Public Hearing Set on Allowing Heavy Trucks on Idaho Highways


A public hearing on applications allowing trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on state highways will be held on June 26.

The meeting is set for 4 to 7 pm at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) office at 2600 Frontage Road in Lewiston.

The purpose of the meeting is to gauge public opinion on the potential routes of 129,000-pound loads, which will include U.S. Highway 95 from Grangeville to Lewiston and U.S. Highway 12 from where it joins U.S. Highway 95 to Mill Road.

The proposed shipments are known as “reducible loads,” meaning cargo or goods can be removed to make the shipments lighter.  The Idaho Legislature previously approved the higher weight limits. Continue reading

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Climate Justice Forum: Jesse Cardinal 5-26-14


The Monday, May 26, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes again Jesse Cardinal, the downriver coordinator for Keepers of the Athabasca and co-organizer of the annual and final Athabasca region Tar Sands Healing Walk near Fort McMurray, Alberta.  Jesse will describe the upcoming June 27 to 29 presentations, workshops, ceremonies, and spiritual journey though tar sands-exploited lands.  She will also discuss active First Nations resistance to tar sands mining and transportation operations, through various lawsuits, protests, and the ongoing Idle No More movement, defending indigenous rights and territories from industry and Canadian governments.  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.

Third Tar Sands Solidarity Journey


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May 27 Planning Meeting for the Tar Sands Solidarity Journey & Healing Walk

Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC), Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and 350 Boise invite community members to participate in the third Tar Sands Solidarity Journey during the last week of June 2014, to and from the fifth and final, annual Athabasca region Tar Sands Healing Walk on Friday through Sunday, June 27 to 29, near Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta [1-4].  The Idaho-based groups are coordinating carpools and caravans to Canada, to converge for ceremonies and workshops and to walk in solidarity with First Nations and Metis elders, indigenous residents, grassroots allies, anti-tar sands activists, and journalists from across the continent and world, at this hundreds-strong gathering.

Event coordinators enthusiastically encourage involvement in the solidarity journey, healing walk, and a local planning meeting at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, May 27, at Maialina Pizzeria, 602 South Main Street in Moscow.  Organizers welcome ideas for and co-leadership of actions in the Northwest concurrent with the healing walk, such as Native drum circles, round dances, or other demonstrations of solidarity.  After the Tuesday meeting, join local citizens at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center (508 South Main Street in Moscow) for the free, public, 7 pm screening of the weekly, climate change, television series Years of Living Dangerously.

For further information about the Tar Sands Solidarity Journey and Healing Walk, please view the linked websites, videos, photos, and articles.  Contact Pat Fuerst of PESC at 509-339-5213 and epfuerst@frontier.com and/or Helen Yost of WIRT at 208-301-8039 and wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com and/or James Blakely of 350 Boise at 208-384-1023 and james.blakely@sierraclub.org, with your questions, suggestions, comments, and RSVPs.

Tar Sands Healing Walk & Solidarity Journey Background Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: Mammoet Withdraws Megaload Permits, But Perkins, the People, & the Ports Push On


Mammoet Withdraws Megaload Permits

For months during 2014, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and eight allied Idaho, Montana, and Washington groups have remained uncertain of the status of the long-standing, region-wide, tar sands ‘megaload’ onslaught advanced by hauler Mammoet USA South Inc. [1].  More than three years of controversy and citizen resistance have surrounded the Vancouver, Washington-based company’s tar sands mining and refinery equipment transports through the sacrifice zone of court-blocked U.S. Highway 12 – U.S. Highway 95 through Moscow and other northern Idaho routes.  In 2011 and 2012, Mammoet moved 350 ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil components of the Kearl Oil Sands Project across Washington, Idaho, and Montana, including 70-plus modules through relentless WIRT and allied protests and convoy monitoring in Moscow and along Highway 95, in Spokane, Washington, and on U.S. Highway 395 and Interstate 90.  During intensive civil disobedience against Mammoet equipment shipments, resulting in 13 arrests, citations, and court cases arising from sit-in and critical-mass-bike blockades and monitoring, allied campaigns and lawsuits declared “conquest” of the re-routed modules of one-fifth of an Alberta tar sands processing facility, overshadowing the region’s efforts to halt the climate change wrought by fossil fuel corporations and unaccountable, facilitating governments.

On Thursday, May 15, and Monday, May 19, WIRT and allies received Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) public records indicating that Mammoet has abandoned its most recent plans to transport three hydrocracker parts from the Port of Wilma, Clarkston, Washington, across north Idaho via Highway 95 and either Interstate 90 or Idaho Highway 200, to a Great Falls, Montana, tar sands refinery expansion [2].  In response to April 28 and 29 written WIRT requests and a May 14 phone message, ITD District 1 staff in Coeur d’Alene denied the existence of any April 2014 public records about Mammoet’s proposal [3].  On at least four occasions since the mid-December 2013 public revelation of Mammoet’s recent scheme to haul three 1.6-million-pound, 441-feet-long megaloads up Highway 95 to Montana, ITD has obviously (with supporting evidence) withheld or denied and otherwise provided late or incomplete public records requested by WIRT.

But WIRT allies asked for the same April 2014 information from ITD headquarters in Boise on April 30, and inexplicably obtained and forwarded it, validating that the Boise ITD office did not share some of this material with Coeur d’Alene ITD employees and that the latter purposely withheld public documents from WIRT.  Among various bridge weight-bearing analyses and ID-Mammoet communications, an April 23 email message from Warren “Chip” Kachel of Mammoet to ITD District 1 operations manager Jason Minzghor, Doral Hoff and Reggie Phipps of ITD, Chris Schenck of the Idaho State Police, Cynthia Heinert and Brad Marten of the Montana Department of Transportation, Sonja Clark of the Washington Department of Transportation, and Richard Zondag declared a “termination of permits” with its subject line.  The terse note states, “Please cancel all permits involving Mammoet USA routing to Great Falls, Montana, from the Port of Wilma, Washington, via Idaho U.S. 95/Idaho 200” [4].

Wild Idaho Rising Tide extends our deepest gratitude and congratulations on this issue development to the many WIRT activists and allies in four states who have scouted and documented megaload ports and routes, researched and provided government files and newspaper articles, offered legal advice and defense, attended and protested at public meetings, and participated in discussions and direct action workshops.  As big oil, coal, and gas companies increasingly struggle to maximize their profits though extraction, production, and transportation of marginally lucrative, difficultly obtained extreme energy, grassroots resistance to consequent ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos grows around the world:

For decades, backlash has been thought to be both limited and ineffectual, but new evidence suggests that protests from local people are effective, extremely costly for the companies, and often lead to substantive changes to or total abandonment of a project…Perhaps not surprisingly, protests were most successful when they took place early on, during feasibility and construction phases of a project [5]. Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: May & June Events


Dear comrades,

Please consider participating in these upcoming May and June events.  We will send a separate announcement about the third annual Tar Sands Solidarity Journey, on June 25 to July 1, to and from the fifth and final Tar Sands Healing Walk, June 27 and 28 near Fort McMurray, Alberta.  Also anticipate pending alerts about eco-performer Dana Lyons and activist Matt Krogh of ForestEthics bringing their Oil Train Tour to Moscow on Tuesday, June 24, to Spokane on Wednesday, June 25, and to Sandpoint on Thursday, June 26.  Check the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) website page, Events Calendar, often for updated WIRT schedules.

May 16: WIRT Activists House Party

Instead of WIRT’s usual, third Thursday, monthly potluck meeting, we invite you and your friends and family to our humble base camp house, for a Friday evening gathering to celebrate our collective’s amazing activists and allies, and to strategize and energize for a summer of successful actions.  Bring beverages, snacks, or entrees to share with your comrades, for a lively night of radical fun on a beautifully balmy May Moscow evening.  The party starts at 7 pm on Friday, May 16, and continues far into the evening, with potential to enjoy home-made acoustic music playing, dancing, relaxing, and enjoying the company of friends.  WIRT would be delighted and infinitely grateful for the honor of your presence (especially on Helen’s birthday and with a tenuous Highway 95 megaload victory)!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed toward the success of the hundred-year-old, two-bedroom house serving as our organizational hub over the last two years.  With your myriad provisions of essential furniture and household goods, we have accommodated several traveling presenters, performers, and activists in our downtown abode beneath a huge cottonwood tree.  The WIRT Activists House is open daily between noon and 8 pm, to provide our group a combined working space, monthly meeting place, information resource center, and visiting/resident climate activist home.  We are again searching through our network for one or two house mates to support some of the monthly rental and utility costs.  Please contact us at 208-301-8039 with your suggestions and questions about the house party, its location, and other WIRT business.

May 18: John Crock Memorial Service

This note comes to us from John’s long-time partner and recent wife, Laurene Sorensen, P.O. Box 9826, Moscow, Idaho 83843: “John departed on his last adventure on Monday, April 28, shortly after noon.  He was traveling light, carrying only a smile.  We’ll be celebrating his life on Sunday, May 18, from noon to 4 pm at the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI), 1040 Rodeo Drive, Moscow, Idaho.  We’ll start with a potluck lunch and then have an informal, outdoor memorial service.  Please bring a dish to share, a picnic blanket, and your stories and pictures.

If you are traveling from out of town, you are welcome to camp on the PCEI grounds or at my farm.  The nearest airports are Pullman (seven miles away) and Lewiston (35 miles away); you can also fly into Spokane, but that’s about 80 miles from Moscow.

We’ll be setting up from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, May 17, and there’ll be a barbecue and beer for anyone who’d like to help.  Please accept/decline by email to Laurene Sorensen at laurenesorensen@gmail.com, or to Lauretta Campbell at hyperspud2@yahoo.com.”

May 21: No Oil Trains People’s Hearing

Washington state and city government agencies have again dismissed opportunities for public scoping hearings in Spokane and the inland Northwest, as communities risk their health and environments along the sacrifice zone rail lines of potentially explosive unit trains, each transporting 3.36 million gallons of oil.  In January 2014, Imperium Terminal Services and Westway Terminal Company requested environmental reviews of their proposed crude oil terminals and bulk storage facility expansions at the Port of Grays Harbor in Hoquiam [1].  Proponents of the Grays Harbor Rail Terminal proposed by U.S. Development also submitted permit applications and a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist to the City of Hoquiam in April 2014.  Per SEPA, co-lead agencies Washington Department of Ecology and the City of Hoquiam are conducting ongoing, statewide, Environmental Impact Statement scoping processes, accepting public comments between April 10 and May 27, 2014 [2].  But they only held public scoping meetings in Hoquiam and Centralia, Washington, respectively on April 24 and 29, even while trackside Idaho and Washington cities from Hope and Sandpoint to Spokane Valley, Spokane, and Cheney lie in the project crosshairs. Continue reading

Port of Lewiston Wants Megaloads Back


Megaloads are still on the table, as the Port of Lewiston crafts its budget for the coming fiscal year.

The port is seeking to increase the amount it sets aside for legal expenses, from $9,000 this year to $33,000 next year, to be prepared for litigation to keep the U.S. Highway 12 corridor open for megaloads.  It has also more than doubled the money available for administration travel to $21,500.

Those two items are part of a draft budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, which Lewiston port commissioners reviewed on Wednesday.

No megaload taking up two lanes of traffic has moved on U.S. Highway 12 since last summer, after a federal judge imposed a preliminary injunction halting the shipments in response to a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Forest Service by the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United.  The two groups are in mediation on the issue.

Even though that matter hasn’t been resolved, port commissioners are giving Port Manager David Doeringsfeld the go-ahead to recruit more megaloads. Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: Highway 95 Megaload Resistance & Missing Trailer, Grassroots Environmen​tal Summit & Protests


Missing Mammoet Megaload Trailer

At 1 pm on Monday, May 5, 2014, a photo taken by Moscow documentarian Tom Hansen at the Port of Wilma, Washington, revealed breaking news about the heaviest and longest megaloads ever proposed for passage on U.S. Highway 95 and either Interstate 90 or Idaho Highway 200 [1].  During the week since the April 28, 2014 scouting expedition by a core Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activist, megaload hauler Mammoet had removed its only trailer from one of three hydrocracker parts, bound on a 1.6-million-pound, 441-feet-long assemblage of cargo, trailers, and trucks for a tar sands refinery expansion in Great Falls, Montana [2, 3].  Like previous observations, push and pull trucks and security guards were noticeably missing from the leased port yard.  Either temporarily or permanently, Mammoet has apparently been dissuaded by a coalition of allied organizations and/or has abandoned both recently identified northern Idaho megaload shipment routes to Montana.  A comment by an aggravated opponent, in response to the last, website-posted WIRT newsletter, at about the same time as discovery of the missing trailer, may indicate that these behemoths and other tar sands modules could take circuitous paths from West Coast ports [4].

These units of an essential, industrial component of Calumet Specialty Products Partners’ $400 million Montana Refining Company expansion project have been awaiting transport at the Port of Wilma by the Snake River near Clarkston, since mid-December 2013.  The installed hydrocracker with a 25,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) capacity could double refinery production from 10,000 to 20,000 bpd, starting during the first quarter of 2016 [5].  Calumet plans to convert crude tar sands bitumen into diesel fuel that powers the mining equipment and trucking fleets operating in the sacrifice zone of fracked Bakken shale oil extraction.  Over the last year, removal of several large refinery tanks, excavation of 15,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated mainly by lead and gasoline, and purported “air-tight” rail car shipment of the hazardous waste to an appropriate facility in Indiana have delayed expansion project construction until after August 1, 2014 [6].  Now, the timely delivery of this rusty remnant of a bygone fossil fuel era and its mechanical integrity under high-pressure and -temperature operating conditions, after years of horizontal exposure to weather, are precarious and questionable, thanks to poor industry planning and commendable public involvement in the situation.

Resistance to Highway 95 Megaloads

Since the onset of this second controversy over Mammoet tar sands transports on Highway 95, after 32 nights of megaload convoys prompted relentless WIRT protests and monitoring forays in 2011-12, northern Idaho and eastern Washington citizens and organizations have demonstrated disapproval of government agency and public input processes [7, 8].  Even while staging and supporting 28 protests of three half-as-large Omega Morgan tar sands mining equipment shipments, each moving 1200 miles across three states during four winter months, WIRT and allies attended and protested at Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and City of Moscow meetings, requested ITD public records, and publicly posted the results and other information about this Mammoet transportation scheme [9].  Five regional, grassroots, conservation- and climate change-oriented groups including WIRT forced extended and expanded environmental analysis, public involvement, and subsequent diversion of Mammoet’s first proposed hydrocracker route through Coeur d’Alene, via a co-written letter of concern sent to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), ITD, and other responsible city, county, state, and federal representatives and environmental, transportation, and wildlife agencies [10].  WIRT organized and scheduled five meetings/presentations and direct action training sessions for tribal and climate activists in four northern Idaho cities, and scouted, photographed, and videotaped both the potential East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive/temporary Interstate 90 on-ramp route and the proposed alternative course over the almost two-mile-long Highway 95 Long Bridge near Sandpoint and the federally-designated Highway 200 Pend Oreille Scenic Byway through or near six state wildlife management areas or preserves [4, 11, 12]. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Herb Goodwin 5-12-14


The Monday, May 12, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Herb Goodwin, a core WIRT and Occupy activist resisting coal export and tar sands megaloads from Bellingham, Washington.  Herb will talk about recently rapidly expanding facilities and transports in and through Montana that build Alberta tar sands and Bakken shale oil extraction infrastructure, with megaload shipments, assembly plants, pipelines, and refineries.  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.