Climate Justice Forum: Sixth Annual Celebrations of WIRT, 129,000-Pound Trucks, Dakota Access Pipeline Flow & Sabotage, Keystone XL Pipeline Approval, Shell Oil Leaves Tar Sands, Idaho’s Changing Climate Hearing Excerpts 3-29-17


The Wednesday, March 29, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, hosted by regional climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news about two Sixth Annual Celebrations of WIRT, an Idaho Transportation Department application to run 129,000-pound trucks on regional roadways, Dakota Access pipeline oil flow and sabotage, Trump administration approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, Shell Oil sale of its Alberta tar sands holdings, and recorded excerpts of the March 15 Idaho’s Changing Climate hearing.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide fossil fuel resistance and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

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Sixth Annual Celebrations of Wild Idaho Rising Tide in Moscow & Sandpoint


March 31 & April 7 Anniversary Concerts Benefit Climate Activist Collective

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is celebrating its March 31, sixth anniversary as a regional, climate activist collective confronting the root causes and perpetrators of climate change through direct actions and locally organized solutions.  We invite and welcome every one of all ages to share this milestone at two Sixth Annual Celebrations of Wild Idaho Rising Tide.  These benefit concerts provided by five bands and solo musicians accompany potluck dinner and desert in Moscow, snacks in Sandpoint, beer and wine for purchase, dozens of raffle items donated by community members and businesses, and a background slide show of WIRT accomplishments.  Come and enjoy our yearly fund and action raising parties offering radical revelry for participants supporting relentless, volunteer WIRT activism among and in solidarity with frontline communities of fossil fuel resistance and an international, grassroots network of activists.

WIRT’s amazing members, friends, and allies eagerly anticipate lively musical and social gatherings between 7 pm and 12 midnight on Friday, March 31, in the 1912 Center Great Room at 412 East Third Street in Moscow, Idaho, and on Friday, April 7, in the Little Panida Theater, 300 North First Avenue (across the street from the WIRT office) in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Suggested, admission donations of $5 or more at the doors to these otherwise free, open, public events assist the dedicated work of WIRT and allies to banish new and expanded fossil fuel infrastructure from the Northwest.  Please join dirty energy resisters for a well-deserved, reinvigorating, wild evening full of shared camaraderie, spirited conversation, exuberant dancing, good food and drink, and live music of multiple genres, played by these talented, visiting, and resident songwriters and performers from Moscow, Sandpoint, and Spokane: Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: North Idaho Train Derailments, Idaho Legislators’ Climate Change Hearing, District 9 Oil & Gas Bill & Comment Repression 3-22-17


The Wednesday, March 22, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, hosted by regional climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news about north Idaho train derailments on a Moyie Springs landslide and washed-out Ponderay tracks, a public, informational hearing on climate change held by Idaho legislators, and Idaho gasland District 9 initiated oil and gas legislation hearings and citizen comment repression.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide fossil fuel resistance and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

MRL-BNSF Empty Coal Train Derailment in Ponderay, Idaho


Rain and snow melt washed-out, BNSF train tracks above the Black Rock, lead-contaminated, former smelter site on Lake Pend Oreille in Ponderay, Idaho (Joshua Voss photo)

At 6:05 am on a dark, rainy Saint Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17, 50 to 60 empty cars and a rear locomotive of an eastbound, Montana Rail Link (MRL), unit coal train derailed, remained upright, caused no injuries, and released no obvious hazardous materials in Ponderay and Kootenai, Idaho [1-5].  The wreck occurred on MRL’s mainline, owned and operated in Idaho by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, a route typically carrying mixed freight and Powder River Basin coal – rarely Bakken shale oil and Alberta tar sands crude – from the east, through Missoula, around Lake Pend Oreille, and over the 4800-foot rail bridge southeast of Sandpoint.  Railroad first responders assessed the situation, located approximately 450 feet uphill and separated from the lake shoreline by a stretch of trees, only 250 feet from modest homes and two blocks from the post office and police station in Ponderay.  They would not estimate the timing of the re-opening of their tracks, but determined that recently intense rains and rapid snow melt had washed out a section of collapsed tracks “east of the intersection of Third Street and Cedar Avenue.” [6]

One set of train tracks and a Jersey barrier were suspended over a 30-foot-tall void in the railroad’s embankment on Friday.  At the bottom of the void was a current of storm water.  Other culverts under the tracks on Ponder Point appeared to be running at or near capacity on Friday afternoon…The cause of the wash-out remained under investigation…”High water levels and ground saturation are contributing factors.” [6]

The BNSF and MRL railroad companies, respectively based in Fort Worth, Texas, and Missoula, Montana, brought dozens of crew members, semi-trucks and trailers, and large pieces of ground and track-mounted, heavy equipment to staging areas east and west of the derailment, at Kootenai Bay Road and Seven Sisters Drive on both sides of Idaho Highway 200 in Kootenai, and at Fourth Street and Elm Avenue, adjacent to the railroad right-of-way in Ponderay, all photographed by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT).  Despite overwhelming railroad presence and close proximity to Ponderay houses, businesses, and government facilities, media stories rarely mentioned Ponderay as the location of this historic mishap, instead stating a derailment “west of Kootenai Bay Road in Kootenai, Idaho,” in the vicinity of a wealthy, lakeside, residential neighborhood.

While media reporters and government officials easily accessed the MRL-BNSF derailment mitigation staging site in Ponderay, to obtain crucial information, photographs of the damaged track area, and footage of interviews, nearby, impacted, community members and fossil fuel train monitoring and opposing activists could only reach the accident scene by vehicle and on foot for miles on snowy, lakeside trails, on muddy residential streets, and through wet forests, evading railroad cops to find, observe, and ascertain the accident scene [7-9].  At about 3 pm, two black helicopters left the Sandpoint Airport, circled over Lake Pend Oreille, and flew over the incident site.  Not until the following day, March 18, the local newspaper provided comprehensive event coverage confirming additional details of the emerging story.  By 4:48 pm on that rainy Saturday afternoon, a Kansas City Southern engine trailed one of the first, westbound, mixed freight trains crossing tracks repaired over the 30-foot chasm likely filled by the multiple dump trucks seen in the area since Friday. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Valve Turners House Parties, Idaho District 9 Oil & Gas Legislation, ITD Highway 95 Expansion Plans, Lawsuits on BNSF Coal Pollution & Union Pacific Gorge Tracks 3-15-17


The Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, hosted by regional climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news about the Valve Turners House Parties in Moscow and Sandpoint and upcoming, state-wide events, Idaho District 9 oil and gas legislation, Idaho Transportation Department plans for Highway 95 expansion south of Moscow, and lawsuits on BNSF coal train pollution of Washington waterways and Union Pacific track additions in the Columbia River Gorge.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PDT, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide fossil fuel resistance and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Late March & Early April Events


Climate Change in Idaho

Representative Ilana Rubel is hosting an open, public forum on current and future climate change conditions in Idaho, and what residents can do about them, on Wednesday, March 15, between 3:30 and 5:30 pm MDT, in the Lincoln Auditorium of the Idaho Capitol, 700 West Jefferson Street in Boise. Academic, government agency, and business leaders, who have directly experienced how a changing climate is affecting agriculture, forests, water cycles, recreation, and the economy of our state, will talk about work to solve these problems and ways you can make a difference.

Speakers include John Abatzoglou from the University of Idaho, Dr. Scott Lowe, Dr. Jen Pierce, and Dr. Kerrie Weppner from Boise State University, Bill Kaage of the National Park Service, Kevin King of the Idaho Clean Energy Alliance, high school student climate activists Jai Bansal and Ilah Hickman, and various members of faith communities. They will discuss the human causes and expected impacts of climate change, renewable energy, efficiency incentives, and other proposed solutions.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) encourages you to share this event announcement and to attend this free, kid friendly hearing that Idahoans across the state can view via livestream and later archive, at the following, second link.

Climate Change in Idaho, March 3, 2017 Idaho Representative Ilana Rubel

Idaho in Session: Legislature Live (Lincoln Auditorium), 2017 Idaho Public Television

Treaty Rights in a Changing Environment

Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, Save Our Wild Salmon, and Earthjustice are hosting a two-day, tribal conference on treaty rights, featuring Earthjustice attorneys and other presenters, at the Red Lion Hotel, 621 21st Street in Lewiston, on Friday, March 17, from 9 am to 4 pm, and on Saturday, March 18, from 9 am to 3 pm. The conference aims to instill deeper understandings of treaty rights and the responsibilities of tribal and non-tribal people to respect, uphold, and act according to those rights.  It also intends to build relationships between tribal and environmental groups, to work better together on campaigns and movements exemplified by allied resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline degrading tribal lands and contaminating water, and by Nez Perce efforts to remove four lower Snake River dams and thus recover and restore native, wild salmon populations, treaty fishing rights, and associated traditional and cultural practices.

Conference organizers will provide breakfast and lunch for all attendees, and ask that non-tribal participants consider offering a $50 donation to help cover event costs. Please register in advance at the second, following link, and contribute toward event expenses if you can.

Treaty Rights in a Changing Environment, February 10, 2017 Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment

Treaty Rights in a Changing Environment Registration, February 10, 2017 Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment

TWO! Sixth Annual Celebrations of WIRT Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Oil and Gas Legislation, Coal Train Pollution Lawsuit Settlement, Tesoro-Savage Oil Terminal Lease Extension 3-8-17


The Wednesday, March 8, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, hosted by regional climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news about Idaho oil and gas regulation legislation, a lawsuit settlement on Northwest coal train pollution, and Port of Vancouver extension of the Tesoro-Savage oil-by-rail terminal lease.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PST, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide fossil fuel resistance and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Valve Turners House Parties in Moscow & Sandpoint


Inspired by the “valve turners’” bold and decisive actions that shut down pipelines flowing from Canada to the primary tar sands market, America consumers, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is hosting public house parties in Moscow and Sandpoint, to support these blockaders’ legal defense funds and to elevate conversations about rising to the challenges of this critical, historic moment [1].  In this era of a federal fossil fuel administration, building stronger communities of climate dissidents preparing for the next wave of direct actions is more crucial than ever.  So please join us at 6 pm on Thursday, March 9, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, and/or at 12 noon on Saturday, March 11, in the upstairs room of Eichardt’s Pub at 212 Cedar Street in Sandpoint.  We welcome all participant ages and concerns at this Shut It Down – Climate Direct Action fundraiser requesting $10 suggested donations with free admission.

On October 11, 2016, five brave climate activists closed the emergency shut-off valves of five major pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands oil into Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.  In solidarity with Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and other Lakota nations and allied water protectors at resistance camps invaded by police, their nonviolent civil disobedience together stopped 15 percent of a day’s U.S. crude oil imports.  Now these activists and four accompanying documentarians are facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges with maximum, potential, prison sentences ranging from 10 to 81 years.  Beyond some pro bono legal help, the group has had to hire several lawyers and needs to raise $50,000 to cover legal, trial, and travel expenses, as they tell their stories about urgent climate action.

Before setting out to cut chains and locks and block pipeline valves across the country, the tar sands valve turners – Annette, Emily, Ken, Leonard, and Michael – and their support crew – Ben, Reed, Sam, and Steve – were not specially trained activists.  They are just ordinary people with the strength of their convictions and the courage to act on them.  But their example, along with similar skills and practices, show how people rightfully concerned about climate catastrophe can stand up and take serious action in a time of denial and a world of “alternative facts.”  With the fossil fuel industry now not only controlling governments at every level in the U.S., but also holding positions of power within them, we all need to support folks already taking big legal risks and to move ourselves to that next step, by truthfully, assertively acting to halt the fossil fuel sources of climate cataclysm and our collective crimes against future generations.

During the last weekend in February, Shut It Down – Climate Direct Action and allies organized the first, experimental round of house parties, meeting with friends to raise funds to help the valve turners in Bellevue, Washington, Brooklyn, New York, Burlington, Vermont, Hanover, New Hampshire, and Houston, Texas.  Please gather with us at these fun events, held by dozens of groups across the country, introducing you and your friends, family, and colleagues to powerful climate direct action, and sharing the work of Shut It Down and WIRT.  We will provide valve turner videos and information about how to stage and live stream adventurous and effective actions.  For further event and co-host information, see ShutItDown.Today and WildIdahoRisingTide.org and contact us with your questions. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Water Protector Stands & Militarized Police Invasions of Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Camps with Insights from Harold Frazier, Linda Black Elk, Chase Iron Eyes, LaDonna Allard, & Regina Brave 3-1-17


The Wednesday, March 1, 2017 Climate Justice Forum radio program, hosted by regional climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features comprehensive coverage of the last week of water protector stands and militarized police invasions of Dakota Access pipeline resistance camps and ongoing Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux lawsuits against the pipeline, including insights offered by Cheyenne River Sioux chairman Harold Frazier, Standing Rock Sioux activist and attorney Chase Iron Eyes, Sacred Stone camp founders LaDonna Allard and Linda Black Elk, and Oglala elder and treaty defender Regina Brave.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PST, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide fossil fuel resistance and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.