Portland Tar Sands Terminal Comments, Moscow Oil & Gas Talk, Monthly WIRT Meetings, Idaho Lakes Rulemaking

As prompted and supported by this Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) newsletter, please consider maximizing your opportunities to participate in resistance to a Portland, tar sands export, train terminal, a southern Idaho, oil and gas issues presentation in Moscow, rescheduled, monthly, WIRT meetings in Sandpoint and Moscow, and further, public comments and hearings on Idaho navigable lakes, negotiated rulemaking.

Portland Tar Sands Terminal Forum & Comments

Anticipating a big crowd on Monday evening, July 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the University of Portland Buckley Center (5000 North Willamette Boulevard), Portland City Commissioners are hosting a public forum and hearing on the Zenith Energy tar sands crude oil terminal on the Willamette River in northwest Portland [1-2].  In 2016, the Commissioners banned new, bulk, fossil fuel terminals, but this company has pre-existing permits.  Although the City is not currently deliberating any Zenith decisions, this listening session provides an important opportunity to again wear red, share concerns, and demand action.  More than seven organizations encouraging participation in the meeting suggest requesting that the City deny all Zenith permits to expand its terminal capacity and dangerous oil-by-rail, for the following, described reasons [1].  Between April 21 and 28, 2019, Extinction Rebellion Portland twice stopped tar sands trains for four days, with 11 arrested and other blockaders amidst a “victory over fossil fuels” garden planted on the terminal tracks [3].

As a former asphalt plant, Zenith has gradually converted its terminal to exporting tar sands crude, and has transformed regional rail lines to less voluminous, Keystone XL pipelines.  Climate-wrecking, Canadian, tar sands extraction and Northwest transportation and production threaten the health and safety of First Nations and their air, water, lands, and traditional subsistence practices.  Two mid-winter, tar sands train derailments and fires in northern Ontario in 2015 proved that “dilbit” (diluted bitumen) is as volatile and flammable as Bakken crude.  Oil companies mix diluents with bitumen (the tar drawn from tar sands) to form more fluid and transportable oil.  But this crude contains odorless and deadly hydrogen sulfide gas that is heavier than air and accumulates in low places if leaked.  Worse than any other grade of oil, dilbit also sinks to the beds of water bodies when spilled, while its diluents evaporate and seriously sicken or kill nearby communities.

According to the Washington Department of Ecology, one to two Alberta and Saskatchewan, tar sands trains pass through Sandpoint and Spokane every week.  Because “Ecology” does not require oil train reports from out-of-state destinations, additional such trains could also be moving across the Northwest toward Portland.  They usually travel south from Canada, through western Washington or north Idaho and Spokane, along the Columbia River, and through Camas and Vancouver, southwest Washington, before crossing the rail bridge to north Portland.  Idaho observers of the Union Pacific Railroad line, which needs more citizen monitors, note that oil train numbers have increased during the last year.  #No2ndBridge activists watching the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway tracks through Sandpoint fear that potentially derailed, sinkable tar sands trains may traverse the Lake Pend Oreille rail bridge [4].  Portland, Seattle, and Sandpoint trainspotters are working together to determine tar sands train routes and numbers, but request more north Idaho assistance: Contact WIRT if you can help!

Please consider safely ride-sharing, arriving early to attend and speak for only two minutes, so others can testify, and/or writing to the Portland City Commissioners this week, about your concerns and creative solutions for the Zenith oil terminal.  Email your thoughts about regional, tar sand train impacts to City Commissioners Chloe Eudaly (chloe@portlandoregon.gov), Nick Fish (nick@portlandoregon.gov), Amanda Fritz (amanda@portlandoregon.gov), and Jo Ann Hardesty (joann@portlandoregon.gov), Mayor Ted Wheeler (mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov), and City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero (auditorhullcCaballero@portlandoregon.gov).  See the forum facebook event for ongoing updates [1].

Oil & Gas Issues Presentation in Moscow?

The Moscow Sustainable Environment Commission (SEC) may offer a third attempt of hosting a Skyped talk by Shelley Brock of Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability (CAIA) at 7:15 pm on Tuesday, July 16, at the Water Operations Building, 201 North Main Street in Moscow.  Shelley will discuss oil and gas fracking and acidizing issues in Idaho, including citizen court challenges of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) integration process that forces landowners to lease their privately owned minerals to oil and gas companies.  WIRT encourages you to attend, videotape, and/or record this Moscow City Council Commission meeting that will consider Shelley’s report and take further, appropriate actions.  Please see the linked, meeting agenda, and/or contact SEC at sec@ci.moscow.id.us or 208-883-7133 [5].

Monthly Moscow & Sandpoint WIRT Meetings

WIRT activists would greatly appreciate your help in arranging summer presentations, training workshops, direct actions, and probable litigation, while reaching out to trustworthy and competent allies and attorneys across our regional network.  From among the amazing company of too few radicals always striving to slow and stop too many corporate conquests, WIRT invites you to attend a July potluck gathering, talk about tactics, offer your unique advice and assistance, and pursue your climate activism passion with us.  As during previous seasons, we are meeting at 7 pm on the first and third Wednesdays of every month, except this July.  Please join us a week later than usual, on July 24 at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, and on the normal schedule of August 7 at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow.

Idaho Navigable Lakes Negotiated Rulemaking

On July 12, 2019, WIRT provided extensive, written comments on docket 20-0304-1901, still un-posted on the Idaho Department of Lands website, for negotiated rulemaking on IDAPA 20.03.04, the administrative rules “governing the regulation of beds, waters, and airspace over navigable lakes in the state of Idaho,” and as information extracted from court records and litigation insights, available for other, public comments [6].  We encourage participation in ongoing, IDL rulemaking, comment periods and attendance and requests for additional, statewide, public hearings, contingent on the unaddressed issues and citizen-unfavorable outcomes arising from the present proceedings.

Please consider contributing physically and/or fiscally to WIRT campaigns confronting the fossil fuel sources of climate change, at the addresses displayed on our website and facebook pages or online through the Donate to WIRT button.  Thanks!

[1] Portland City Council Forum on Zenith Energy Tar Sands Terminal, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network et al.

[2] City of Portland to Host Forum on Zenith Tar Sands Terminal Expansion, July 12, 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

[3] Stopping Tar Sands Oil Trains in Portland, April 29, 2019 KBOO Locus Focus

[4] Are Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway’s proposed, second railroad bridges…, April 14, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[5] Agendas and Minutes: Sustainable Environment Commission, City of Moscow, Idaho

[6] Idaho Navigable Lakes Negotiated Rulemaking, June 17, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

1 thought on “Portland Tar Sands Terminal Comments, Moscow Oil & Gas Talk, Monthly WIRT Meetings, Idaho Lakes Rulemaking

  1. Pingback: Spokane Conferences, Kalispel Canoe Journey, #No2ndBridge Actions, Fifth Panhandle Paddle | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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