Not Yet, Calumet! Megaload & Refinery Protests


Dell Montana Megaload

According to various Montana media accounts, the third, final, and top Calumet Montana Refining hydrocracker section, bound for Great Falls, Montana, and hauled by recent Oregon megaload-dropping Bigge Crane and Rigging, left the Dell, Montana area on Wednesday evening, October 1 [1, 2].  Its arduous trek traversing Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 287, and Montana Highway 200 may require seven or fewer nights, like the second, heavier load.  Ongoing news breakdowns, if not blackouts, suggest that it may have entered Montana over Monida Pass by road, not by rail like the second such transport that crossed two Indian reservations [3, 4].  Uncritically publishing the September 29 Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) press release, the local, weekly Dillon Tribune newspaper finally printed front-page news of the move, but claimed no previous knowledge of these two heaviest-ever, regional megaloads weighing over 1.3 million pounds [5].  Despite MDT statements to the media, veterans of four-plus years of megaload opposition cannot trust MDT’s assertion that “there are no more expected ‘megaloads’ on the calendar, using any of the routes through Montana” [1].

As Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allies prepare for anti-megaload actions, heeding the same reasons we have always resisted fossil fuel evils, Washington and Idaho activists are still deliberating our travel options (that need your donations!) and anticipating that this behemoth could arrive in Great Falls as early as Wednesday night, October 7-8.  Because minimal and broken MDT website links to the presumably similar second megaload transport plan perhaps purposely offer little information, we contacted MDT, asking where on its website concerned citizens could find the Bigge transportation plan for these megaloads [6].  MDT staff replied that, “As of this evening (Friday, October 3), the current, parked location of Bigge Crane and Rigging’s megaload is milepost 108.8 on Interstate 15 [about 17 miles south of Butte].  They are expected to remain parked until Sunday night, at which point they will go through Butte.”  MDT referred additional questions regarding travel routes, planned stops, and past moves to Motor Carrier Services Division Administrator Duane Williams at 406-444-7312 or duwilliams@mt.gov.

WIRT’s best, mapped guess of the progression of routes and layover spots of the third Bigge/Calumet megaload in Montana, based on all currently available agency and media information, follows [7].
* Sunday night, October 5-6: Interstate 15 from Feely through Butte to Jefferson City (points B to C)
* Monday night, October 6-7: Jefferson City through Helena to Lyons Creek (points C to D)
* Tuesday night, October 7-8: Lyons Creek through Wolf Creek to U.S. Highway 287 and Montana Highway 200 to Sun River (points D to E)
* Wednesday night, October 8-9: Highway 200 to Frontage/Vaughn Road to Northwest Bypass to Third Street NW to Calumet Montana Refining (points E to F)

Wild Idaho Rising Tide and distant allies intend to not miss this most significant Bigge-hauled Calumet transport nor to let it sidestep citizen objection as easily as the first two loads in Montana.  We hope to honor the protest leadership of amazing Indian Peoples Action (IPA) and Missoula megaload blockaders and to build momentum from IPA’s first demonstration outside the refinery, in solidarity with First Nations resisting tar sands exploitation and hosting the Tar Sands Healing Walk on June 28 [8].  Eager to plan and participate in swift responses to Montana megaload transports and refinery expansion, WIRT connected with Great Falls activists and impacted communities through allies.  During month-long discussions among three Montana groups and tribal and climate activists and friends, we sought input to coordinate monitoring and protesting activities and other resistance to megaloads and refineries in Great Falls and beyond, talking about effective strategies and tactics and suggesting event times and places.  As WIRT “confronts the root causes of climate change,” we prefer to retain our focused, direct opposition of refinery expansion and supply transportation, but may also engage in the contentious arena of fossil fuel consumer-driven climate change that is secondary to state-sponsored, corporate extraction and production of hydrocarbons.

So we propose nighttime protests, encountering the megaload moving under cover of darkness through well-lit places, and demonstrations during heavy traffic, daylight hours on the sidewalks in front of Calumet Montana Refining and the Calumet gas station on Tenth Avenue South in Great Falls, to attract the attention of passersby and urge boycotts of company gasoline.  Depending on the schedule of this last megaload, please join these tentative demonstrations:
* Wednesday, October 8, 4 pm: Calumet Gas Station, 1621 10th Avenue South (corner of 17th Street South and 10th Avenue South) Great Falls, Montana
* Wednesday, October 8, 5 pm: Calumet Montana Refining, 1900 10th Street Northeast (corner of Smelter Avenue Northeast and 10th Street Northeast), Great Falls, Montana
* Wednesday and/or Thursday, October 8 and/or 9, 9 pm: Meet at the Denny’s at the Flying J Travel Plaza, 3715 31st Street Southwest (Interstate 15 Airport Exit 277), Great Falls, Montana

Expect, encourage, and engage in this megaload resistance, before this last crucial component of Alberta tar sands/Bakken shale oil refinery expansion attains its destination.  Rally by all possible methods – via phone calls, email messages, letters, media releases, and internet posts – to activate intrepid defenders of our climate-challenged planet standing up and speaking out against biosphere-destroying profiteers!  Please craft and bring protest signs targeting refinery megaloads and expansion, for instance saying “No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure,” “Stop Tar Sands & Shale Oil,” “Megaloads = Mega-Climate Chaos,” or other creative slogans.  Circulate this megaload update and protesting/monitoring alert, contact WIRT to carpool from Missoula, Helena, and other Idaho and Montana locations, and mobilize whomever you can to together get involved in these endeavors.  For further information about these megaloads and accompanying WIRT opposition since December 2013, see a background article released tonight, October 5, and the category Mammoet 2014 Megaloads, both available on the WIRT website [9, 10].  And consider that none of this activism can happen without your physical and/or fiscal support soon [11].

[1] Megaload Heading up I-15 from Dell Next Week (September 26, 2014 Montana Standard)

[2] Megaload to Move through Montana (September 27, 2014 Montana Standard)

[3] Third and Final Megaload Headed North on 1-15 Tonight (October 1, 2014 KPAX)

[4] KRTV 10 pm Top Stories – Wednesday, October 1 (October 2, 2014 KRTV)

[5] “Mega Load” to Pass by Dillon (October 1, 2014 Dillon Tribune) (full page)

[6] Bigge Crane Megaload Permit Issued (September 18, 2014 Montana Department of Transportation)

[7] Third Bigge/Calumet Megaload Route and Layovers in Montana (October 5, 2014 Google Maps)

[8] “Clean Energy” Advocates Protest in Great Falls (June 28, 2014 KRTV)

[9] Background: Second and Third Bigge/Calumet Megaloads (October 5, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[10] Mammoet 2014 Megaloads (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

[11] Support WIRT (Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

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