Second Lake Rail Bridge Protest #1 Report

Thanks to each of the 20 indigenous, community, and climate activists who participated in the Second Lake Rail Bridge Protest #1 between 9 and 11:30 am on Monday, May 8, on the Dog Beach Park path and site of pile drive tests in preparation for Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s (BNSF) proposed, second, 4800-foot, rail bridge across Lake Pend Oreille, near Sandpoint, Idaho! [1-3]

At 9:09 am, BNSF again attempted, but failed this time, to rush a westbound, unit oil train past a rail-line community, in advance of another demonstration. The train crossed over Sand Creek near its lake outlet, on the single-track bridge that BNSF plans to double-track along with construction of the parallel lake bridge.  Water protectors at the event stood with banners in the mid-morning light and close proximity to the train that WIRT activists documented with high-resolution photos clearly identifying its “1267” crude oil hazmat placards.  They later noticed several alarming components of these tanker cars illustrated in the photos: tangles of snaggable, undercarriage wires and tanker end valves facing each other on adjacent cars and protruding from rectangular, metal bar “shields.”  These purportedly safe rail cars looked like an end-to-end, heavy, oil car crash accident waiting to happen.

Marching with protest signs visibly close to U.S. Highway 95, the Bonner County residents and three Washington friends waved to the BNSF cops and contracted, Oregon workers, before reaching the lake shore and standing with banners in front of the pile drive crane and the Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge. As new participants arrived, they circled, smudged, prayed, drummed, and sang in ceremony, then reflected on and discussed second rail bridge concerns among themselves and on video.  They gradually dispersed and waved goodbye to the railroad crew and police, and gathered for lunch before three visiting Kalispel Nation and Spokane activists departed. Continue reading