaho Rising Tide, a group based in Moscow.

About a dozen protesters came out to show their displeasure when four smaller megaloads came through Moscow in mid-October, for example.

“And we’re definitely going to protest this time,” Yost said about the planned January deliveries. Continue reading

Megaload Moves On, 16 Arrested


Crowds gather in Prairie, John Day, as protesters chain up

Police arrested 16 protesters on Monday night, after they tried to block the Omega Morgan megaload from traveling through John Day.

In two separate incidents, protesters chained themselves to vehicles on the route, but the efforts succeeded only in delaying the departure of the load.

Omega Morgan, the load’s Hillsboro-based hauler, had planned to depart the west edge of John Day at 8 pm, but left at about 9:30 – after police had cleared the highway.

The massive transport – 23 feet wide, 19 feet tall, and 380 feet long, including pusher and puller trucks – headed east on Highway 26 through downtown John Day and Prairie City.  Traveling into the mountains, it was parked Tuesday morning at the Oregon Department of Transportation weigh station at Austin Junction.  It was expected to move again on Tuesday night, but got special permission to travel in the daylight to avoid heavy frost over Eldorado Pass, east of Austin.

Destined for the tar sands region of Alberta, Canada, the load drew waves of spectators as it moved, and parked, its way through Grant County in the past week.

The cargo is a 96-foot-long vessel known as an evaporator, which uses steam to salvage water that otherwise would be lost in the tar sands extraction process.  It was manufactured in Portland and barged to the Port of Umatilla for the road journey.

Protesters, concerned about climate change and damage to the environment, have been tracking the load, and they kept police busy on Monday night. Continue reading