About WIRT

The WIRT collective is part of an international, grassroots network of groups and individuals who take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change and to promote local, community-based solutions to the climate crisis.

Stop North Idaho’s Keystone XL Pipeline!

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0 GTN Idaho Map 1

GTN Xpress Gas Pipeline Expansion

Residents of the Northwest and Turtle Island continent continue to experience the extreme, worsening heat, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods caused by fossil-fueled climate change.  But Canadian energy company TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), owner of the notoriously leaky Keystone tar sands pipeline, partially completed but unpermitted Keystone XL pipeline, and new Coastal GasLink line invading unceded indigenous lands in British Columbia (B.C.), expects the public not to notice its plans to stealthily expand its 1,353-mile-long Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline across north Idaho, eastern Washington, and central Oregon [1-5].

The GTN Xpress project would dangerously increase “natural” gas volumes by 150 million to 250 million cubic feet per day, in its 61-year-old pipeline system.  GTN transports gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” from the prolific West Canadian Sedimentary Basin and Rocky Mountain fields of northeast British Columbia and Alberta.  It connects with the Foothills and Nova Gas Transmission pipelines in Canada near Kingsgate, B.C., crosses the U.S. border at Eastport, Idaho, and terminates in Malin, Oregon, where it flows into the Tuscarora pipeline in northern California.  In north Idaho, the climate-wrecking, potentially explosive GTN pipeline traverses the Moyie Valley, Bonners Ferry, and the Highway 95 corridor, close and parallel to railroad lines.  GTN passes under a Schweitzer Mountain ski resort parking lot and West Pine Street in Sandpoint, and below the Pend Oreille River near Dover, downstream from Idaho’s largest, deepest lake.  From Malin in southern Oregon, the controversial Pacific Connector pipeline would have carried feedstock gas out to the coastal Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Coos Bay.  But a decade-plus of broad public opposition and regulatory hurdles overcame both boondoggles.

Through a compression-only expansion of the GTN system, GTN Xpress would software-upgrade the capacity and pressure of the gas-fired turbine compressor at the Athol, Idaho, pump station 5, from 14,300 to 23,470 horsepower.  Although the Athol station is located at 2244 East Seasons Road in Kootenai County, a dispatch center in Portland, Oregon, remotely controls it and 11 other compressor stations, numbered 3 through 14, which move gas along the U.S. part of the pipeline.  The facility stands just two miles west-northwest of the popular Silverwood Theme Park, full of hundreds of visitors on precarious rides during spring, summer, and fall days.  Installing new equipment and improving an access road at two Washington and Oregon compressor stations and along the pipeline, the GTN Xpress project would push an additional 250,000 dekatherms of gas per day out to smaller, linked pipelines and markets in Washington, Oregon, and California.  As one dekatherm provides enough gas for five average-sized (over-large) homes, new GTN Xpress infrastructure and gas volumes would force 1.2 million households to use fossil fuels for at least another 30 years.

Excess Gas & Northwest Energy Transitions

In its October 2021 application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), seeking a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the GTN Xpress project, TC Energy claims that “increased market demand driven by residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Pacific Northwest” justifies aged GTN pipeline expansion, and that “the benefits of GTN’s proposed project far outweigh its potential adverse impacts” [6].  These plans prompted FERC to prepare a draft, federal, environmental impact statement (EIS) currently undergoing public scrutiny and input [7-9].  Although TC Energy has urged FERC to approve the project with a final EIS by October 14, 2022, and to authorize it by the 90-day federal deadline of January 12, 2023, company and agency staff must first prove to the commission that Americans, not just Idahoans and Northwesterners, need this pipeline expansion, and that GTN Xpress would benefit public interests.  As FERC called for draft EIS scoping comments on the project in February 2022, it also updated its policies guiding decisions on natural gas projects, allowing the agency to more thoroughly consider a proposal’s contributions to climate change and potential impacts on landowners and environmental justice [10]. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Pipeline Resistance & Rail Bridge Construction, Spokane River Paddle & Veterans for Peace Award, Frontline Responses to Inflation Reduction Act, August Full Moon 8-17-22


The Wednesday, August 17, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a Columbia Riverkeeper webinar about Keystone XL pipeline owner TC Energy’s plans to expand GTN Xpress gas pipeline volumes and pump stations across north Idaho and the Northwest.  We also share news, music, and reflections on BNSF Railway second bridges and track construction in Lake Pend Oreille, an indigenous canoe paddle on the Spokane River, selection of Spokane Veterans for Peace as chapter of the year, GTN Xpress comments, petitions, letters to editors, and protests, a People versus Fossil Fuels coalition response to industry deals in the Inflation Reduction Act, and the August full sturgeon supermoon.  Broadcast for ten 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, frontline 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.

Climate Justice Forum: GTN Xpress Gas Pipeline Expansion, Palouse Prairie Crowdfunding, DAPL Jail Support, Nevada Lithium Mine Discoveries, First Nation Work Camp, Bay Area Refinery Protest 8-10-22


The Wednesday, August 10, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a recent Columbia Riverkeeper webinar about Keystone XL pipeline owner TC Energy’s plans to expand GTN Xpress gas pipeline volumes and pump stations across north Idaho and the Northwest.  We also share news, music, and reflections on crowdfunding for legal efforts to protect Palouse Prairie wetlands from Idaho highway expansion, a coincidental Illinois intermodal train derailment, solidarity support for an incarcerated Dakota Access pipeline protester, discovery of indigenous historic sites at a proposed Nevada lithium mine site, a summer work camp on First Nation lands in British Columbia, and Bay Area demonstrations remembering a 2012 Chevron refinery fire.  Broadcast for ten 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, frontline 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.

Support WIRT Crowdfunding for PRDC!

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Protect Palouse Prairie WetlandsProtect Palouse Prairie Wetlands from Highway Expansion

For the fourth time in 20 years, the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) is challenging the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and now also the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), in an ongoing citizen attempt to force selection of the least environmentally disruptive, central C-3 route for proposed U.S. Highway 95 realignment south of Moscow, Idaho.  PRDC filed a legal complaint in the U.S. District Court of Idaho on March 22, 2022, against the Thorn Creek Road to Moscow highway project.  This ITD scheme plans to reroute and expand to four lanes a six-mile segment of Highway 95, along the easternmost E-2 alternative route highest on Paradise Ridge.  The E-2 alignment would significantly impact some of the few remaining tracts of native Palouse Prairie and several critical wetlands.

PRDC disputes ITD’s assessment that the E-2 route would not destroy essential wetlands larger than the half-acre threshold of the Clean Water Act.  Smaller wetland sizes along E-2 would allow the project to proceed under a “nationwide” permit, with fewer restrictions and no further public input, while wetlands larger than a half-acre require the Corps to issue a more rigorous “individual” permit.  If PRDC can prove that some wetlands along the E-2 route each surpass a half-acre in size, ITD may be forced to stop commenced construction, re-apply to the Corps for an individual permit, and defend its preferred E-2 alternative as the “least environmentally damaging, practicable alternative” (LEDPA), which it is not.

After negotiations among opposing attorneys, the federal court let PRDC bring two wetlands scientists and a licensed surveyor into the E-2 right-of-way.  These experts found more than a half-acre of wetlands near the southern end of the project.  Subsequently, the ITD wetlands consultant sent back to the contested site confirmed the prior ITD determination.  Now, the Corps intends to study the area and decide whether the assessments of ITD, PRDC, or neither are correct.

On July 27, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), a member organization of the PRDC coalition, launched a crowdfunding site for PRDC, to help cover the work of attorneys and experts that could cost up to $20,000, during this expensive phase of current litigation.  To win this federal case and protect native Palouse Prairie on Paradise Ridge from Highway 95 expansion, PRDC and WIRT are relying on contributions from concerned citizens and the regional community.

Please support these earnest efforts by generously donating soon toward the $4,000 target of this publicly transparent crowdfunding campaign on the GiveButter platform, or by mailing a check to PRDC.  You can further assist WIRT and PRDC reaching this goal by posting this crowdfunding page and PRDC website and facebook page updates to social media, sharing issue information and articles with your friends and family, and encouraging participation in giving to PRDC.  Thanks in advance for your gracious contributions!

Protect Palouse Prairie Wetlands from Highway Expansion

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition website

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition facebook page

P.O. Box 8804, Moscow, ID 83843

Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Tribal Canoe Journey & Resistance to Gas Pipeline & Highway Expansion, Logging & Silica Mining, BC Pipeline Opposition, Last Hawaii Coal 8-3-22


The Wednesday, August 3, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections on funding requests for legal efforts to protect Palouse Prairie wetlands from highway expansion, Keystone XL pipeline owner plans to expand Northwest gas pipeline volumes and pump stations, north Idaho lakeside silica mining claims for sale, proposed massive public lands deforestation, obstructive road bridge replacement, a recent small wildfire, and climate concerned updates to a county comprehensive plan, the annual Kalispel and allied tribal canoe journey and powwow, dropped charges and indigenous resistance to a British Columbia gas pipeline, final coal shipments to a closing Hawaii power plant, and impending global human population collapse.  Broadcast for ten 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, frontline 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.

Sixth Kalispel Remember the Water Canoe Journey


Kalispel Canoe Journey 8-5-21On Tuesday, August 2, through Saturday, August 7, Kalispel and regional tribal members and the River Warrior Society are holding the annual Remember the Water canoe journey [1].  The paddle usually voyages between Qpqpe (Sandpoint, Idaho) and the Qlispe (Kalispel) Tribal Powwow Grounds, during the days before and beginning the yearly Kalispel Powwow and around the time of the Festival at Sandpoint music concerts.  Families and friends are again paddling over 35 miles in traditional, dugout, wooden and sturgeon nose canoes, through their home lands and waters in the tributaries, lake, and river of the Pend Oreille watershed.  While oil and gas pipeline expansions and fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails infrastructure and transportation impose and risk further harms to indigenous people and places across Turtle Island (North America), Native neighbors continue to revive, uphold, and practice their ancient cultures and sustainable ways, through admirable endeavors like this canoe journey and culminating powwow.

Paddle organizers encourage observers and participants to share this joyful cultural resurgence at various route locations.  Like during previous years, and as depicted in linked photos and articles about prior journeys, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists and area groups plan to welcome the paddlers at Sandpoint, during their arrival on Wednesday evening and departure on Thursday morning, August 3 and 4 [2-11].  The canoe journey tentatively begins with a Tuesday evening, August 2, meeting at the Kalispel Powwow Grounds, initially launches on the Pack River on Wednesday, August 4, and re-starts from Sandpoint City Beach Park on Thursday morning, August 5, ultimately reaching its destination of the Kalispel Village on Saturday, August 7.  Please see the enclosed itinerary, join WIRT in supporting this adventure, and contact Nathan Piengkham via facebook and/or respond to WIRT, for further information, logistics, and ways to help. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Erin Saylor on NW Gas Pipeline Expansion, Palouse Wetlands Protection, Hanford Nuclear Leaks, BC Pipeline Resistance, Climate Emergency Declaration, Congressional Staffers Protest 7-27-22


The Wednesday, July 27, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features Columbia Riverkeeper staff attorney Erin Saylor, talking about Keystone XL pipeline owner TC Energy’s plans to expand Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline volume and pump stations across north Idaho and the Northwest.  We also share news, music, and reflections on legal efforts and funding requests for Palouse Prairie wetlands protection from highway expansion, online workshops on leaking Hanford nuclear waste, pipeline resistance camp opportunities at a British Columbia indigenous center, conferences and actions urging a presidential declaration of climate emergency, and a Congressional staffers climate protest and arrests in a Washington DC office.  Broadcast for ten 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, frontline 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.

Climate Justice Forum: Extinction Rebellion on IPCC Mitigation Report, Idaho Gas Pipeline, Highway, & Train Expansions, Utah Oil Railroad Approval, Nevada Fatal Collision Charges, BC & Minnesota Pipeline Protester Cases 7-20-22


The Wednesday, July 20, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features an Extinction Rebellion United Kingdom discussion about the March 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on mitigation measures to reduce climate crisis causes and impacts.  We also share news, music, and reflections on opposition to north Idaho gas pipeline, highway, and fossil fuels train expansions, approval of a proposed Utah oil train railroad through Forest Service lands, Nevada charges in the fatal vehicle collision with indigenous filmmaker Myron Dewey, and British Columbia and northern Minnesota court cases of Native and allied protesters of gas and tar sands pipelines.  Broadcast for ten 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, frontline 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.

Climate Justice Forum: Extinction Rebellion on IPCC Climate Crisis Mitigation Report, Fossil Fuel Train & Pipeline Protests & Lawsuits, Supreme Court Emissions Control Decision 7-13-22


The Wednesday, July 13, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features an Extinction Rebellion United Kingdom discussion about the March 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on mitigation measures to reduce climate crisis causes and impacts.  We also share news, music, and reflections on Sandpoint and Spokane fossil fuels train and rail bridge protests and blockades, indigenous and allied water protector criminal charges and court cases in British Columbia and Minnesota, a U.S. Supreme Court decision on environmental agency authority over power plant emissions, and the July full moon.  Broadcast for ten 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, frontline 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.

Climate Justice Forum: Bruce Campbell & Oregonians on Lac-Megantic & Mosier Oil Train Disasters, Idaho Oil Train, Rail Bridge, & Highway Expansion Opposition & Donations 7-6-22


The Wednesday, July 6, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features author Bruce Campbell discussing the July 6, 2013, Lac-Megantic, Quebec, runaway train disaster and unsafe oil-by-rail, and the Mosier, Oregon, mayor, residents, and conservationists talking about the June 3, 2016, fiery oil train derailment in their Columbia River community.  We also share news, music, and reflections on north Idaho oil train protests, a train watch workshop, and environmental coalition funding requests and highway expansion opposition.  Broadcast for ten 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, frontline 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.