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.
Public Meeting is Thursday Regarding Temporary Access to I-90 for Oversize Shipments (December 16 Idaho Transportation Department)
I-90 at Coeur d’Alene Could See Brief Closures for Megaloads (December 16 Spokesman-Review)
Interstate 90 at Coeur d’Alene Could Close for Megaloads (December 17 Spokesman-Review)
ITD Correction: Coeur d’Alene Megaloads are Bound for Montana, Not Canada (December 17 Spokesman-Review)
Megaloads Need Special On-Ramp (December 18 Coeur d’Alene Press)
Megaloads Might Roll through Moscow in January (December 18 Moscow-Pullman Daily News)
While One Mega-Load Meets More Resistance, ITD Mulls Closing I-90, Building Ramp For Three More (December 18 Boise Weekly)
Great Falls Refinery Plans Shipment of Three 1.6 Million-Pound Megaloads (December 19 Missoulian)
OREGON MEGALOAD PROTESTS
“If you build it, we will block it! If you ship it, we will stop it!”
On Monday night, December 16, at about 7:30 pm, two initially peaceful, tar sands megaload blockades resulted in 15 brutal and unprovoked arrests in John Day, Oregon. Among Cascadia Forest Defenders and Portland and Seattle Rising Tide activists, four brave protesters locked to a vehicle and a trailer/concrete barrel in the megaload path downtown and just east of the small, conservative, rural city, delaying its passage for a few hours. City, county, and state police threw everyone and everything near the blockades in jail, including twelve activists standing on the roadside taking photos and videos, documenting police response, and providing medic support, who did not receive police orders to leave or cease and desist prior to their arrests. Observers noted that law officers possibly wounded our locked-down comrades by using unknown, unnecessary, and possibly severe pain compliance methods, like twisting arms behind backs, manhandling, or pepper-spraying the locked-down protesters, to coerce them into unlocking and forcefully extract them. By 10:40 pm, police dismantled the blockades, and the megaload started moving toward steep, mountainous terrain past Prairie City.
Before and during our comrades’ two nights in the Grant County Jail in Canyon City, WIRT and allies received reports and maintained constant communication with frontline activists, as details of the on-the-scene situation slowly emerged, without photos and videos, and we awaited their earliest possible arraignment at 11:15 am on Wednesday, December 18. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett charged each of the defendants with at least five disorderly conduct misdemeanors, set their security bonds at $10,000 with $1,000 cash bails, and established the conditions for their release, prohibiting possession of lock-down devices as well as contact with Omega Morgan, its employees, or within 1,000 feet of its loads or equipment. Please donate soon toward collective legal funds pooled by Portland Rising Tide, to cover the urgent bail needs and anticipated fines and court fees of our recently released and still confined friends.
Over the next few days, we will know better what happened to the protesters who were peacefully resisting movement of the Omega Morgan-hauled transport. WIRT and our John Day Valley contacts intend to highlight their poor treatment: Our comrades do not deserve the violence heaped upon them. Police actions may resemble the pain-compliance extraction of non-violent protesters of the southern Keystone XL pipeline, when industry-government ties unjustly threatened photographers and live-streamers, in attempts to suppress compromising imagery reaching the rural, conservative public. In one instance, two locked-down activists overheard TransCanada representatives congratulating and promising new supplies to local law enforcement, as officers pepper-sprayed and tazed them. Although the courts eventually dismissed the activists’ charges, the involved Wood County, Texas, sheriff’s department personnel retained their positions. Such forceful reactions to passive resistance are only indicative of the massive violence that tar sands mining equipment transports are imposing and will continue to inflict upon people and places along their path and at their destination, unless each of us more actively confront extreme energy extraction. Like in Moscow and on the Nez Perce Reservation, Oregon and Washington activists protested in the absence of other options: no satisfactory transportation department response to public outrage, no effective legal defense despite a wealth of damning evidence, no local jurisdictional control, etc. Regional opportunities to stop these loads amounted to a few Omega Morgan dog-and-pony shows.
Unfortunately, many of the John Day Valley residents welcome such corporate/state abuses of roads, rights, and regular citizens trying to protect air and water resources and the climate and planet. Although people will always disparage those who express their convictions more effectively, even some of the town “independents” are fostering resentment toward protesters. Our John Day friends attribute the obvious violence to political polarization that started long before tar sands shipment catalysts, when the logging community lost some of its livelihood to less detrimental and more careful, comprehensive forest management practices. People are talking, and festering issues may be surfacing in an ongoing, continental battle between the people who would prefer to live peacefully and locally and the people who want to usurp territories and develop everything in sight. Some folks think that just slowing down the trucking outfit is not going to change anything and that protests may actually bring better local paychecks. Residents tell us that only a few of them are voicing unpopular opinions shared with climate and tribal activists, and that some of their neighbors are considering their thorough research, comments, and letters about tar sands exploitation. Please see the following media depictions of the last few days for further insights. WIRT has also been compiling relevant articles, photos, interviews, and videos over the past month, in the WIRT website category “Oregon Resistance,” and will post more about the early December protests soon.
Breaking: Two Brave Individuals Are Locked to a Car in the Path of the Megaload (December 16 Earth First! Newswire)
Police Target Double Blockade with Sweeping Arrests, ODOT Waves Public Safety (December 17 Earth First! Newswire)
‘Face of Resistance in Northwest’: Tar Sands ‘Megaload’ Blockaded (December 17 Common Dreams)
Megaload Moves On, 16 Arrested (December 17 Blue Mountain Eagle)
Police Arrest 16 as Protesters Delay Tar-Sands Megaload near John Day (December 17 Oregonian)
Megaload Protesters Arrested in Oregon (December 17 Spokesman-Review/Associated Press)
Megaload Protesters Arrested at John Day, Oregon; Shipment Headed for Idaho (December 17 Twin Falls Times-News)
16 Arrested Blocking Tar Sands Shipment in Oregon (December 18 Democracy Now! at 9:44)
Megaload Protesters Arraigned in Justice Court (December 18 Blue Mountain Eagle)
Bail Set at $150,000 for Megaload Blockade Arrestees (December 18 Earth First! Newswire)
Oregon Resistance (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)
TransCanada Actively Encouraged Torture Tactics to be Used on Peaceful Protesters (Day 3) (September 26, 2012 Tar Sands Blockade)
RISING TIDE OFFICE OCCUPATIONS
After years of on-the-ground struggles against tar sands megaloads, Wild Idaho Rising Tide is deeply grateful and proud of the three blockades and three office occupations in two weeks of Portland Rising Tide, Rising Tide Seattle, and allies, confronting Oregon megaload designer/owner Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) in Bellevue, Washington, and megaload hauler Omega Morgan in Fife, Washington, and Hillsboro and Umatilla, Oregon. You will always be honored and welcome in Idaho and Montana!
View the following videos depicting Rising Tide Seattle comrades visiting RCCI at its offices, with a statement and various props and banners, on December 12. Seattle colleagues also creatively challenged Omega Morgan at its Fife location on December 3, in solidarity with Port of Umatilla megaload blockaders. Check out a radio report, video, and articles with a declaration and chants during Portland Rising Tide’s protest at the Omega Morgan Hillsboro, Oregon, headquarters on Thursday, December 12.
WIRT also cannot thank enough Danny Showalter and family! While visiting the Wood River Valley of Idaho (Sun Valley/Ketchum/Hailey/Bellevue), Danny graciously educated the locals about tar sands megaloads, posted Idaho/Montana megaload protest flyers, searched for a WIRT megaload presentation/community discussion venue, hiked, breathed Idaho air, hung out, and changed diapers.
Protesters Pay Visit to Tar Sands Enabler RCCI in Bellevue (December 13 RainDagger Productions video)
Omega Morgan – MegaLoads to Canada (December 12 RainDagger Productions video)
Evening News on 12/12/13 (December 12 KBOO between 8:08 and 13:38)
Omega Morgan Protest (December 12 IndyLiveMusicVids video)
Protesters Target Meeting at Megaload Company (December 12 Associated Press)
Megaload Protesters Interrupt Hillsboro Meeting (December 13 Oregonian)
TOPPLED & OTHER IDAHO MEGALOADS
Transformer Load Topples at I-205 (December 3 KOIN TV)
Third regional megaload wreck in 2013!
522,000-Pound Demethanizer and Cold Separator Shipped! (December 6 Eaton Metal Products)
A megaload used by the fracking natural gas industry headed from Pocatello, Idaho, across Wyoming and Colorado, to Liberal, Kansas.
Huge Piece of Natural-Gas Equipment Travels through Pocatello (December 15 Idaho State Journal)
Photos of the Pocatello megaload en route
The Other Mega-Load Rolls … This One in Eastern Idaho (December 15 Boise Weekly)
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843