Climate Justice Forum: Don Steinke 9-1-14


The Monday, September 1, Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) gratefully welcomes Don Steinke, a retired high school science teacher, member of Rising Tide, and a lead volunteer with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal and Oil Task Force in southwestern Washington.  Don will discuss the proposed Tesoro Savage oil terminal in Vancouver, Washington, Northwest oil by rail, citizen resistance to these incursions, and their regional and global climate change impacts.  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 continent-wide climate activism news and dirty energy developments, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her/his KRFP DJ.

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Report on Three Actions: Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports


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Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports 8-16-14 (August 16, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

During the week of August 10, grassroots groups and peaceful protesters coordinated and staged regional actions against increased coal train traffic in interior Northwest communities and West Coast coal exports [1-3].  Sponsored by several climate and tribal organizations, including 350-Missoula, Blue Skies Campaign, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), Indian People’s Action, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, activists held gatherings, speeches, rallies, marches, and train blockades in eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.  Together, they catalyzed growing inland Northwest opposition largely dismissed by federal and state regulatory processes determining the fate of Powder River Basin coal mines and three proposed coal export facilities at Cherry Point and Longview, Washington, and Boardman, Oregon.

Boardman, Oregon

On Tuesday, August 12, over 40 dedicated people from western Oregon and about a dozen folks from eastern Oregon traveled up to 12 hours via bus and passenger vehicles, through summer storms with wind gusts, heavy rain, and lightning, to the Port of Morrow conference center in Boardman, Oregon [4].  At the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on a 401 water quality certification for Ambre Energy’s Morrow Pacific coal train terminal, coal export opponents convened a lovely pre-hearing picnic, packed the room, and voiced resistance through about 75 percent of the amazing citizen testimony and inquiries during a DEQ question-and-(un)answer session.  Among health professionals, longshore and warehouse union workers, and eastern Oregon residents, Umatilla tribal representatives spoke powerfully against coal export impacts, offering many compelling reasons to deny state permit approval.  Chief Carl Sampson of the Wallulapum Tribe of the CTUIR welcomed coal export opponents and offered strong words, as did his daughter Cathy Sampson-Kruse, his granddaughter Mariah, and Umatilla Board of Trustees Chairman Gary Burke.

Missoula, Montana

Saturday, August 16, brought nonviolent civil disobedience to a Missoula, Montana, rail line for the second time this year, as Montana writer Rick Bass and three concerned Missoula community members stood on both sides of train tracks and temporarily delayed a coal train [5].  While 50 supporters cheered from the sidelines and forced an inbound coal train to crawl through Hellgate Canyon, police arrested and removed the four brave protesters from the path of the oncoming train in the railroad right-of-way, citing them for trespass and releasing them for appearances in court next week.  In April 2014, police similarly arrested seven people during civil disobedience that delayed an outbound train carrying coal.  Author of nonfiction novels and books, Rick Bass read from his current work to the gathering of coal export opponents and asserted that uncovered, dirty coal shipments by rail through Montana towns, moving all the time through all kinds of weather, violate the Montana constitution and contribute toward still correctable climate change.

Sandpoint, Idaho

In the midst of an intensive week of tar sands refinery megaload protests in northern Idaho, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allied activists gathered in Sandpoint, Idaho, on Saturday, August 16, for a rally, march, and protest of coal export trains traversing and polluting Lake Pend Oreille, the fifth deepest lake in the U.S. [6]  Meeting in Farmin Park, friends and family members brought their protest signs, voices, and chants, and walked through the various parts of the Farmers’ Market at Sandpoint, distributing WIRT brochures and urging convergence and participation in the upcoming march.  Activists walked and chanted “Save Our Lake, No Coal Trains!” for a mile on downtown sidewalks and along the paved, lakeside Sagle-to-Sandpoint community trail that merges into the pedestrian bridge paralleling the two-mile vehicular span of the U.S. Highway 95 Long Bridge.  Among human and canine visitors and swimmers at the sandy, public Dog Beach between the highway and the mile-long, railroad trestle bridge, on which dusty coal trains cross Lake Pend Oreille, participants stood in solidarity with regional action partners and 75 Northwest activists arrested during coal export protests over the last few years.  They supported and immediately shared news of Missoula rail line blockaders arrested concurrently and of the Confederated Umatilla Tribes’ honorable rejection of Morrow Pacific bribes to build and benefit from the Coyote Island Terminal in Boardman.  Local protesters noted that the nearby train tracks remained eerily but thankfully vacant during the hours-long Sandpoint action. Continue reading

Sunday Night Megaload Protest Around Idaho Highway 200


Multiple on-site and network sources confirmed at about 9:30 pm on Friday, August 15, that the Calumet tar sands refinery hydrocracker section hauled by Bigge Crane and Rigging would not move on Friday and Saturday nights, August 15 and 16.  Although the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has released the Bigge transportation plan for hauling this million-pound transport on the most convoluted route ever across Idaho and Montana to Great Falls, and several mainstream media sources have circulated information about its Montana route, it is unclear whether MDT has yet issued Bigge a Montana megaload permit [1].  The agency generally does not allow oversize rig travel during the day or on weekend (Friday and Saturday) nights.  As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) compiles a comprehensive report about the last week of megaload protesting, monitoring, and formal petitioning in Idaho, as well as a description of upcoming Montana megaload transit plans and associated resistance, please provide an appropriate send-off to the Bigge/Calumet load and convoy that have so thoroughly degraded public resources and democracy in Idaho.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide is deeply grateful for the enthusiastic and experienced commitment and camaraderie of the progressive Idaho panhandle community, shared during respective Thursday and Saturday Sandpoint protests of this inbound refinery component and outbound coal export shipments.  We are depending on the strength and spirit of a great group of protestors converging in Hope and Clark Fork to oppose the passage of the Bigge/Calumet hydrocracker megaload on its last night in Idaho.  Early on Friday morning, Bigge parked its payload, trailers, and trucks at Idaho Highway 200 milepost 44.4, just west of Hope, Idaho, in anticipation of movement on Sunday night or later [2].  The convoy will travel on Business Highway 200 through Hope and East Hope, use jump bridges to traverse Strong and Riser Creeks, and risk sharp turns from Wellington Place to Centennial Boulevard and back onto Highway 200, not to mention the hazards of roadside cliffs and sloughing roadway along nearby Lake Pend Oreille wetlands and shorelines.  Please see Idaho and Montana Bigge transportation plans posted on the WIRT website and bring your friends, family, and protest signs to gather outside the Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, at 9 pm on Sunday, August 17, and to monitor and protest the last 18 miles of this Alberta tar sands/Bakken shale oil infrastructure onslaught through Idaho [3-5].

[1] Million-Pound Megaload Will Roll through Bull, Swan Valleys (August 15, 2014 Ravalli Republic)

[2] Bigge-Hauled Calumet Hydrocracker Section at Idaho Highway 200 Milepost 44, Idaho 8-15-14 (August 15, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[3] ITD Highway 95 & 200 Megaload Public Records 7-31-14 (July 31, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[4] Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, Idaho (August 17, 2014 Google Maps)

[5] Biggest Megaload Never! (August 10, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

Northwest Communities Oppose Coal Exports


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On Saturday, August 16, and during the previous week, grassroots groups are holding a coordinated day of peaceful actions, to protest the passage of coal trains through interior Northwest communities [1, 2].  From Montana and Wyoming to Oregon and Washington, proposals to bring more polluting coal trains through the region impact dozens of communities along rail lines, who are organizing to protect their towns from coal exports.  This summer, 350-Missoula, Blue Skies Campaign, Indian People’s Action, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and other organizations are together catalyzing this movement against dirty energy in new and bolder ways, evident in this regional day of action.

As inland Northwest citizens largely dismissed by the federal and state regulatory processes that determine the fate of three proposed coal export facilities at Cherry Point and Longview, Washington, and Boardman, Oregon, we stand in solidarity with Northwest tribes and climate activists resisting these West Coast ports and Powder River Basin coal mines that despoil native lands and watersheds and ultimately global climate [3].  While Oregon agencies deliberate their possible issuance of key permits allowing financially risky, Australia-based Ambre Energy to begin construction on the controversial Morrow Pacific coal train terminal dock and warehouses at Boardman, we support friends among the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, who rejected  the companies’ bribes of up to $800,000 per year to partner in and benefit from building this Coyote Island Terminal and shipping 8.8 million tons of coal per year down the Columbia River [4, 5]. Continue reading

Megaload Bound for Montana is North of Moscow


A megaload that left the Port of Wilma Sunday is taking a break after encountering peaceful protests in Moscow and Lewiston.

The hydrocracker section bound for a Calumet refinery in Great Falls, Montana, is at the Latah/Benewah county line, about 25 miles north of Moscow, said Idaho State Police Captain Lonnie Richardson.

It will wait to resume its trip until at least this evening, so that its movements can be coordinated with construction farther north along U.S. Highway 95, Richardson said.

The state police officers are being paid by Bigge Crane and Rigging, the contractor hauling the megaload, to travel with the shipment.  Richardson said troopers are there to coordinate emergency responses, make sure other vehicles on the road don’t face significant delays, and to prevent protesters from blocking its progress.

So far, he said, the protesters haven’t presented much of a problem.

Fewer than ten protesters were in Lewiston, some with signs and others with cameras.  In Moscow, he said the opponents numbered about 30, yelled on the sidewalks and held up banners. Continue reading

Megaload Clears Lewiston Grade, Expected in Moscow Late Tonight or Early Tuesday


The megaload haul containing a huge piece of a hydrocracker, equipment for use at a Great Falls, Montana, oil facility, left the Port of Wilma on Sunday night and cleared the Lewiston Grade before pulling off U.S. Highway 95 at mile post 320 at 2:18 am, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

It’s expected to continue traveling north on U.S. 95 tonight.  It can move between the hours of 10 pm and 5:30 am and is expected to reach Moscow late tonight or early Tuesday.

The haul is 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 16 feet, 8 inches high and weighs 926,000 pounds with interconnected trailers and trucks.  An additional 160,000 pounds of towing equipment was required to reach the top of the Lewiston Grade.

Moscow environmental group Wild Idaho Rising Tide is expected to be waiting for the megaload in downtown near City Hall tonight, to demonstrate against the shipment – and its purpose.

(By The Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

Biggest Megaload Never!


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Protest Places & Tentative Times

Lewiston: Sunday, August 10, 9 pm: Arrive at the park/boat launch at Frontage Road and Steelhead Way, before the convoy closes Frontage Road, and expect to move to multiple locations as the megaload progresses.  Carpools depart from Third and Washington streets in Moscow at 8 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/BG4dt).

Moscow: Monday, August 11, 10 pm: Meet at Third and Washington streets outside Moscow City Hall.  Although this venue attracts too much police presence, it endures as the defacto megaload protest location.  The gargantuan load mounted the Lewiston grade and parked at Highway 95 milepost 320 at 2 am on Sunday night and will likely cross Moscow before midnight on Monday night (http://goo.gl/maps/4x0BQ).

Plummer: Wednesday, August 13, 10 pm: Converge outside the Warpath, before the Bigge megaload likely crosses Plummer at 11 pm or midnight.  Carpools from the Palouse region depart Third and Washington Streets in Moscow at 9 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/G5IV8).

Coeur d’Alene: Wednesday/Thursday, August 13-14: Come to the corner of West Linden Avenue and Lincoln Way at a time and date (early Thursday morning?) to be announced.  Carpools from the Palouse region depart Third and Washington Streets in Moscow at 9 pm on Wednesday (http://goo.gl/maps/0WWbv).

Sandpoint: Thursday, August 14, 5 pm & 10 pm: Assemble at 5 pm for a community meeting in Sandpoint Library rooms 103 and 104, and at 10 pm outside the Conoco gas station on East Superior Street, before the Calumet megaload crosses the Long Bridge at 11 pm, midnight, or later (http://goo.gl/maps/ryQLa).

Hope: Friday, August 15, 6 pm & Sunday, August 17, 9 pm: Bring your friends, family, and protest signs and gather at 6 pm on Friday for a community meeting in the upstairs room of the Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, and at 9 pm on Sunday outside the Old Ice House Pizzeria, to monitor and protest the last 18 miles of this Alberta tar sands/Bakken shale oil infrastructure onslaught through Idaho (http://goo.gl/maps/EMz00).

Swan Lake: Sunday, August 24, 9:30 pm: Gather by 9:30 pm at the south end of the lakeside Swan Lake Day Use Area parking lot on the west side of Montana Highway 83, about one mile northwest of the town of Swan Lake (http://goo.gl/maps/zt3nf) [3].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 7:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Expect to monitor the convoy and move to multiple protest locations, such as Condon and Seeley Lake, as the megaload progresses.

Clearwater Junction: Monday, August 25, 9:30 pm: Meet at 9:30 pm at the Clearwater Rest Area at the Clearwater Junction of Montana Highway 200 milepost 32 and Montana Highway 83 (http://goo.gl/maps/TKy7N) [4].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 8:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Anticipate additional megaload monitoring along Highway 200 and protests in Lincoln and other places along the route.

Lincoln & Great Falls: Tuesday, August 26, 9 pm: Arrive by 9 pm at the Aspen Grove Campground about six miles east of Lincoln on a short access road off the south side of Montana Highway 200 (http://goo.gl/maps/8SqDf) [5].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 7:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Monitors will follow the load and protest its arrival at the Great Falls Calumet refinery during the to-be-announced early morning hours of Wednesday, August 27 (http://goo.gl/maps/42HfG).

After eight anxious months and the usual last-minute fiasco to deter legal and physical resistance, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) issued a permit for Bigge Crane and Rigging Company early on Friday afternoon, August 8 [1].  The San Leandro, California-based company plans to haul an up to 1,086,000-pound piece of Great Falls, Montana, refinery equipment across northern Idaho over four to five nights, after departing the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington, at 10 pm on Sunday, August 10.  The bottom, lightest, one-foot wider section of a hydrocracker, which would assist in tripling tar sands production at the Montana Refining Company owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners, measures 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 16 feet, 8 inches high and weighs 926,000 pounds with interconnected trailers and trucks, when additional pull and push trucks are not powering the transport [2].  Accompanied by Idaho State Police, flaggers, and pilot vehicles every night between 10 pm and 5:30 am, the heaviest and longest shipment to (n)ever cross the region can move at speeds between 5 and 35 miles per hour.  It would enter Idaho from the eastern Washington port on Idaho Highway 128, and move north on U.S. Highway 95 up the Lewiston grade, avoiding the bridge over U.S. Highway 195 by briefly sidetracking under the bridge into Washington (with a permit?) and back into Idaho against off-ramp traffic.  After journeying through Moscow, Plummer, and Coeur d’Alene and crossing the two-mile Long Bridge to Sandpoint, the megaload would travel east to Montana on Idaho Highway 200, the federally designated Pend Oreille Scenic Byway with possible weight restrictions and load limits for the lake shore road partially built on fill material [3].  By Idaho law throughout the trip, the convoy must limit the traffic delays of two-lane blockage to 15 minutes, by notifying the transport driver of approaching and trailing vehicles and pulling off the roadway to let them pass.

In less than a Friday hour after ITD’s announcement, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) responded to three ITD offices, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in Boise, and the Idaho Attorney General, alerting them to a formal WIRT petition filed by the 5 pm MDT close of the business day.  The petition requests an immediate stay and reconsideration of ITD’s permit issuance to Bigge only days before it hauls its oversize shipment across northern Idaho [4-6].  By describing the many potential hazards to public safety, convenience, and road and bridge infrastructure that this megaload would impose, the petition outlines ITD’s subsequent violations of the U.S. Fourteenth Amendment and Idaho rules governing open public meetings, overlegal permits, and ITD operating objectives, as explained by Moscow community radio comprehensive coverage and a WIRT interview about the Calumet refinery megaload saga [7].  Wild Idaho Rising Tide did not receive explicitly requested acknowledgement of WIRT petition receipt from ITD, FHWA, and the attorney general on Friday, although the biggest ever megaload could roll before normal ITD business hours on Monday.  But a local reporter noted that, “ITD spokesman Adam Rush said his agency was prepared to receive a petition seeking to halt the shipment and that the matter would be considered over the weekend, before the shipment could legally leave the Port of Wilma…  If the WIRT petition isn’t granted, the megaload shipment could pass through Moscow late Sunday or early Monday” [8].  Whether any state officials bother to notify the petitioning group of their decision or just continue to dismiss it as collateral damage on the roadside to ruin remains uncertain.

Monitor & Protest! Continue reading

Petition Requesting a Stay and Reconsideration of Permit Issuance


From: Wild Idaho Rising Tide <wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com>

Date: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Subject: Re: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

To: John Perry <idaho.fhwa@fhwa.dot.gov>, Brent Inghram <brent.inghram@dot.gov>, ITD Director Brian Ness <brian.ness@itd.idaho.gov>, Reymundo Rodriguez <reymundo.rodriguez@itd.idaho.gov>, Jason Minzghor <jason.minzghor@itd.idaho.gov>, Doral Hoff <doral.hoff@itd.idaho.gov>, ITD Public Affairs Specialist Adam Rush <adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Cc: Natalie Havlina <havlinalaw@gmail.com>, Scott Reed <scottwreed@frontier.com>

Petition Requesting a Stay and Reconsideration of Permit Issuance 8-8-14

(IDAPA 4.11.01.230 Petitions)  (IDAPA 39.03.09 Overlegal Permits)

 

From: Wild Idaho Rising Tide <wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com>

Date: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Subject: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

To: John Perry <idaho.fhwa@fhwa.dot.gov>, Brent Inghram <brent.inghram@dot.gov>, ITD Director Brian Ness <brian.ness@itd.idaho.gov>, Reymundo Rodriguez <reymundo.rodriguez@itd.idaho.gov>, Jason Minzghor <jason.minzghor@itd.idaho.gov>, Doral Hoff <doral.hoff@itd.idaho.gov>, ITD Public Affairs Specialist Adam Rush <adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Mr. Wasden, Mr. Perry, Mr. Inghram, Mr. Ness, Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Minzghor, Mr. Hoff, and all,

Wild Idaho Rising Tide anticipates filing a formal petition requesting a stay and reconsideration of Idaho Transportation Department issuance of this permit to Bigge Crane and Rigging, submitted by the 5 pm MDT close of business today, August 8, 2014.  We would appreciate your acknowledgement of your receipt of this message and this forthcoming petition.

Helen Yost

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843

wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com

 

From: “Adam Rush” <Adam.Rush@itd.idaho.gov>

To: “Adam Rush” <Adam.Rush@itd.idaho.gov>

Sent: Friday, August 8, 2014 12:51:35 PM

Subject: Permit issued for Bigge Crane equipment shipment to travel on northern Idaho highways

8/8/2014 Continue reading

Sunday, August 10, Launch & Opposition to Bigge-Haul​ed Calumet Megaload


Late on Thursday morning, August 7, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) received confirmation from a regional journalist that an overlegal load awaiting transport by Bigge Crane and Rigging Company from the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington, to Great Falls, Montana, may move on Sunday evening, August 10, and successive nights afterwards between 10 pm to 6 am.  As noted by Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) District 1  business manager Scotty Fellom in Coeur d’Alene, ITD public involvement coordinator Adam Rush in Boise said that ITD is preparing and expects to issue a permit and press release on Friday afternoon, leaving little or no time for public and/or legal recourse during normal business hours.

The bottom hydrocracker section would double or triple production of Alberta tar sands crude oil at the Montana Refining Company in Great Falls, Montana, owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners.  Hauled by several heavy-duty pull and push trucks and interconnected trailers, the entire transport weighs 926,000 pounds and measures 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and one inch short of 17 feet high, the heaviest and longest load to ever traverse the proposed U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 200 route in Idaho.  According to two sources, one at the Lewiston ITD office, the two larger and wider parts of the hydrocracker left the Port of Wilma via rail about three weeks ago.  These circumstances lead observers to believe that this shipment is pushing the limits of critical, rural, publicly owned and funded highway and bridge infrastructure.

As exemplified in four years of Wild Idaho Rising Tide and allied resistance to such new fossil fuel infrastructure transported as “megaloads” across four states, WIRT and other concerned groups and citizens oppose this latest onslaught.  In February 2014, we successfully diverted these three loads from Mammoet USA South’s scheme to build a temporary Interstate 90 on-ramp east of Coeur d’Alene, where previous interchange construction had collapsed into Lake Coeur d’Alene, by insisting on full environmental impact statement review of the project.  We will continue to monitor, protest, and petition to halt passage of this Bigge-hauled refinery equipment in Lewiston, Moscow, Plummer, Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, Hope, and throughout the region, for myriad, justifiable reasons, including the ones outlined here.

1. Public Participation Averted

Although ITD hosted and/or participated in open house and public meetings in Coeur d’Alene in December 2013 and in Moscow in January 2014, ITD has provided no public participation or education opportunities regarding this gargantuan transport proposal, the first to attempt movement on the U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 200 route.  May 30 email messages from the ITD Boise and Coeur d’Alene offices to Bigge Crane and Rigging Company stated that, “They [Bigge/Mammoet] will need some public involvement; also they will need Idaho State Police escort in some areas,” and “You will need to work with Jason [Minzghor of ITD District 1] on setting up public meetings, where you will need Idaho State Police, and on contacting ISP to make arrangements for the move” [1].  According to regional journalists and to ITD public records received by WIRT on July 31, the company and perhaps ITD met with city and county officials and police, but never engaged in announced, open public meetings. Continue reading