The Wednesday, August 26, 2020, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on Idaho riverside oil and gas wells and integration spacing units, Pend Oreille lakeside logging and roadbuilding, regional railroad carbon pollution, a Wyoming grain train wreck, British Columbia indigenous cabin arson and a Trans Mountain pipeline tree-sitter blockade, a Minnesota Line 3 pipeline protest, and South Dakota tribal actions against a Keystone XL man camp and pipe yard and land defender felony charges. Broadcast for eight years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, grassroots resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) offers these updates, condensed and compiled in chronological order from posts shared during summer 2020, on the WIRT facebook page and weekly Climate Justice Forum radio program. Please learn about and comment against fossil fuels and forest exploitation proposals, advanced by Idaho state and federal government agencies at the behest of profiteering companies marauding private and public resources, and support and partake in grassroots and indigenous demonstrations of resistance to these invasions that risk and degrade human and environmental health and safety.
July 2: Stop Oil Trains Report
WIRT organizers appreciate everyone who publicized and/or participated in the seventh annual, regional, Stop Oil Trains 2020 events on June 25 through July 2, honoring the 47 lives lost and downtowns devastated by oil train derailments, spills, fires, and explosions in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013, in Mosier, Oregon, on June 3, 2016, and potentially in all rail corridor, frontline communities threatened by the risks and pollution of crude oil pipelines-on-rails [1, 2]. We are especially grateful for David Perk of 350 Seattle and allied, Northwest activists for an interactive, teleconferenced, train watch training workshop, and for Occupy and WIRT volunteers who hosted an outreach table during Sandpoint Farmers Market, gathered signatures for the Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, and displayed spotlighted, environmental and social justice messages within the “bomb train blast zones” of downtown Spokane and Sandpoint. As WIRT continues to confront up to 30 weekly, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway and Union Pacific Railroad trains, hauling volatile Bakken shale oil and sinkable Alberta tar sands, and to resist Northwest fossil fuels-by-rail export terminals, refineries, and railroad bridge and track expansions, we will update this report and post more photos of the Stop Oil Trains 2020 week of actions .
July 30: CAIA Quarterly Newsletter
Thanks to Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability (CAIA), for their quarterly, July to September 2020 newsletter featuring updates on CAIA president Shelley Brock’s bid for an Idaho state representative position, CAIA and Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission meetings, cancellation of the July 2020 auction of state oil and gas leases, and other fossil fuels and public water and lands issues . Please help stop Treasure Valley hydrocarbon extraction and resource exploitation, by answering three CAIA calls to action prompting citizen resistance to proposed, oil and gas well spacing and drilling and resulting, force-pooled leasing in Fruitland, Idaho.
August 1: Fourth Remember the Water Paddle Report
During the mid-summer heat and cool, full moonlit nights of late July and early August 2020, members of the Kalispel, Colville, and Spokane tribes, the River Warrior Society, and canoe families continued the historic and now annual tradition of the Fourth Remember the Water Paddle. As supporters and equipment drivers watched and talked at 9 am on Thursday morning, July 30, groups of four to seven paddlers prepared and began their journey in three traditional, big, wooden canoes carved from cedar tree trunks and launched on Lake Pend Oreille, from south City Beach Park in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho. They navigated under the BNSF Railway and U.S. Highway 95 bridges, onto Pend Oreille River currents over the course of 50-plus miles and three days, and arrived without an annual, cancelled powwow deadline this year, at the Kalispel reservation near Usk, Washington, at 7 pm on Saturday, August 1. Read the WIRT report and view a video and photos of the event, through the enclosed links [5, 6]. Thanks and congratulations to all who shared this creative, successful Fourth Remember the Water Paddle!
August 4: Phyllis Kardos Primary Election Victory
Cheers for District 1 Pend Oreille County commissioner candidate Phyllis Kardos, who has won the Washington primary election ! With faith in Phyllis’s sensible approaches to community responsibility, positive political changes, and environmental protection within a conservative stronghold, especially amid county decisions concerning the proposed Newport silicon smelter, WIRT activists will continue to support Phyllis’s campaign for election on November 3, through endorsement and outreach. We encourage the western neighbors of the Idaho Panhandle to vote for Phyllis Kardos!
August 5: Idaho Gas Well Drilling Comments
In early August 2020, in response to a Snake River Oil and Gas application to drill the Barlow 2-14 “hydrocarbon well a mere 20 feet from the Barlow 1-14 [well]” and a public comment period on the proposal, Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability president Shelley Brock, attorney James Piotrowski, and Fruitland residents sent letters of objection to the Idaho Department of Lands, stating legal reasons for denial of the drilling permit [8-10]. They described potential harms to resources and violations of Idaho statutes that state approval of the oil and gas well on the floodplain banks of the Payette River would inflict, such as leaking well components and wasting of the hydrocarbon pool by allowing two wells within the same spacing unit and geologic structure .
Comment by August 27: Idaho Gas Well Spacing Units
On Thursday, August 13, the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (IOGCC) and Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) oil and gas director Mick Thomas held two hearings on the first of two or more 2020, Snake River Oil and Gas (SROG) applications for Payette County spacing units (docket number CC-2020-OGR-01-001) in and near Fruitland, Idaho. This application establishes the first step that, if approved by the state within 30 days (by September 13) and followed by an integration order, would “force pool” unwilling citizens into leasing their privately owned oil and gas resources. The spacing unit encompasses mineral rights holders around the Fallon 1-10 well directionally drilled in 2018, but not yet producing oil and gas, on the floodplain banks across the Payette River and under the city of Fruitland water intake plant, near U.S. Highway 95. Prompted by Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability (CAIA) partners, WIRT wrote and sent comments on behalf of our 3,200-plus activists, members, and friends, in objection to this water-endangering scheme in mid-June 2020 . Continue reading
The Wednesday, August 19, 2020, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a recorded, Idaho, public hearing on a spacing unit around a Payette riverside oil and gas well, and news and reflections on an indigenous canoe group’s virtual silent auction, Sandpoint 5G installation resistance, and a Montana coal derailment remembrance, recent train wreck and fire, and railroad maintenance facility closure. Broadcast for eight years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, grassroots opposition to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.
The Wednesday, August 12, 2020, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on Idaho, riverside, oil and gas well spacing, drilling, and forced leasing, a traditional, indigenous, canoe journey, railroad bridge construction, and train noise on Panhandle lakes, derailments from switches, winds, and rock cargo, and a lawsuit against Utah grants for a proposed oil railway. Broadcast for eight years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM, online, and podcast on Radio Free America, the show describes continent-wide, grassroots resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.
The Wednesday, August 5, 2020, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on longer, north Idaho trains and rail bridge construction, Idaho COVID-19 case increases and opposition to in-person, university classes and sports, riverside gas well comments, train derailments, fires, spills, and bridge collapse in Arizona and Washington, and federal police withdrawal from Portland protests of racial injustice. Broadcast for eight years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM, online, and podcast on Radio Free America, the show describes continent-wide, grassroots resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.
June 22 & Ongoing: WIRT Co-Founder Medical Support
Cass Davis, a “left-neck,” rebel rouser, and native Idahoan of the Silver Valley, has been building north Idaho community resistance in Moscow for decades. As one of the co-founders of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), he has tirelessly worked and served as a fellow board member and organizer with KRFP Radio Free Moscow, Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition, and Silver Valley Community Resource Center. An early, WIRT, video compilation and call to action features Cass at 1:13, before his arrest during 2011-12 tar sands megaload protests and blockades .
Cass suffered a heart attack in late May 2020, and needs donations to help him recover and heal over the next year . Please contribute however you can, by donating to this fundraiser for his medical and other basic expenses, and/or by volunteering more actively in social justice and environmental protection issues and participating in community events. He says that “One of the biggest things that will ease my stress is seeing more people involved, more people civically engaged” . We couldn’t agree more, dear comrade Cass!
July 18: Coalition Defense of Paradise Ridge Wetlands
In a letter to Moscow-Pullman Daily News editors, published on July 18, Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) board members, including representatives of WIRT, one of the PRDC member organizations, responded to inaccurate, Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) District 2 information echoed in a July 3 news article about expansion and relocation of 6.5 miles of U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow, from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane, divided highway [3-5]. Among other contentions addressed by PRDC, the piece states that ITD expects the $53 million project, “slated to start construction this year” but delayed until next spring, to reach completion in 2022 .
It dismissively asserts that “legal challenges to the project ended in December 2018, when the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling in favor of ITD and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). The [Paradise] Ridge Defense Coalition submitted a lawsuit against the FHA and ITD, regarding the project’s Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision in April 2017, which claimed the highway’s expansion would cut through a section of Paradise Ridge and lead to loss of wetlands, remnants of Palouse Prairie, farmland, and conservation reserve. A federal judge ruled against the motion and in favor of the FHA and ITD in August 2017, but the coalition appealed…[ITD] does not anticipate another appeal or lawsuit” .
August 2: University of Idaho Online-Only Classes Petition
By late Sunday, August 2, please read, sign, and share a petition initiated, circulated, and supported by concerned residents of Moscow and the Palouse region . In opposition to the unnecessary risks of performing on-campus, in-person teaching and learning, it requests that the University of Idaho (UI) engage innovative opportunities to hold online classes during fall semester 2020. Seeking to ensure conditions conducive to the health and safety of UI and community students and employees, organizers will present the petition to UI president Scott Green on Monday, August 3.
With similar goals, UI staff and faculty members delivered a letter to Green, “urging university leaders to allow employees who work closely with students to choose to work remotely, without fear of reprisal or the need to fill out a [disability] waiver. [It] neared 300 signatures as of Thursday, [July 30,]…including 123 tenured professors, eight of whom are distinguished professors. …The letter said cases of COVID-19 in Idaho are increasing exponentially, with current case numbers far surpassing those seen in March, when the school canceled in-person instruction for the first time…An increasing number of colleges across the country are choosing to go online for the fall semester, including nearby Washington State University” . Continue reading