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.

Highly ambivalent about our since-dropped co-sponsorship of the Welcome, Republicans! event, WIRT has already scouted locations amenable to actually encountering convention guests.  After working for years to embody anything but faint-hearted Horton’s “whos,” the event media release depiction of Moscow area activists as such feels like ten steps backwards.  Why would any local activists feign powerlessness in juxtaposition to apparently wrong, climate change-denying Republican agendas?  Truth confers both might and right, as obvious in the power of WIRT’s numerous protests and extensive public comments that have severely handicapped various fossil fuel infrastructure and transportation schemes, using every desperate, available means.  Accordingly, we do not want to encourage standard Moscow resistance procedure: circling the wagons in Friendship Square, far from targeted threats.  In solidarity with the intentions, but not the methods, of the Welcome, Republicans! event, we are still designing additional, more direct approaches to actually meeting and/or disrupting convention attendees.

Although WIRT has agreed to give a speech for the insular Welcome, Republicans! rally, unless we are in the midst of an action at the time, we would like to send a stronger, unified message of resistance to the Idaho Republican stance of climate change denial this week.  Besides the usual climate activists, the wider progressive community needs to shake-up and scare entrenched Idaho Republicans, convincing them that climate damage is unequivocal and that they must establish state policy that protects the future of Idaho’s children, regardless of party affiliation.  Involving as much of the Moscow area constituency and media as possible, more WIRT and community activists must break out of their comfort/work/school zones SOON to create and contribute toward peaceful, active, direct protests at the previously mentioned locations or various Moscow hotels and University of Idaho dormitories.  Some of the convention events are open to the public with low entrance fees not entailing spendier registration.  As a matter of WIRT pride, we should at least compile and circulate an Idaho climate policy manifesto flyer to Idaho Republicans on Thursday through Saturday.

Attend another action planning meeting at the WIRT Activists House in Moscow (please call 208-301-8039 for the address) at 6 pm on Wednesday, June 11, to participate in organizing convention actions.  We encourage your response to this call to action, our fourth request for your involvement in directly engaging our fellow Idahoans in climate change conversations.

[1] Port of Lewiston Wants Megaloads Back (May 15, 2014 Lewiston Tribune)

[2] WIRT Newsletter: June 5 to July 22 Events (June 5, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

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