Climate Justice Forum: 6-30-14

The Monday, June 30, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) features updates on the Tar Sands Healing Walk and solidarity actions in three states, resistance to increased, potentially explosive, fracked Bakken shale oil trains and terminals across the Northwest, and lawsuits, rulemaking, and opposition surrounding nascent oil and gas drilling and looming fracking in southern Idaho.  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 climate activism and dirty energy developments across the continent, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

WIRT Newsletter: WIRT & Allied Summer Events: June 26 to August 24


Thursday, June 26:

Public Hearing Set on Allowing Heavy Trucks on Idaho Highways

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is holding a public hearing on applications allowing trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on state highways, from 4 to 7 pm on Thursday, June 26, at the ITD office at 2600 Frontage Road in Lewiston.

Saturday, June 28:

Indian Peoples Action Non-Violent Direct Action in Great Falls, Montana

In solidarity and support of First Nations people and allies participating in the Tar Sands Healing Walk in Alberta, Canada, on Saturday, June 28, please join Indian Peoples Action for a 1 pm MDT non-violent direct action at the corner of Tenth and Smelter Avenue NE, near the Montana Refining Company in Great Falls, Montana.  Indigenous comrades in Montana are organizing this picket to confront the entire dirty tar sands industry represented by the Canadian-owned Calumet refinery, the destination of three megaload parts of a hydrocracker stranded at the Port of Wilma, Washington.  These transports would assist the proposed facilities expansion in tripling its production along the Missouri River banks, where current operations pollute the Great Falls air shed with emissions from processing toxic tar sands received via truck and rail.

Motivated by various ways of expressing concern and compassion for all life rather than attacking Calumet, this protest event mainly focuses on the devastating effects of Alberta tar sands mining on forests, water sources, and the health of the mostly indigenous, regional people closest to this massive, multi-corporation oil extraction project.  Besides these direct victims, tar sands exploitation also impacts the Earth’s atmosphere, climate, and ultimately all of its life, as well as the Montana refinery workers who destroy interconnected life “for a living.”

Consider variations of these ideas for single- and double-sided picket signs for this peaceful demonstration, but please design your own slogans:

Oil Jobs: Short Term Gain, Long Term Extinction

There Is No Cure for Extinction

Alternative Energy = Jobs, Health, and Life

We’re Over the Limit for Carbon in the Atmosphere

Life is Better than Oil & $

What Are We Leaving for Our Grandkids?

Shut Down the Tar Sands

Switch to Alternative Energy NOW

We Can Do Better than Fossil Fuels – We Must

Event organizers suggest bringing plenty of drinking water and sun cover, if the protest day is hot, and informational leaflets for curious bystanders and media personnel who may attend.  For more information, please see the linked facebook event and/or contact Debbie McShane at

Tuesday to Monday, July 1 to 7:

Earth First! Round River Rendezvous

Wild Idaho Rising Tide is forming carpools to and from the southern Cascadia/Klamath Knot region (northwestern California near the southern Oregon border) from Boise and Moscow, Idaho:  Contact WIRT at

Sunday, June 6 & ongoing:

Twitter Oil Train Watch – Ongoing Action

Allies of Vancouver Action Network in Vancouver, Washington, suggest that when you see a 100-percent oil train, tweet the time (am/pm), city, direction of train travel, along with a hashtag, the two-letter state abbreviation, and oiltrainwatch (for example, in Washington state: #waoiltrainwatch).  Search for webcams pointed at railroad tracks in your city, and start a train watch in your community.

Monday, July 7: Direct Action Skill-Share with Blue Skies Campaign

This summer, Blue Skies Campaign of Missoula, Montana, and allies like WIRT are holding a series of skill-shares in communities along Northwest coal and oil transporting rail lines, to discuss tactics and strategies that they have learned about direct actions on railroad property.  Through the process of staging two acts of non-violent civil disobedience on Montana Rail Link (MRL) property in the last nine months, Blue Skies comrades have acquired plenty of practical lessons that other groups may find useful for similar actions.  They are eager to share insights about MRL security, coal train movements, and the unique logistics of direct actions on or near train tracks.

At this skill-share, a few Blue Skies volunteers will give a brief presentation on what happened during their direct actions, what they learned from the experience, and how security and law enforcement could likely respond to future actions on railroad property.  Inter-group conversations about participants’ experiences and opportunities to work together will follow the presentation.  Please join Blue Skies Campaign and WIRT on Monday, July 7, from 5 to 6:45 pm in the Jameson Room of the East Bonner County – Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar Street in Sandpoint, Idaho, for this significant discussion.

Monday, July 7 & ongoing:

Request Oil Train Information from Your State Emergency Management Agency

Vancouver Action Network is calling all allies to file for public information from your state Emergency Management Agency about the U.S. Department of Transportation emergency order of May 7, 2014, requiring railroads to provide information about crude oil shipments through each state.  Northwest citizens have the potential to cost the railroads, primarily Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific, extensive funds and at least $300 to seek a court injunction against every person who files a request for this public information.  In Washington, BNSF recently declared that it will not impose injunctions against the 100-plus people who pushed for records requests; thus, the states will release these records to the public.

Also see States, Railroads at Odds over Oil-Train Information in the June 6, 2014 Columbian Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Dana Lyons 6-23-14

The Monday, June 23, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes again folk musician and activist Dana Lyons of Bellingham, Washington.  From June 6 to 30, including tonight in Moscow, Dana is conducting a series of performances and presentations on the Crude Awakening Oil Train Tour, raising awareness and resistance across the four-state Northwest to increased, potentially explosive, fracked Bakken shale oil trains, tanker ships, and proposed and operating oil storage, refining, and shipping terminals in Oregon and Washington.  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 climate activism and dirty energy developments across the continent, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

WIRT Newsletter: Retreating Highway 95 Megaloads, Montana Manufactur​ers, Idaho Resistance Prevails?

Dear fellow WIRT activists, friends, and supporters,

Please accept our apologies for the lateness of this Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) newsletter.  Expect an action alert soon, describing ways that you can affect the outcomes of the situations described here, through petitions, meetings, travels, and protests.


At the Idle No More World Day of Action Idaho Solidarity on Sunday, January 27, 2013, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Moscow Volunteer Peace Band activists chanted “Shut Down Tar Sands!” and “[Port of] Wilma, Turn That Damn Thing Around!” [1]  Like on-the-ground, region-wide resistance to tar sands megaloads that WIRT has been working to instigate since January 2011, both vocalized WIRT goals are manifesting years later!  As reported by an online stock investors journal, narrowing profit margins could spell “game over” for more than two tar sands mining ventures, as the costs of exploiting tar sands deposits continue to inflate, while the price of oil and the net financial gains from tar sands extraction remain stable or worse [2].  French energy giant Total and lead tar sands producer Suncor recently abandoned a proposed tar sands project, Joslyn, symbolizing the world-wide challenges to industry and investors of the cost overruns of  tar sands operations, likely escalated by the resistance of indigenous and grassroots activists not mentioned in the article.

But, of course, the profiteers of slow, industrial genocide – powerful Big Oil companies, Canada’s economic elite, and their apologists – would never reveal such vulnerabilities of tar sands ventures, necessary pipeline easements, and extreme energy export, nor would they concede moral victory to First Nations’ legal agency, the target of extensive 2012 legislation that disenfranchised environmental and tribal protections and aggravated the rise of the Idle No More movement.  Such indigenous power makes tar sands development projects vulnerable to litigation and long-term liability.  Nor would Big Oil interests admit the poisoned forests, lands, and waters, deformed fish, and the higher rates of cancer and associated subsistence and social crises predominantly among First Nations and largely due to the atrocities attributable to tar sands exploitation.

One of the Total/Suncor project’s steam-injected wells initially exploded, and both companies quit upgrader construction in the same Fort Hills, Alberta, area.  But the most daunting logistics had not yet commenced.  Once underway at a tar sands mining site, oil corporations house, feed, and entertain workers in huge camps, and pay them two to three times regular wages and fringe benefits for similar jobs, more than $200,000 per year after taxes.  But time away from families, boredom, and drug and alcohol use (not to mention health risks) create turnover, and tar sands producers still encounter problems attracting employees to frigid northern Alberta.  With the cheaply and easily obtained tar sands gone, the higher expenses of new projects, and the almost prohibitive costs of labor, “any sustained drop in oil prices could majorly curtail oil sands production.  The days of oil sands operations being low-cost are largely over.  Look for more of these projects to be suspended in the future.” [2]


After obtaining game-changing, late-May 2014 news about megaload shipments proposed for transport through northern Idaho, Wild Idaho Rising Tide activists have scouted the Port of Wilma, across the Snake River from Clarkston, Washington, as well as adjacent river and rail transportation systems [3-6].  Since mid-December 2013, Mammoet USA South of Rosharon, Texas, has sought Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) permits to haul three hydrocracker sections stored at the port to Great Falls, Montana, where Calumet Specialty Products Partners would triple the tar sands production capacity of its Montana Refining Company.  After cancelling its permit requests on April 23, Mammoet and now Bigge Crane and Rigging of San Leandro, California, are vying to carry one of these megaloads, presumably the heaviest, 661,000-pound, 40-foot-long behemoth, up U.S. Highway 95 through Moscow and Sandpoint, Idaho, and over Idaho Highway 200 instead of Interstate 90 [7, 8].  The other two components, 504,000 pounds and 573,000 pounds respectively, could travel by rail to Montana, maybe back down the Snake River on barges to the Tri-Cities, Washington, or via Watco Companies Great Northwest Railroad west from Lewiston to eastern Washington [9, 10].  As oncoming rail traffic to all of the potentially explosive but fragile DOT-111 and DOT-111A tank cars of unit “bomb trains” headed from the fracked Bakken shale region to the West Coast, the megaloads could creep north on either the Union Pacific or Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail lines to Bonners Ferry, Idaho, then eastward on the BNSF railroad to a spur line heading south from Shelby to Great Falls, Montana [11]. Continue reading

Activists Descend on Lewiston Port Hearing

Testy crowd pressures commissioners for answers on purpose, feasibility of expanded dock

Megaload opponents and tax activists forced Lewiston port officials Wednesday to disclose how they expect to find customers for their recently expanded container dock.

Information, however, was the only concession offered at a lengthy, sometimes testy hearing. It ended with port commissioners passing a $1.9 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year without changing anything, including a $450,000 annual property tax levy for Nez Perce County residents.

Among the more than 15 people who attended the morning meeting was Linwood Laughy, a Kooskia-area resident and leader of megaload opponents. He met Port Manager David Doeringsfeld for the first time.

Carla Timentwa, chairwoman of the Nez Perce Tribe’s General Council, identified herself as one of the people arrested last year during megaload protests.

She wondered whether the port should be supporting activity in the oil boomtowns of North Dakota because of the violence associated with the rapid growth, which has victimized innocent bystanders. Continue reading

Moscow Crude Awakening Oil Train Tour Show

Moscow Crude Awakening Oil Train Tour Show Flyer

Dana Lyons has been intensively touring with two simultaneous shows over the last few months, releasing his latest, new album, The Great Salish Sea, and raising awareness and action about increased, explosive, Northwest oil trains with speaker Matt Krogh of ForestEthics on the Crude Awakening Oil Train Tour.  Conducting a series of performances from June 6 to 30, Dana is singing new and comedy songs and rallying activists, and Matt is giving presentations about oil trains and tankers, from the Oregon and Washington coastal cities near proposed and operating oil storage, refining, and shipping terminals to the interior Idaho and Montana towns along the rail lines of potentially explosive oil trains.

Originating in the fracked Bakken shale oil fields of North Dakota, the amount and frequency of these “bomb trains” has been escalating over the past two years throughout much of the U.S. and Canada.  They carry the same type of crude oil as trains that derailed, exploded, and sparked massive fires in Alabama, Alberta, North Dakota, and Virginia during the last year, and killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, eastern Quebec, on July 6, 2013, a catastrophe marked next month by numerous planned protests across the continent.  More dangerous to Northwest communities than controversial coal trains, similar oil trains rumble past nearby schools, hospitals, homes, and businesses, toward export facilities proposed for expansion in British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington.  Not only could they blow up entire neighborhoods, their oil in ocean-going tankers imposes much greater risks and threats of spills in the Salish Sea, the inland Pacific and Puget Sound waters of British Columbia and Washington. Continue reading

WIRT Newsletter: Wednesday through Saturday Port of Lewiston & Idaho Republican Convention Protests

Wednesday 7 am Port of Lewiston Budget Hearing/Protest

The Port of Lewiston will hold a second hearing about its proposed budget at 7 am on Wednesday, June 11.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is calling for another port showdown protest and oral public comments, followed by Port of Wilma scouting.  The boondoggle* on the banks of the Clearwater River that invites and facilitates Alberta tar sands and fracked Bakken shale oil exploitation equipment deserves our ongoing resistance.  Expensively costing Nez Perce County and Idaho taxpayers more than it has earned ever since it was built, the port now intends to waste some more hard-earned tax dollars on unnecessary initiatives that counter Idahoans’ best interests in a clean energy future, not to mention their fondest desires for the integrity of indigenous and public lands and rights, highways, water, air, and climate.

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.  …In upcoming months, [port manager] Doeringsfeld…will also visit places such as Spokane and the oil fields in North Dakota, looking for new outgoing and incoming cargo.  …Port commissioners took the first of two votes on Wednesday, [May 14] needed to impose the tax on Nez Perce County residents.  The next one will be at the port’s budget hearing at 7 am on June 11 [1].

According to a Tuesday phone conversation with port manager David Doeringsfeld (who said “See you tomorrow…”), port meetings occur at the publicly inconvenient time of 7 am to accommodate several commissioners’ 8 am workday starting times.  WIRT wonders why port officials are so eager to attract business that has met so much regional resistance, why they feel compelled to get involved with external legal actions, and if the port’s charter condones such activities.  Please come prepared for a pre-hearing demonstration with your protest signs at 6:30 am, and to present your oral public comments against the port’s megaload-facilitating budget, defending both Highways 12 and 95 from fossil fuel infrastructure and other megaloads.  Carpools depart the WIRT Activists House in Moscow (call 208-301-8039 for the address) at 5:30 am sharp on Wednesday morning, or meet us outside the Port of Lewiston office at 1626 Sixth Avenue North, near the port in north Lewiston at 6:30 am.

*Boondoggle: (unknown 1930s origin) work or activity that is wasteful, pointless, or worthless but gives the appearance of having value; a public project of questionable merit that typically involves political patronage and graft; to waste money or time on such projects

WIRT Confronts the Idaho Republican Convention

As activists of Moscow, statewide ground-zero for climate activism, we still need to devise some direct actions commensurate with the source of many of Idaho’s political, environmental, and climate woes: the Idaho Republican Party.  WIRT announced an initial, emergency planning meeting held last Thursday evening, June 5, and changed our regular meeting schedule to twice monthly on the first and third Thursdays, to coordinate plans for the Idaho Republican State Convention in Moscow on June 12 to 14, for Highway 95/200 megaload blockades, and for other summer events [2].  (Please see the linked convention schedule: 2014 Idaho Republican Convention Agenda 2.)  As described through the poster sent with the last WIRT newsletter, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition and/or the Moscow area residents behind the recent screenings of Years of Living Dangerously are also hosting a Thursday evening rally and dance called Welcome Republicans! Let’s Join Together to Tackle Climate Change!  They hope to attract visiting Republicans to Friendship Square in Moscow, for some climate change information, music, and speakers.  But Republican convention participants will obviously not stray a mile from the Best Western University Inn and Kibby Dome convention venues for a preach-to-the-leftist-choir event in downtown Moscow. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Matt Landon 6-9-14

The Monday, June 9, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Matt Landon, co-founder of the grassroots group Vancouver Action Network (VAN) in Washington. Matt will talk about VAN’s investigative and organizing work, including train spotting and documentation of potentially explosive Bakken shale oil rail shipments, Vancouver and regional resistance to associated proposed oil terminals, and efforts to build a state- and nation-wide movement with coordinated days of action. 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 climate activism and dirty energy developments across the continent, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.