North Idaho activists invite everyone to participate in eighth annual, Stop Oil Trains and Pipelines training workshops and direct actions on Thursday, July 15, through Saturday, July 17. Five events honor and commemorate the 47 lives lost and downtowns devastated by oil train derailments, spills, explosions, and fires in the lakeside village of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013, the Columbia River Gorge town of Mosier, Oregon, on June 3, 2016, the northwestern hamlet of Custer, Washington, on December 22, 2020, and all rail and pipeline corridor communities threatened and degraded by crude oil. This year, we also welcome your participation in protesting Line 3 tar sands pipeline construction through hundreds of water bodies, wild rice lakes, and treaty territories of Anishinaabe and Ojibwe indigenous nations in northern Minnesota.
During the eight years since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, dozens of similar wrecks have harmed public and environmental health and safety and the global climate – more than in the previous four decades. Nonetheless, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway moves 12 to 22 volatile, Bakken crude oil trains every week, while Union Pacific hauls one to two trains of equally explosive and irretrievably sinkable, Canadian tar sands per week, beside and over rivers, lakes, and tributaries throughout north Idaho and the Northwest, such as the Kootenai, Clark Fork, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Columbia, and other rivers. Along with a similar, weekly number of Powder River Basin coal trains, over 95 percent of these shipments must cross BNSF rail bridges above downtown Sandpoint and Spokane and almost one mile over Idaho’s largest, deepest lake, Pend Oreille. BNSF is expanding this pipeline-on-rails by drilling, removing, and re-drilling 1000-plus piles into train-spewed, accumulated, coal and diesel dust and other railroad pollution in lake and stream beds, to anchor noisily floating, fish-killing, temporary, construction barges precariously holding half-million-pound cranes, and to build two miles of doubled tracks and three permanent, parallel, second (and later third) rail bridges west of the current rail line. This Sandpoint Junction Connector project will accommodate more derailment-vulnerable, bi-directional, and double-long train traffic polluting critical habitat for threatened bull trout and other native, aquatic inhabitants and regional air sheds and lake and aquifer, drinking water.
In solidarity with people all over Turtle Island (North America), rejecting new and expanding, fossil fuels infrastructure, to protect the water, air, and climate essential to all lives, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and inland Northwest communities in the crosshairs of the coal, oil, and railroad industries continue to actively oppose BNSF’s fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails, through public vigilance, education, protests, and lawsuits, as we monitor project activities, document environmental and socioeconomic violations, and gather evidence challenging permit reviews and decisions by local, state, and federal agencies. With #No2ndBridge construction intensifying and extending into Lake Pend Oreille, Sand Creek, and downtown Sandpoint, we are coordinating and requesting your involvement in these yearly, regional, Stop Oil Trains and Pipelines actions. Missoula, Moscow, Sandpoint, Seattle, and Spokane activists of 350, Direct Action, Occupy, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, WIRT, and allied, conservation and climate groups have hosted and participated with thousands of people around the continent, in numerous Stop Oil Trains demonstrations, climate strikes, #No2ndBridge and derailment protests, and a first anniversary convergence supporting Mosier [1-6].
Please join concerned citizens at these outreach, training, and demonstration events, to demand an immediate ban of Canadian tar sands and Bakken shale oil extraction and rail and pipeline transportation, refusing to let Big Oil jeopardize our families, friends, homes, and businesses. Together, in appreciation and solidarity with grassroots and indigenous, environmental and social justice activists across Canada and the U.S., we are organizing various tactics and resources to stage powerful, effective actions defending and protecting frontline communities and the global climate impacted by oil pipeline and railroad pollution and snafus. Thanks to everyone who has provided invaluable information, connections, and support for these summer events and ongoing, regional, fossil fuels resistance. We welcome your ideas, questions, suggestions, and assistance at these upcoming actions. Reply through WIRT contact channels or on-site, and expect further issue descriptions and updates, via WIRT facebook posts, website pages, and radio programs.
Train Watch Workshop
Thursday, July 15, 5:30 pm, Gardenia Center, Sandpoint
For the eighth annual, training sessions on regional coal, oil, and tar sands trainspotting, David Perk of 350 Seattle will present methods for track-side observing, documenting, and reporting Northwest fossil fuel train traffic, via photos, videos, and social media. He will discuss rail routes from the plains to the coast, train descriptors, refinery and receiving facilities, rail system operations, stopovers, and transit times, and train watch motivations and resources. Please RSVP to WIRT for required registration, to join this teleconferenced conversation with David generously sharing images, skills, insights, and handouts, beginning at 5:30 pm on Thursday, July 15, via Zoom and at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, Idaho. WIRT needs more train monitors, especially along the Union Pacific tracks of the north Idaho, fossil fuels frontline, to document for the #IDoiltrainwatch and #WAoiltrainwatch all westbound, unit trains of black tanker cars hauling Canadian tar sands and Bakken crude oil.
Spotlight Message Projection
Friday, July 16, 10 pm, Downtown Sandpoint
As the sun sets, WIRT and allied organizers will provide brief, light projection displays of social and climate justice messages on tall buildings in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho. Meet after 10 pm on Friday, July 16, wherever you see this light show, for discussions among activists and curious passersby, about Northwest oil train and terminal issues and northern Minnesota pipeline resistance.
#No2ndBridge & #StopLine3 Outreach & Protests
Saturday, July 17, 9 am to 1 pm, near Farmin & City Beach Parks, Sandpoint
Gather with volunteer activists between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday, July 17, at the WIRT outreach table near Farmin Park, during the Farmers Market at Sandpoint, Idaho. We plan to talk with residents and visitors of the one-mile-wide, north Idaho “bomb train blast zone,” offer updates on Northwest oil and coal trains and terminals, BNSF’s second railroad bridges, and Line 3 resistance, and provide #No2ndBridge, #StopLine3, and other petitions, letters, flyers, and brochures [7-11].
By 11 am on Saturday, July 17, bring your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, protest signs, and creative spirit, to show community opposition to megabanks, including Wells Fargo, funding Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline invasion of indigenous lands. Encourage these banks to not renew three major loans, expiring on July 22 and 23 and worth nearly $5 billion, for building this toxic “black snake” that currently threatens the health, safety, and freedom of people resisting and living near it. Line 3 would contaminate wild rice and other waters with a thick spill, and release 193 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to 50 new, coal-fired power plants. The Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth nations are challenging in court Line 3’s environmentally racist violations of treaty rights, while 500-plus arrested and thousands more indigenous and accomplice water protectors have been physically blocking pipeline construction and enduring police and corporate abuses since December 2020 [10, 11].
At 12 noon on Saturday, July 17, participate in local protests of more dangerous, crude oil conduits to refineries and export facilities: Oil trains and railroad infrastructure, like the present and proposed, BNSF rail bridges. Starting from the Farmin Park area, we will walk with banners and signs objecting to the Northwest pipeline-on-wheels and railroad expansion, through downtown Sandpoint to City Beach Park. At these public, origin and destination places, we will share reflections and stories about the isolated vulnerability of rural, rail corridor communities to oil train and derailment catastrophes and industry invasions of local environments and economies.
Thanks for your efforts to stop fossil fueled climate crises!
 Stop Oil Trains 2020, June 22, 2020 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Fossil Fuels Train Pollution Protest Report, February 8, 2020 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Climate Strike and USACE Permit Protest, December 3, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 BNSF Bridges Coast Guard EA Protest 9-21-19, September 25, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Stop Oil Trains 2019 Actions, June 25, 2019 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Sandpoint and Spokane Stand with Mosier, May 29, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, September 30, 2018 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Do You Live in an Oil Train Blast Zone? 2020 Stand.Earth
 North American Crude by Rail, 2020 Oil Change International
 Pipeline Resistance Solidarity Actions, June 22, 2021 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 Stop the Toxic Line 3 Pipeline, 2021 Stop the Money Pipeline