WIRT Newsletter: Congratula​tions, Condolence​s, Upcoming Events, & Highway 95/200 Megaloads


Congratulations to all of the diligent, inspiring, fellow Moscow citizens and Earth Day Award recipients, especially Pat Rathmann of the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC) and Citizens’ Climate Lobby, who make even radical Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists proud to call Moscow home! [1, 2]

Our dear comrade, core WIRT activist Paul McPoland, died unexpectedly of unknown causes at a friend’s dwelling where he had been staying, on the night of April 29-30.  City police officers are still notifying his family and investigating the situation, while friends arrange a memorial that will likely take place in Moscow on the weekend of May 16 to 18.

Moscow also lost our beloved regional outdoor recreation expert and generous benefactor of community causes including WIRT, John Crock, owner of Hyperspud Sports, on April 28.  We extend our deepest sympathies to John’s family and Laurene Sorensen, his long-time partner, new wife, and this year’s Moscow Renaissance Fair Queen [3].

All Against the Haul founder and Oregon anti-megaload activist Trish Weber and her husband Mark Rose of Corvallis, Oregon, and hundreds of friends and family members grieve the death of their seven-year-old son, Nigel Rose-Weber, on April 4, after he stayed home from school due to sudden illness [4].


(Check the WIRT website Events Calendar often!)

May 3-4: Moscow Renaissance Fair

Come out to the Moscow Renaissance Fair this weekend, May 3 and 4.  On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am until 6 pm (and later on Saturday), WIRT will be roaming the East City Park grounds in Moscow, Idaho, selling Clean Energy Bars: cookie- and brownie-like snack bars made of organic, healthful, non-sugar ingredients [5].  All proceeds support our outreach work, travel funds, and demonstration supplies (and maybe some upcoming, anti-megaload, legal fees…).  Watch for a wandering WIRT vendor that looks like the following linked image, except in Renaissance garb [6].  WIRT activists are welcome to dress the part and take shifts: We are begging for basic, bake-sale survival.

May 9: Nez Perce Grassroots Environmental Summit

Respectfully participate in the Nez Perce Grassroots Environmental Summit between 9 am and 4 pm on Friday, May 9, at the Clearwater River Resort, 17500 Nez Perce Road off Highway 2/95 near Lewiston, Idaho [7-9].  Coordinating partners Nez Perce Tribal Environmental Association and Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples invite all tribal nations and supporters among Rising Tide groups and regional environmental and tribal organizations to attend the gathering and speak about Pacific Northwest and greater Northern Plains issues such as treaty rights, tar sands, megaloads, climate change, and wolf protection.  This high-priority summit could occur at about the same time and place as the first of three 1.6-million-pound, Great Falls tar sands refinery megaloads would attempt to climb the seven-percent Lewiston Grade, gaining 2000 vertical feet in seven miles out of the Snake/Clearwater River valley.

For registration and information, contact Julian Matthews at jmatthews@alumni.uidaho.edu or 208-790-4296.  Please widely share and distribute the event poster and facebook and email announcements to your tribal and non-tribal contacts across the region, and let WIRT know how we can assist your attendance of this great convergence.  Portlanders are organizing carpools via Vicki Creel and Kath Cotrell, who have expressed interest in such a trip.  The WIRT Activists House and van, about 30 miles away from this summit, can lodge and transport up to seven people, and core WIRT activist Sharon Cousins has offered space for a few people to sleep indoors or in tents, trucks, or vans.  To protect sacred air, Moscow and Pullman area activists will carpool from the Eastside Marketplace south parking lot, near the Troy Highway, at 8 am on Friday, May 9.

June 24-July 1: Fifth & Final Tar Sands Healing Walk

Join PESC and WIRT carpools and caravans to and from First Nations communities near tar sands mining operations surrounding Fort McMurray, Alberta, via the Tar Sands Solidarity Journey from June 24 to July 1.  This summer marks your last opportunity to participate in the final Athabasca region Tar Sands Healing Walk, happening on Friday to Sunday, June 27 to 29 [10].  As healing walk organizers explain, “The story of the Athabasca region is only one small piece of the immense scope of this issue…It’s time for the Healing Walk to shed light on other communities, other extraction practices, other bodies of water, and other places…In order to stop the destruction, the healing has to start everywhere.”  Hundreds of healing walk participants would greatly appreciate Nimiipuu, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Coeur d’Alene, and Montana tribal participation and stories of tar sands resistance, so please consider involvement in this significant event.  Expect a WIRT event announcement about the Tar Sands Solidarity Journey soon.


As described in previous Wild Idaho Rising Tide dispatches, the Federal Highway Administration determined in mid-February that the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and megaload hauler Mammoet USA South must produce a more stringent environmental assessment, rather than a categorical exclusion, analysis of the proposed Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route, likely due to public pressure and attorney and coalition letters [11].  For now, a gravel, “temporary,” wrong-way, Interstate 90 on-ramp, built on a trail between two wetlands, and a lakeside parking lot for megaload layover – both near where previous interchange construction collapsed into the toxic, Superfund sludge-bottomed lake – will not have to withstand three 1.6-million-pound transports of a hydrocracker tripling the tar sands production of a Great Falls, Montana, refinery.  A rapidly approaching recreation and tourism season in the Idaho and Montana Rocky Mountains could crowd these behemoths off area thoroughfares.

Slowed and blocked by WIRT and other groups, Mammoet and ITD are rerouting the cargo toward the northern Idaho reaches of U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 200, as a solution to the procedural impasse.  After the megaloads rumble out of the Port of Wilma near Lewiston, up the grade, and through Moscow, they would venture over Lake Pend Oreille toward Sandpoint and Montana.  WIRT organized and scheduled four brief and simple, early-April evening meetings/presentations and weekend direct action training sessions in Sandpoint, Plummer, Coeur d’Alene, and Moscow [12].  As WIRT activists eagerly anticipated talking with concerned Sandpoint area residents about possibly impending Mammoet-hauled shipments at the Sandpoint Library on April 2, public meeting plans appeared on the front page of the Sandpoint newspaper on April Fool’s Day and in the Coeur d’Alene Press [13-15].  After one and a half years since the last WIRT (coal train) protest in Sandpoint, we are grateful for local media coverage stating, “Wild Idaho Rising Tide opposes megaloads, contending they would exacerbate climate change due to their links to controversial tar sands oil development in Canada and the proposed [Keystone] XL pipeline.” Continue reading