July 8-10 annual actions remember the Lac-Mégantic, Mosier, & Custer disasters
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allied activists invite everyone to participate in ninth annual, Stop Oil Trains direct actions and a training workshop in north Idaho, on Friday, July 8, through Sunday, July 10. Five events 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, and the northwestern hamlet of Custer, Washington, on December 22, 2020. These demonstrations also support pipeline-on-rails resistance across the Northwest and in trackside and pipeline corridor communities and environments threatened and polluted by dangerous oil and its disasters.
Spotlight Message Projection
Friday & Saturday, July 8 & 9, 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 and Saturday, July 8 and 9, wherever you see this light show, for discussions among activists and curious passersby, about Northwest oil train and terminal and gas pipeline expansion issues.
Saturday, July 9, 9 am to 1 pm, near Farmin Park, Sandpoint
Gather with volunteer activists between 9 am and 1 pm on Saturday, July 9, at the WIRT outreach table at the corner of Fourth and Oak Streets 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 infrastructure and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway’s second railroad bridges, and provide #No2ndBridge and other petitions, letters, flyers, and brochures [1-3].
Oil Trains Protest
Saturday, July 9, 1 pm, Farmin to City Beach Parks, Sandpoint
At 1 pm on Saturday, July 9, bring your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, protest signs, and creative spirit, to show community opposition to 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 march 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.
Train Watch Workshop
Sunday, July 10, 4 pm, Gardenia Center, Sandpoint
For the annual training sessions on regional coal, oil, and tar sands trainspotting, David Perk of 350 Seattle will present methods for trackside observing, documenting, and reporting Northwest fossil fuels 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, and insights, beginning at 4 pm on Sunday, July 10, via Zoom and at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, Idaho. WIRT needs more train monitors along the tracks of the north Idaho, fossil fuels frontline, to document all westbound, unit trains of cars hauling Powder River Basin coal, Bakken crude oil, and Canadian tar sands.
During the nine years since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, dozens of similar train wrecks have harmed public and environmental health and safety and the global climate – more than in the previous four decades. Nonetheless, BNSF moves 8 to 12 volatile Bakken crude oil trains every week, while Union Pacific hauls one to two trains per week of equally explosive and irretrievably sinkable Canadian tar sands, 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 watersheds. Along with about 20 weekly Powder River Basin coal trains, over 90 percent of Northwest oil trains 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 the critical habitat of threatened bull trout and other native, aquatic inhabitants, lake and aquifer drinking water, and regional air sheds.
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 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. We embrace public vigilance and 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 BNSF 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 actions. Missoula, Moscow, Sandpoint, Seattle, and Spokane activists of 350, Occupy, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Raging Grannies, Veterans for Peace, 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 [4-10].
Participate in Stop Oil Trains!
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. Respond through WIRT contact channels or on-site, and find further issue descriptions and updates, via WIRT facebook posts, website pages, and radio programs. Thanks for stopping fossil fueled climate chaos!
 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
 Stop Oil Trains and Pipelines 2021, July 13, 2021 Wild Idaho Rising Tide
 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