Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14

Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Passage and Protest, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Monitors Following an Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Convoy, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Monitors Blocked by an Oncoming Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Convoy, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

Despite thorough searches among various regional media sources, a megaload news black-out seemed to have occurred on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 and 5, while 350 Idaho, Occupy Boise, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) climate activists and concerned Wood River Valley and Boise area community members shared successful slide show presentations, a documentary film, and discussions about Alberta tar sands exploitation, regional megaload transports, and direct action tactics and strategies [1].  These tar sands opponents belatedly learned of Omega Morgan transport movement between Ironside, Oregon, and Hammett, Idaho, as they anticipated another protest in Marsing, Idaho, on Monday night, January 6 [2].  However, the previous three-night journey of the first megaload apparently required only two nights of the second transport, which quietly and unexpectedly entered Idaho on Sunday morning, January 5, and crossed Marsing on Sunday night, perhaps purposely avoiding the protests so dramatically publicized during the first incursion [3, 4, 5].

Nonetheless, after stopping at the carpool rendezvous location at the South Broadway Shopko in Boise around 9 pm on Monday, January 6, four intrepid megaload protesters/monitors – one traveling from Seattle to participate – shared the 40-mile journey to Mountain Home instead of Marsing, the two closest megaload route points to the Boise metropolitan area.  Arriving at about 10 pm to meet local Mountain Home protesters at the Pilot Travel Center, near the Interstate 84 Exit 95 interchange with U.S. Highway 20, the Occupy and WIRT activists huddled against the cold and waited four hours in and around their vehicle until about 2 am on Tuesday morning, anticipating a 1 am arrival similar to the first megaload.  As they gathered to protest near the I-84 westbound off-ramp, police excluded them from the corner where workers temporarily removed a “Stop/Do Not Enter” sign that the 350-foot-long, 804,000-pound behemoth could not clear on its 90-degree turn.  About seven city, county, and state police vehicles and several megaload convoy trucks guarded all sides of the situation, easily outnumbering peaceful objectors by three to one.  A county sheriff heckled the protesters before and during megaload passage through the intersection at about 2:30 am, constantly warning them to “Get back.”

After the activists stood their ground and photographed and videotaped the megaload struggling through the turn from Interstate 84 onto U.S. Highway 20, convoy personnel, police, and protesters dispersed from the junction and truck stop.  The megaload resisters drove eastbound on Highway 20, to observe transport interactions with public road infrastructure and other travelers.  They encountered the rear convoy truck and several private and commercial vehicles moving only 15 miles per hour behind the megaload, near milepost 102, and followed the rolling roadblock to monitor possible overlegal/oversize load permit violations.  A few miles after passing the lengthy tar sands facilitator procession, the carload of protesters turned around within sight of one of the convoy vehicle drivers and starting moving in the opposite direction of the megaload.  Within a short distance, a truck with flashing lights on its hood drove in both lanes toward the oncoming vehicle.  The monitors nevertheless continued onward toward the megaload and met a state police car behaving in a similar manner.  Proceeding only slightly forward before being frontally blocked by another convoy vehicle driving in the wrong lane, the monitors talked with the state trooper who backed up beside them and directed them to move closer to the guard rail only moments before the megaload passed in the other direction, within mere feet of their surrounded vehicle.  Such close transport proximity and confusing convoy and police communications with oncoming traffic underscore the serious safety hazards that megaloads impose on dark, narrow stretches of remote, rural, two-lane highways across eastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and western Montana, risking citizen and infrastructure wellbeing for corporate pillage and profit from Alberta tar sands deposits.

[1] Megaloads, Tar Sands, and Direct Action: A Slide Show, Documentary, and Discussion or Workshop (January 2 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[2] Second Megaload Nearing Vale (January 5 Argus Observer)

[3] Megaload Stalled Again.  This Time Paperwork is the Culprit. (January 6 Idaho Statesman)

[4] Update on Second Megaload (January 7 Argus Observer)

[5] Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Marsing 12-28-13 (December 29 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

4 thoughts on “Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14

  1. Yes, yes, yes, only four actual protestors – but so many more in Oregon, Washington, and elsewhere thanking you for your actions

  2. Pingback: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Timmerman Junction 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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