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


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.

During its movement through Marsing crowds, the megaload pull truck clipped a stop sign at the tight, 90-degree T intersection of Highways 55 and 78, another instance of Canadian oil companies jeopardizing public resources and profiting from Idahoans hard-earned tax dollars.  Even while corporate megaload proponents apparently made fools of their citizen hosts, many local people cheered on the Omega Morgan transport on Saturday night.  As usual at unpopular, peaceful protests, the excessively large number of county and state police, serving as convoy guards and escorts, implicitly and directly warned the stalwart objectors to not make any trouble in their territory.

The unique presence of protesters in their town prompted some older residents to call the demonstrators hypocrites, due to their use of fossil fuels, or to ask them if they would rather buy oil from Canadians or “Ay-rabs.”  Naively blameless as the romanced targets of oil companies and notions of individual profit and cultural warfare, locals in the crowd surrounding the protesters flipped them off and called them idiots.  Some community members, however, were receptive to the activists’ insistence that a national transition toward alternative, sustainable energy sources must arise from grassroots and consumer resistance.

As a third-generation Idahoan, Ann Ford of Boise participated in the Marsing megaload protest not to defend the gold-rush fairy tales elicited from the public by politicians and oil companies.  She stood up for Idaho, in respect for the land and the people of the state that compose a large part of her identity.  Protesting the megaloads was another way for Ms. Ford to “make people think about the small ways that they can be conscientious about their consumerist habits.”

On Sunday, Ann reflected that, “As long as people consider only oil, that is how long people will never consider alternative forms of energy, which will pollute less, cost less in the long run, free us from dependence on giant energy companies, and improve quality of life.  If we continue to consume energy at our current, exorbitant, careless rate, we will more and more quickly be confronted by changes in global climate far more uncomfortable than changes from cars to bikes, mass transit, and, someday soon, solar vehicles.”

Kendall Jeffs and her daughter Megan came from their rural home 25 miles away to protest megaload passage through Marsing.  Both generations stood in solidarity with the myriad current and future families impacted by the boundless toxins and greenhouse gases that megaload-built mining projects will release into vast watersheds and the shared atmosphere.

“We can’t let corporate greed destroy the beautiful world that our children will inherit,” Kendall asserted.  “The fundamental harm of this method of oil extraction hurts everyone, even the ones who would justify tar sands consumption with indoctrinated and industry-driven need.  It hurts poor people and rich people, too, because it is hurting the whole planet.”

Over the last month, Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes, Rising Tide groups, and allied organizations and activists have staged dozens of actions escalating Northwest resistance to tar sands mining and megaload exploitation of indigenous and public resources.  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 megaload 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 four blockades [7].

[1] Megaload in Marsing (December 29 Idaho Statesman)

[2] Megaload Turns through Marsing (December 30 Idaho Press-Tribune)

[3] Small Group Protests Megaload in Marsing (December 30 Idaho Press-Tribune)

[4] Megaload Comes through Marsing (December 29 KIVI TV)

[5] Humongous Megaload Turns 90-Degree Corner (December 31 Gary O. Grimm video)

[6] Megaload Facts (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[7] Tar Sands Megaload Resistance Solidarity (December 23 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

3 thoughts on “Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Marsing 12-28-13

  1. Here is a link to a HD video that I put together at the Marsing, Idaho megaload 90-degree corner movement on December 28, 2013. Helen Yost of Wild Idaho Rising Tide provided a narration describing the “humongous” megaload event.

  2. Pingback: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14 | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

  3. Pingback: WIRT Newsletter: Megaload Calls to Action on Tuesday in Moscow, Missoula, & Beyond | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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