The Monday, April 28, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes activist Jessica Lee of the Salt Lake City-based direct action groups Utah Tar Sands Resistance and Peaceful Uprising. Jessica will provide updates on U.S. Oil Sands’ attempt to mine Utah tar sands, the Utah Supreme Court case considering state permitting of this venture, water testing in the area, regional oil shale projects, and continued resistance and upcoming action camp opportunities to oppose tar sands exploitation. 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 their KRFP DJ.
The Monday, April 21, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses the largest ever Highway 95/200 megaloads proposed for a Great Falls tar sands refinery expansion, Rosebud Sioux tribal activism against Keystone XL pipeline megaloads, the Obama administration’s postponement of the Keystone XL permitting decision, and a Boise protest and investigation of Idaho Department of Lands leasing of state lands and minerals rights, even under rivers, for oil and gas exploration and extraction. 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 also covers other continent-wide dirty energy developments and climate activism news, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.
Idaho author Steve Bunk, who covered resistance to the tar sands “megaloads” on Highway 12 for the Missoula-based online journal New West, has written a book called Goliath Staggered: How the People of Highway 12 Conquered Big Oil (New West Books, 2014). Throughout April, bookstores in Boise, Clarkston, and Moscow, Idaho, and Missoula, Montana, are launching the book, warmly received by regional conservationists.
Mr. Bunk will visit …and BOOKS, too! in Clarkston on Saturday, April 19, at 4 pm and BookPeople of Moscow on Wednesday, April 23, at 7 pm, for book signings and lively discussions about “Why the Megaloads Resistance Matters.” Highway 12 outdoor travel company ROW Adventures will co-sponsor the Clarkston event at 918 Sixth Street. Borg Hendrickson and Linwood Laughy, the central figures in Goliath Staggered and the couple who galvanized the Idaho megaload resistance, will join Steve and answer audience questions.
Friends of the Clearwater (FOC) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) are co-sponsoring the Moscow event happening at BookPeople of Moscow, 521 South Main Street. Both groups have played key roles in the grassroots opposition to oil company attempts to transform Highway 12’s federally protected Wild and Scenic River corridor into a high-and-wide industrial thoroughfare to Alberta tar sands mines. Helen Yost of WIRT, who leads a continuing campaign against megaloads traveling through the Northwest, and Brett Haverstick of FOC will also address the audience. Continue reading
Idaho Gas Lease Auction Protest & Petition 4-17-14 (April 17, 2014, Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)
On Thursday, April 17, 2014, twenty members of Idaho Residents Against Gas Extraction (IRAGE), the Muse Project, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) staged a successful protest of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) auction of oil and gas leases of state rivers, lands, and mineral rights to the highest bidders among two drilling companies [1-4]. Converging at 8:30 am MDT outside the IDL main office in Boise, Idaho, participants arrived with their protest signs, friends, and family members, including an infant and toddler, and their spirit of solidarity with communities devastated by fossil fuels. Together they sang multiple rounds of the climate activism song Do It Now near the IDL entrance, as five or more news agencies interviewed and filmed the demonstrators, and as bidders, government officials, and their associates hurried inside.
When protesters filed into the building only minutes before the auction began, the receptionist insisted that they could not bring their posters or voices to the auction. One organizer asked to see the Idaho code that disallowed this practice, and the crowd soon occupied and packed the back of the conference room. As bids on 150 public tracts started at $1 per acre and ended as high as $505 per acre, some defaulting to Alta Mesa without competitive bidding, the demonstrators held their protest signs, placed them on tables surrounded by bidders, and scrutinized, videotaped, and photographed the proceedings among irritated oil and gas industry representatives. Immediately after the auction concluded, two activists asked how the public can comment before state auctions on parcels of their lands and minerals planned for fossil fuel development leases. To expand Idaho citizens’ right to knowledge of these lands as well as more stringent water protections for leased rivers and increased public engagement in leasing processes, they also requested comprehensive maps of the leased parcels and the auction’s list of tracts, leasees, and bids.
As described in a petition addressed to Idaho Governor Butch Otter and signed by hundreds of Idaho citizens, the auction protesters plan to discuss and democratize these processes with the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners at their next regular meeting on May 22, 2014 . They also request independent baseline testing of all bodies of water near state lands and minerals, prior to their inclusion in future state lease auctions, and the open availability of this water quality data to the public. Additionally, IRAGE, Muse Project, and WIRT activists assert that: Continue reading
On Thursday, April 17, 2014, beginning at 9:30 am MDT, the Idaho Board of Land Commissioners will offer oil and gas leases of state lands and sub-surface mineral rights for sale to the highest bidder, at the director’s office of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), 300 North Sixth Street, Suite 103, in Boise, Idaho . IDL periodically conducts these public auctions and administers subsequent leases, with oversight and approval by the Land Board. The 12.5-percent royalty derived from extracted oil and gas raises funds from lands held for the public trust and state wildlife and transportation departments and for specified beneficiary institutions through the state endowment trust. Of the 150 tracts in Ada, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties, 36 parcels are located under or adjacent to the Boise and Snake Rivers and many involve the split estates of private landowners and state mineral holders .
Minimum, competitive bids by drilling companies at the oral auction open at only $0.25 per acre for the 17,700-plus acres available for leasing. Successful bidders must pay their bid and the first year’s annual rental of $1.00 per acre for leases lasting up to ten years. If the lease is not drilled or productive, IDL assesses an additional drilling penalty of $1.00 per acre per year starting in the sixth year. The state requires a $1,000 bond for exploration on each lease, which increases to $6,000 prior to drilling, in addition to a drilling permit bond issued by the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Before entry on state lands for seismic exploration, the company must acquire an IDL permit costing $100 per mile across contiguous tracts or a minimum of $100 per section.
The last state lands and minerals auction on January 16, 2014, in Boise, Idaho, generated $694,000 in bids for the state of Idaho [3, 4]. The Idaho Department of Lands leased 8,714 acres for oil and gas drilling – including 4,130 acres in and alongside the Boise, Payette, and Snake river beds – for an average of $80 per acre to the lone bidder, Alta Mesa Idaho. The April 17 auction will double this previously largest amount of Idaho public lands and minerals leased in one period, bringing the total to nearly 98,000 state acres, leased for as low as $2.35 per acre on average, besides the thousands more private acres leased in six southwestern counties . Fourteen drilled but capped wells, awaiting pending pipelines and processing infrastructure, have prefaced the first producing well in Idaho in February 2014, on the Teunissen Dairy near New Plymouth. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality found toluene from drilling mud in a water well several hundred feet away in fall 2012 .
If the people of Idaho own all of these myriad acres of public trust and endowment trust state lands and minerals auctioned for oil and gas exploitation, which respectively “benefit” the general fund and public schools, how can Idahoans influence and determine how our state stewards these shared resources? Allowing the same agency – the Idaho Department of Lands – to both regulate and lease oil and gas development on state holdings seems like a conflict of interest, especially because the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that oversees industry regulation is politically appointed and receives a 1.5-percent severance tax on oil and gas production for its “responsibility.” At least Idahoans can vote out of office the state’s highest elected officials on the Land Board, for leasing and selling off our precious, impacted lands, resources, and waterways for bargain basement prices.
Because the last five years of frenzied oil and gas rule-making, legislation, drilling, and exploration, centered primarily in Payette County and the Boise halls of government, represent industry’s first forays into Idaho’s still relatively pristine, and thus increasingly valuable, watersheds, the time has now arrived for communities across the state to organize and resist looming drilling, fracking, and acidizing of oil and gas wells. Historic and current fossil fuel development in the state infers that major portions of Idaho are ripe for development and could eventually suffer in the boom-and-bust crosshairs of dirty energy corporations . Please participate in one or hopefully all of these opportunities for citizen protection of our clean air, water, and lands: Continue reading
The Monday, April 14, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Nez Perce activist Gary Dorr from the South Dakota frontline of the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline path. A veteran of many of the Moscow and Highway 12 megaload protests of 2011-13, Gary will talk about indigenous resistance to tar sands pipelines and megaloads in the Great Plains, including updates on the ongoing Rosebud Sioux Spirit Camp and Cheyenne River Sioux megaload blockades and the April 26 Reject and Protect demonstration against the KXL, led by Natives and ranchers in Washington DC. 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 their KRFP DJ.
WIRT activists, friends, and supporters,
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) extends our gratitude to everyone who so effectively and passionately organized and participated in our successful Third Annual Celebration and Benefit Concert on Saturday evening, March 29, at the 1912 Center in Moscow. We heartily thank Jeanne McHale, who coordinated musical performers and circulated event flyers in Moscow and Pullman; Erik Jacobson, who created and revised beautiful posters for the occasion; Rob Briggs and Alan Solan, who served as bartenders; Ellen Roskovich, who hauled event materials and washed dishes; and several volunteers who diligently prepared tablecloths and napkins, provided potluck food, cleared tables and chairs, and assisted other arrangements. We greatly appreciate the talented musicians who exuberantly offered all of us an inspiring night of music: the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band, Matti Sand and John Fershee, Zack Degler and Bill Tracy of Mother Yeti, and Henry C and the Willards bandmates Terri Grzebielski, Donna Holmes, Jeanne McHale, Doug Park, Nels Peterson, and Henry Willard. We especially thank the Wine Company of Moscow for donating beer, wine, and a liquor service permit, and these 17 Moscow and Pullman businesses, which generously provided silent auction items together valued at $500.
B&L Bicycles: A bicycle pump
BookPeople of Moscow: A birthday party with pizza, cake, a movie, and reading
Brused Books: One gift certificate
Cowgirl Chocolates: Six assorted chocolate bars
Deadbeat Records: One gift certificate
Glassphemy: Four pairs of decorative Sock It To Me socks
Howard Hughes Video: Two movie rental gift certificates
Hyperspud Sports: A one-watt Luxeon LED flashlight
Maria Maggi: Four hand-painted watercolor greeting cards
Nectar: Dinner for two with an appetizer and two salads, entrees, and dessert
One World Café: Organic Landgrove coffee
Paradise Creek Bicycles: A Camelbak water bottle and a bike tune/rentals coupon
Paradise Creek Brewery: A beer growler, glass, and gift certificate
Patty’s Mexican Kitchen: Two gift certificates
Rico’s Pub: Two gift certificates
RicoShay: A hand-carved, wooden hand statue/cell phone holder
Tye Dye Everything: A tye-dye shirt Continue reading