Mammoet Megaloads/Keystone XL Pipeline Gatherings & Trainings

Mammoet 2014 Routes

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies invite concerned regional citizens to attend four tar sands megaload/pipeline-oriented events planned for this week, between April 2 and 6.  On the evenings of Wednesday, April 2, and Friday, April 4, community organizers with offer presentations and inter-community discussions among Sandpoint and Plummer residents, Coeur d’Alene and Kalispel tribal members, and Moscow climate activists about the three heaviest, longest, and widest megaloads to ever travel on U.S. Highway 95 and either Idaho Highway 200 or Interstate 90 and East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, hauled by Mammoet USA South.**  On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, April 5 and 6, we will provide condensed workshops sharing non-violent direct action skills with people eager to learn about and confront these transports and/or who have signed the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance.  These convergences could feature a regional issue slide show, documentary screening, and/or action-planning conversations, depending on participant interests.

Citizen, Tribal, & Climate Activists Gatherings about Mammoet Megaloads

* Wednesday, April 2, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: East Bonner County Sandpoint Library Rooms 103 & 104, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho

* Friday, April 4, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: Benewah Wellness Center Conference Room B, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho

Direct Action Training Sessions for Mammoet Megaloads/Keystone XL Pipeline

* Saturday, April 5, 12 noon to 4 pm: Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room, 702 East Front Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

* Sunday, April 6, 12 noon to 4 pm: The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho Continue reading

March 2014 Highway 95 Mammoet Megaload Updates

Issue Background

Dutch heavy hauling company Mammoet plans to move three 1.6-million-pound industrial shipments, measuring 441 feet long, 27 feet wide, and 16 feet high, from the Port of Wilma, Washington, near Lewiston, Idaho, to the Calumet-owned Montana Refining Company in Great Falls, Montana [1-4]. At this closest U.S. refinery to Alberta tar sands mining operations, these megaloads would contribute to tripling refinery conversion of 10,000 barrels per day of Canadian tar sands crude into Rockies transportation fuels. These pieces of a desulfurization reactor, a “hydrocracker,” would travel through Moscow, Plummer and Worley on the Coeur d’Alene Tribe Reservation, Coeur d’Alene, and perhaps Sandpoint before entering Montana [5, 6]. They would traverse 20th Street in Lewiston to avoid the rock face where Highways 12 and 128 intersect, and would only cross Moscow between 11 pm and 1 am on Sunday through Thursday, requiring removal of street light poles at the Washington Street curve, where the sidewalk would be closed between First and C Streets.

Since first public notice on December 13, 2013 – six weeks after initial Mammoet project proposal to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and after November 26 rejection by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – until late February 2014, Mammoet intended to traverse Highway 95 and Interstate 90, exit at Sherman Avenue, and take East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive for 5.5 miles, to detour around the Veterans Memorial (Bennett Bay) Bridge, a span too tall and long to withstand these megaload weights [7-9]. At an Interstate 90 interchange at the end of the drive near Higgens Point, previously abandoned when the ground collapsed under earth movers during construction, the behemoths would cross under the freeway and mount a temporary, gravel on-ramp between two wetlands. The colossal shipments would access the westbound interstate lanes while traveling east for a short distance, before crossing to the eastbound lanes and over the 1319-foot-long Blue Creek Bay Bridge built in 1951, and then driving off the highway between Pinehurst and Smelterville. Between mid-January and mid-February, the ITD District 1 office in Coeur d’Alene and FHWA personnel in Boise exchanged and revised various documents including a draft environmental evaluation based on a categorical exclusion, per National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements [10, 11]. Without FHWA review and approval of this transportation project, called the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route, Mammoet and ITD could not construct the likely reusable “temporary” Interstate 90 on-ramp, which would accommodate megaload passage while endangering natural resources and public infrastructure.

On February 6, 2014, a day after final ITD documents submittal to FHWA, five regional conservation- and climate change-oriented groups including WIRT co-wrote and sent a letter of concern about these proposed Mammoet megaloads to FHWA, ITD, and other responsible city, county, state, and federal representatives and transportation, wildlife, and environmental agencies [12]. Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, Kootenai Environmental Alliance (KEA), Friends of the Clearwater, and Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC) strongly recommended that these agencies “better consider and act to prevent the implications of this proposed Mammoet move and on-ramp construction for air and water quality, wildlife and habitats, the regional environment and inhabitants, and global climate.” The grassroots organizations formally requested that the appropriate cooperating agencies comply with NEPA mandates, extend and expand their project review and public involvement processes and periods, and delay and deny project approval based on further analysis. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Alma Hasse & Tina Fisher 3-31-14

The Monday, March 31, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Alma Hasse and Tina Fisher of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), from ground-zero of Idaho oil and gas exploration and development, Payette County.  Alma and Tina will provide updates on citizen observations, documentation, and resistance in four counties, Payette County “baseline” water sampling requirements, seismic testing invasions and risks, proposed processing and pipeline facilities, IRAGE water testing outreach, and oil and gas leasing of state lands under rivers.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, 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 her/his KRFP DJ.

Mammoet Megaloads Public Records 3-24-14

Selected, incomplete but ongoing posts of 95 public documents belatedly provided by the Idaho Transportation Department District 1 (Coeur d’Alene), in response to Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s third public records request for information and communication about Mammoet USA South’s proposed 2014 transport of three 1.6-million-pound megaloads on U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 or Idaho Highway 200 to a Great Falls, Montana, tar sands refinery tripling its production:

Calumet Refinery CH2M Hill Great Falls Traffic Plan US95 HWY200

CDA Lake Drive Truck Route Draft Environmental Evaluation 1-9-14

FHWA Decision about CDA Temporary Truck Route 2-13-14

FHWA Letter about Mammoet Oversize Loads 11-26-13

Letter from Doug Ball SCRA

Pinehurst to Smelterville Route Revision

Re-Route Shoshone County

Transport Plan 3-18-14

WIRT Newsletter: Upcoming & Rescheduled Events

Dear comrades,

Wednesday to Sunday, April 2 to 6: Mammoet Megaload Meetings

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies are postponing plans from tomorrow, Wednesday, March 26, until next week, April 2 to 6, to meet and offer presentations, as described in the March 20 WIRT newsletter, about the proposed Highway 95/200 Mammoet megaloads [1]. We are working hard to confront these monsters, but the Coeur d’Alene Idaho Transportation Department office did not respond to our public records request by Monday, as required by Idaho law. WIRT is rescheduling our Plummer and Sandpoint convergences and adding Coeur d’Alene and Moscow training sessions during next week and weekend, and will send a full report/announcement about the situation soon.

Tribal & Climate Activists Gathering about Mammoet Megaloads

* Wednesday, April 2, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library Room 103-4, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho

* Friday, April 4, 5:30 to 7:30 pm: Benewah Wellness Center Room B, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho

Direct Action Training Sessions for Keystone XL Pipeline/Mammoet Megaloads

* Saturday, April 5, 12 noon to 4 pm: Coeur d’Alene Library Community Room, 702 East Front Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

* Sunday, April 6, 12 noon to 4 pm: The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho

Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Jeanne McHale & Henry Willard 3-24-14

The Monday, March 24, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features Henry Willard and Jeanne McHale of the regional blues and rock band Henry C and the Willards, who are headlining the benefit concert at the Third Annual Celebration of WIRT this Saturday evening, March 29, at the 1912 Center in Moscow, Idaho. Jeanne and Henry will share some new, original songs from their recent unreleased, band recordings and talk about their music over the last few years. Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Monday between 7:30 and 9:30 pm PDT, 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.

WIRT’s Third Year: Cause for Celebration!

During our third year as a direct action collective confronting the root causes of climate change by asserting direct actions and promoting locally organized solutions, WIRT has produced myriad protests, rallies, direct action workshops, solidarity journeys, potluck meetings, presentations, public comments, issue alerts, action reports, newsletters, radio shows, videos, and photos.  Expanding integration of our strategies and tactics with our friends among nine regional Rising Tide collectives and a dozen tribes has achieved coordinated, regional demonstrations of opposition to the fossil fuel extraction and and transportation foisted on the environmentally robust Northwest by explosive shale oil trains, dusty coal cars, toxic oil and gas wells, and colossal tar sands equipment, pipelines, refineries, and tankers.  In solidarity with frontline communities of resistance and our international, volunteer, grassroots network of activists, we will continue our steadfast defiance of the corporate and government forces of exploitation and death, in defense the ultimate, sacred dignity of the Earth, its life, and all humans.

Early in April 2013, two activists of newly formed Rising Tide Seattle successfully locked down inside the Canadian consulate in Seattle, Washington, demonstrating solidarity with other tar sands resistance struggles and bringing the total of brave anti-tar sands arrests and charges in four Northwest states to 20 over the prior two years.  Amongst the enduring angst of frontline Idaho and Montana residents over the 2011-12 unstoppable, regional passage of 350 enormous facilities modules of Imperial Oil’s Kearl Oil Sands Project, the mining operation commenced production in Alberta around WIRT’s second anniversary, despite delays and cost escalations.  Palouse region academics and activists welcomed three highly knowledgeable Alberta tar sands experts to the University of Idaho: award-winning author Andrew Nikiforuk, Pembina Institute program director Jennifer Grant, and industry veteran Don Thompson.  For Mr. Nikiforuk, WIRT and anti-megaload allies co-sponsored a book promotion open house at BookPeople of Moscow, a Washington State University workshop about dirty energy dilemmas, and a tour of the Highway 12 wild and scenic river/wildlands corridor in Idaho threatened by tar sands equipment transports.  But multiple WIRT activists held anti-tar sands signs in the back of the auditorium during Mr. Thompson’s presentation, and posed difficult, oppositional, audience questions.  As WIRT contemplated a statewide ballot measure banning fracking and waste injection wells, the Idaho legislature passed a bill requiring signatures of six percent of the registered voters in half of Idaho’s legislative districts, to qualify a citizen initiative or referendum for the ballot.  Idaho lawmakers also let any non-freeway routes in the state be designated for extra-heavy trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds, with input from local highway jurisdictions and public hearings.  With other regional groups in mid-April, WIRT gratefully reached out to the Pullman community at the Earth Week Environmental Occupation of Terrell Mall on the Washington State University campus.  On the next Saturday, WIRT staffed a minimal booth at the Moscow Hemp Fest in East City Park.  At the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center in Moscow and 35 other locations on Earth Day, April 22, WIRT and anti-tar sands allies hosted a nationwide, simultaneous screening of the documentary Bidder 70  and a live-streamed conversation with Tim DeChristopher, the Utah climate activist recently released from federal prison, who stopped an unjust federal oil and gas lease auction.  We established a Twitter account and website events calendar to more actively involve WIRT members in our many initiatives.

In May 2013, WIRT honored the outstanding community spirit and service of core WIRT members and tar sands megaload blockaders Bill and Dianne French, as Moscow Renaissance Fair King and Queen, with Moscow Volunteer Peace Band march onto the East City Park grounds.  We also celebrated previous ‘Ren’ Fair royalty among our ranks with the fortieth annual fair parade.  On the next weekend, we traveled to Spokane, Washington, to give a guest speech about critical climate issues, educate our neighbors through an outreach booth, and enjoy some live music, tribal drumming, and round dances the Word to Your Mother event held in Riverfront Park.  Moscow climate activists also interviewed for two extensive articles in The Fig Tree about the regional megaload campaign and climate change.  Kinder Morgan withdrew its planned investment in the proposed Port Westward coal export facility in early May, after the ports of Grays Harbor and Coos Bay had similarly dropped plans since the previous August, thus halving the six originally planned coal ports across the Northwest.  During mid-month, we commenced our Moscow outreach every Saturday until November at the WIRT Moscow Farmers Market table, and threw a WIRT Activists House Party to stimulate creative ideas for Fearless Summer actions among core WIRT activists.  As a partner organization and board member, WIRT also participated in the Paradise Ridge field tour led by the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, exploring the implications for rare, native Palouse Prairie remnants and wildlife habitat of the Idaho Transportation Department’s proposed realignment and expansion of Highway 95 south of Moscow.  On the Thursday evening before Memorial Day, a southbound Edmonton-area Mullen Trucking driver, hauling an oversize Alaska drilling equipment box with a $10 online permit and following a pilot car with a height-indicator pole too closely, struck steel framework trusses and a cable of an Interstate 5 bridge near Mount Vernon, Washington.  The “functionally obsolete” span and three people in two vehicles collapsed into the icy Skagit River without the truck, ahead of tens of thousands of disrupted holiday vacationers.  Although mainstream media steered the conversation away from such inappropriate vehicles toward aging infrastructure replacement, the incident may have finally catalyzed Washingtonians toward resistance to fossil fuel extraction transports on their roads, in a state that has originated the bulk of tar sands megaloads.

June 2013 not only witnessed songwriter Roy Zimmerman’s Moscow performance premiere of his song co-written with Melanie Harby for WIRT, The Tide is Rising, but a robust, expansive, allied campaign against renewed oil and gas drilling in Payette County.  With Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE) comrades, we coordinated Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! protests at Idaho Department of Lands offices at Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Deary, Kamiah, Orofino, and Saint Maries, confronting the director outside the Boise headquarters about drilling and potential fracking of a natural gas well in the floodplain confluence of two water bodies, near a riparian wildlife refuge, upriver from a city water supply intake, and under state lands and rivers.  The continent-wide, early-June week of action grew into a month of action that caused the oil and gas development leasers and regulators at IDL to admit to allowing impending fracking in Idaho and to issue media counter-releases and public disinformation fact sheets.  WIRT traveled twice to Boise to demonstrate at the state agency and to educate the public about oil and gas and other dirty energy issues at the Community Progressive III convergence of community outreach booths and information workshops in Julia Davis Park.  Against three of four new well drilling permit applications over the next year, we wrote comments that IDL posted but dismissed, despite possible legal repercussions. Continue reading

Third Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide!

Third Annual Celebration of WIRT Flyer 700x900px

The third year of relentless Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activism has delivered plenty to celebrate!*  So we invite everyone to the Third Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide, commemorating our anniversary as a direct action collective and reinvigorating our members, friends, and supporters for another year of confronting climate change perpetrators.  Between 6:30 pm and midnight on Saturday, March 29, revel in a parade and benefit concert provided by four bands, along with home-cooked, potluck dinner and desert, beer and wine for purchase, and dozens of raffle prizes donated by community members and businesses.  Please join dirty energy resisters at the 1912 Center Great Room, 412 East Third Street in Moscow, Idaho, for a well-deserved wild time full of spirited conversation and danceable, singable music played by these remarkable artists:

Moscow Volunteer Peace Band

Depending on weather conditions, this year’s festivities will again begin with a parade converging at Friendship Square at 6:30 pm, and circling through downtown Moscow to the 1912 Center.  Peace is more fun than fossil fuel wars, so bring your protest signs, chants, and instruments to gather up rebellious party-goers.  Check out When the Saints Go Marching In performed by the Peace Band for the 2013 Moscow Mardi Gras.

Matti Sand

An artist who creates environmentally friendly, handmade jewelry, dolls, and greeting cards from her mountain home in the heart of Clearwater Valley, Matti writes and performs original songs on acoustic guitar, accompanied by lead guitarist John Fershee.  Playing together for a decade, they have recorded and self-released two albums of indie folk music entitled ‘One’ (2008) and ‘Two’ (2010), distributed in individually drawn, recycled cardboard cases.  Watch May 2012 footage of their Angel Dreams performance drawn from a Russian poem, at the 39th annual Moscow Renaissance Fair.

Mother Yeti

Zack Degler and Bill Tracy on guitar, drums, and vocals offer their dynamic, experimental, and psychedelic rock without bandmate Mike Halliday’s input on bass, keyboards, and vocals for this event.  Currently developing and capturing their repertoire through a somewhat primitive, home-recording approach, Mother Yeti has been playing scores of gigs over the last two years, saving their earnings for some real studio time.  With plenty of commitment and practice, they plan to tour the Earth and other planets soon.  Listen to their tune Up Or Down.

Henry C and the Willards

Originally formed to play for a September 2012 birthday party, this regional blues/rock band features musicians Henry Willard on guitar, dobro, and harmonica, Jeanne McHale on piano and vocals, Doug Park on bass and mandolin, Nels Peterson on drums, Terri Grzebielski on acoustic guitar and vocals, and Donna Holmes on percussion and vocals.  The band members have played with Kelley Riley, Charlie Sutton, The Hot Flashes, and several other performers.  View their musical videos.

With hearty thanks to Erik Jacobson for his event flyer design and to Jeanne McHale for co-coordinating the multiple entertainment and publicity aspects of this March 29 anniversary and fundraising party, Wild Idaho Rising Tide eagerly anticipates another lively evening gathering, enjoying shared camaraderie, live music and dancing, and plenty of rowdy fun.  To savor our successes, hundreds of selected photos and videos of our demonstrations and initiatives will cycle through a background slide show.  Do not miss this upcoming opportunity to support the exuberant activism of Idaho’s courageous, frontline challengers of the corporate, industrial, root causes of climate change for only $5 or greater voluntary admission contributions.  Please visit the WIRT website and facebook pages for further information, and print and post the color Third Annual Celebration of WIRT Flyer.  Contact or 208-301-8039 to assist with preparing for and staging WIRT’s big night.

* WIRT’s Third Year: Cause for Celebration! (March 23 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

WIRT Newsletter: WIRT Thursday Meeting, Spring Events, & Allied Invitations

Friends and comrades,

Please see the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) Events Calendar and facebook events for linked information about these March and later events.  Now that a long, cold, difficult four months of winter travel for anti-megaload organizing across three states has concluded, expect forthcoming reports and announcements about the recent Missoula megaload protest, Highway 95 Mammoet megaload re-routing and activists meetings, oil and gas developments and resistance in southern Idaho, and the third annual celebration of WIRT occurring next Saturday, March 29.  Join us soon at any or all of these happenings: Your involvement is crucial to the successes of the climate justice movement!  For instance, at the monthly WIRT meeting tonight, we will start to form affinity groups and design tactics for direct actions against looming Mammoet megaloads through Moscow.

WIRT Events Calendar

March 20: Third Thursday Monthly WIRT Potluck & Meeting (Thursday 7 pm, The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 E. Second Street, Moscow, Idaho)

March 22: Grabbing Back Contributors Panel Discussion (Saturday 4:30 pm, Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, The Crucible, 1260 Seventh Street, Oakland, California)

March 26: Tribal & Climate Activists Gathering about Mammoet Megaloads (Wednesday 1:30 pm, Benewah Wellness Center, 1100 A Street, Plummer, Idaho, & Wednesday 7 pm, East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho)

March 27: A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands (Thursday 7 pm, College of Law Room 103, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho)

March 29: Citizens’ Climate Lobby Inaugural Meeting & Presentation (Saturday 1 pm, 1912 Center Fiske Room, 412 E. Third Street, Moscow, Idaho)

Please consider joining a new group of engaged, local citizens on Saturday, March 29, for a presentation on a market-based solution to climate change known as a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend.  The event will mark the inaugural meeting of the Palouse Region chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), a rapidly-growing, nonpartisan, nationwide organization whose goal is to build the political will for a stable climate.  Former Utah U.S. Senate candidate and CCL regional coordinator William Barron will lead the presentation and organizational meeting.  For more information, call Rob Briggs at 509-332-5819 or search for Citizens’ Climate Lobby on the internet.

March 29: Third Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (Saturday 7 pm to midnight, 1912 Center Great Room, 412 E. Third Street, Moscow, Idaho)

Multiple April Events…

May 2-5: Third Extreme Energy Extraction Summit (Friday to Monday, times TBA, Bosque Center, Rio Grande Urban Forest, Albuquerque, New Mexico) Continue reading

A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands

Fourth Healing Walk Group Photo 1 Cropped

What are the connections among climate change, the Alberta tar sands, megaloads, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the health of the planet and all of its inhabitants?

Explore these and related issues with local citizens on Thursday, March 27, at 7 pm in College of Law Room 103 at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  Area activists journeyed to the tar sands region of northern Alberta to join First Nations (Native Americans) and concerned citizens from across the continent for the 2013 Tar Sands Healing Walk.  Led by First Nations elders and leaders, participants witnessed the scale of environmental and social devastation caused by tar sands mining and crude oil processing.

Several local healing walkers, including James Blakely, Pat Fuerst, Dan and Pat Rathmann, Anne Remaley, and Helen Yost, will share what they learned on their solidarity journey, connecting local and regional megaloads, huge pipeline projects, impacts on people and places, and overarching climate change, cultural, and ethical issues.  During a discussion period following their presentation, the speakers welcome all questions, comments, and suggestions of solutions to these national, continental, and worldwide problems.

Continue reading