Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Missoula 1-24-14

At 12:30 am on Friday morning, January 24, a convoy of pilot and flagger vehicles, state, county, and city police escorts, and a 804,000-pound transport of tar sands mining equipment hauled by Portland, Oregon area-based Omega Morgan hesitantly rolled down Reserve Street in Missoula, Montana, and ground to a halt.  For a third night, about sixty mostly indigenous people from Missoula, Butte, Helena, and all over Montana and Canada sprang from the sidewalk near Central Avenue and filled the five-lane width of Reserve Street with singing, drumming, and round dancing.  Police respectfully backed off and stood by, letting the ceremony symbolizing solidarity and friendship continue for 10 to 15 minutes, while dozens of the vehicles and workers facilitating ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos idled all around the beautiful circle.  Together with the spirits of the Earth, ancestors, and elders, the strong prayers and actions of the Salish, Cree, Anishinabe, Blackfeet, and Cheyenne people who participated in person or from afar impressed everyone who heard the songs and watched the round dance.  A handful of drummers and singers – Amanda, Charles, Lionel, Q.J., and others – led two rounds of dancing around them, before the joyous blockaders slowly vacated the street.

As police encouraged the protesters to move toward the sidewalk, Charles stepped forward toward the convoy vehicles and police to speak for a few moments.  Three heroic grandmothers and friends, Claudia Brown, Gail Gilman, and Carol Marsh, stayed behind and sat in the road.  Police cited and released Gail and Carol, and arrested, booked, and released Claudia on bail, all on charges of disorderly conduct.  They had also arrested Carol on Tuesday night, when she bravely sat down in front of a megaload, blocking its path.  As the tar sands megaload convoy resumed progress toward the most destructive and expensive, fossil fuel extraction project on Earth, a young Native woman smudged its passage, and drumming, singing, and praying blessed the cool night air with hope that the injustices, devastation, and resulting climate change of tar sands exploitation will soon stop.  After Reserve Street cleared, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) videotaped Missoula city police issuing citations to two of the grandmothers, and interviewed Carol and Gail, to discern and share their motivations for responsibly blockading tar sands supply shipments.  Their courageous acts mark almost four years of similar on-the-ground resistance staged by tribal, climate, and conservation activists in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington since April 2010. Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Missoula 1-23-14


A smaller and faster mystery megaload, transported by Action Specialized of Lynden, Washington, on the same route as the Omega Morgan-hauled loads, moved on Wednesday night, January 22-23, from Lolo through Missoula to the Bonner Town Pump Truck Plaza by early Thursday morning.*  Because it is also headed to Alberta to expand tar sands mining, eight brave protesters, including three drummers and two children, staged an action to temporarily halt the destruction of boreal forests and bogs and indigenous life ways and health that this ‘mini-megaload’ will impose.  With only one Missoula police car in sight and both lanes of Reserve Street open to regular traffic, the tribal and climate activists stopped vehicles with the street light for the Reserve Street crosswalk between Central and Kent Streets, near C.S. Porter Middle School.  At about 12:30 am, the megaload convoy was traveling slightly slower than the normal speed of about 40 miles per hour, as the front pilot vehicles paused and the following oversize transport without highway patrol escorts slowed down almost to a stop.  Instead of dangerously spreading across the five-lane street to block all traffic, the eight protesters prepared to round dance on one side of the road.  Suddenly, the evaporator, about a third of the size of the Omega Morgan cargoes, drove around the blockade into the oncoming traffic lanes!  Police cars with flashing lights passed after the overlegal load and support vehicles, skirting the swiftly unfolding scene where no one was injured or arrested.

* Missoula Woman Arrested for Blocking Megaload; Equipment Reaches Bonner (January 22 Missoulian)

Tuesday to Thursday Missoula Megaload Blockades, Round Dances, and Arrests

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Missoula 1-22-14 (January 22 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

Montana, Idaho, and Washington tribal and climate activists are meeting again for two more Missoula tar sands megaload protests at the Rosauers at Reserve and South Streets, at 12 midnight on Wednesday/Thursday, January 22-23, and Thursday/Friday, January 23-24!


Montana Indian Peoples Action, along with Blue Skies Campaign, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, Spokane Rising Tide, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, protested, prayed, and round-danced against a “megaload,” a colossal piece of tar sands processing equipment that Omega Morgan hauled on Reserve Street through Missoula, Montana, on Wednesday morning, January 22 [1-4].  Bringing together residents of Missoula and other communities in Montana, Idaho, and Washington affected by tar sands transportation projects, the approximately 50 protesters stood in solidarity with the Nez Perce and Shoshone-Bannock tribes in Idaho, the Confederated Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes in Oregon, and especially the First Nations people in Canada, who oppose tar sands mining and its pollution and devastation of their ancestral homelands in present-day Alberta.

Exploitation of bitumen oil deposits drives the largest, most environmentally destructive, industrial operation on Earth.  The groups involved in Wednesday’s protest of Omega Morgan-hauled evaporators and heat exchangers, used in-situ/steam assisted gravity drainage extraction of tar sands, expressed their deep concerns about the impacts of tar sands development on global climate, air and water quality, and human, wildlife, and ecosystem health.  Like ordinary citizens throughout North America who prefer clean, sustainable energy, not dirty fossil fuel production, they can no longer ignore the irreversible harms imposed by the oil, gas, coal, and tar sands industries. Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Timmerman Junction 1-7-14

At 10 pm on Tuesday evening, January 7, at the Timmerman Junction of U.S. Highway 20 and Idaho Highway 75, concerned citizens and activists gathered to protest the second Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload traversing the Wood River Valley.  A few nights earlier, on Saturday/Sunday, January 4-5, this in-situ mining equipment on an Emmert trailer entered southwest Idaho near Homedale, after its Port of Umatilla, Oregon launch two weeks earlier.  On Sunday evening, January 5, while the second oversize load snuck through a missed second protest in Marsing, the first transport finally crossed southern Idaho, through a crowd of 100 onlookers in Salmon, Idaho.  But it soon stalled at U.S. Highway 93 milepost 341 north of Gibbonsville, about ten miles below Lost Trail Pass and the state border, awaiting Montana Department of Transportation evaluation of its recently submitted travel plan, an agency-issued transportation permit, and amenable weather forecasts and conditions [1].  On Monday night, January 6, the second shipment traveled from the junction of Idaho Highways 51 and 78, through Hammett, west on Interstate 84 to Exit 95, and through Occupy Boise/Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) protesting and monitoring activities near Mountain Home [2, 3].  It continued through mountainous Elmore County terrain on U.S. Highway 20 to milepost 126, further east than the previous Cat Creek Summit megaload layover spot. Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14

Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Passage and Protest, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Monitors Following an Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Convoy, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Monitors Blocked by an Oncoming Omega Morgan Tar Sands Megaload Convoy, Mountain Home, Idaho 1-7-14

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Mountain Home 1-7-14 (Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)

Despite thorough searches among various regional media sources, a megaload news black-out seemed to have occurred on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 and 5, while 350 Idaho, Occupy Boise, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) climate activists and concerned Wood River Valley and Boise area community members shared successful slide show presentations, a documentary film, and discussions about Alberta tar sands exploitation, regional megaload transports, and direct action tactics and strategies [1].  These tar sands opponents belatedly learned of Omega Morgan transport movement between Ironside, Oregon, and Hammett, Idaho, as they anticipated another protest in Marsing, Idaho, on Monday night, January 6 [2].  However, the previous three-night journey of the first megaload apparently required only two nights of the second transport, which quietly and unexpectedly entered Idaho on Sunday morning, January 5, and crossed Marsing on Sunday night, perhaps purposely avoiding the protests so dramatically publicized during the first incursion [3, 4, 5]. Continue reading

WIRT Scouting the Port of Wilma 10-20-13

On Sunday afternoon, October 20, three Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists drove by the Port of Wilma, across the Snake River from Clarkston, Washington, where megaload hauler Omega Morgan has leased and secured a yard and warehouse, to store, disassemble, and stage evaporators transported whole up Highway 12 or in pieces up Highway 95 to Alberta tar sands steam assisted gravity drainage mining operations.

(WIRT video)

Vietnam-Made Liquid Full Absorber 10-20-13

On Sunday afternoon, October 20, on the way to scout the Port of Wilma, three Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists spotted a megaload with an oversized load banner and Alberta license plates (4MMO-31).  The liquid full absorber manufactured by Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam, on Trail King trailers licensed in Alberta and provided by R & D Trailer Rentals, parked facing downhill (southbound) at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) weigh station on the top of the Highway 95 Lewiston grade.  The cylindrical module, used to process natural gas or other fossil fuels, measures 15.38 feet wide, 14.64 feet high, and 38.71 to 49.21 feet long, with a gross weight of 64,174 pounds.  WIRT documented the equipment specifications with videos and photos.

Nez Perce tribal activists Alicia and Mary Jane Oatman were traveling west on U.S. Highway 12 near Greer, during daylight hours on Monday, October 21, when they saw this oversized load with Alberta license plates speeding east with two pilot cars, wide enough to take up a lane and a half.  As soon as they reached a cell phone service area, they called their mother, Judy Oatman, to ask if she could videotape the mini-megaload’s passage and get its permit information.  Judy confronted the Canada-bound transport by staging a perpendicular, solo vehicle blockade, to briefly stop the Vietnam-made absorber crossing her mother’s land.  She questioned the transport crew and put them on notice that they were trespassing illegally through Nez Perce lands.  They drove around her truck, probably called the cops, and proceeded through Kamiah and over the Clearwater River bridge.  Judy took two separate videos with good footage and continued monitoring the sneaky big corporations’ obviously dangerous load, as it probably headed to Alberta to refine natural gas used to extract and process tar sands. Continue reading

Omega Morgan Megaloads at Nez Perce Border, August 5-6, 2013

The Nez Perce Tribe asserts its sovereignty, stopping a gigantic, oversize General Electric load en route to Canadian tar sands operations at its reservation border for about two hours.  Neither the tribe nor the U.S. Forest Service have approved these Omega Morgan-hauled loads to travel through Nez Perce land, the Clearwater/Lochsa Wild and Scenic River Corridor, or the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, across most of U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho.  Idaho State Police escorts eventually impose their force to let the megaload pass.

(All videos provided by Zachary Johnson)

First part, the initial half-hour of the August 5-6 Nez Perce and allies’ megaload blockade

Second part, from 30 to 50 minutes into the August 5-6 Nez Perce and allies’ megaload blockade

Continue reading

Idaho Anti-Fracking Protest Attracts Police Involvement, No Arrests Occur

Eight embedded videos of footage of the Friday, June 7, Stop the Frack Attack, Idaho! protest at the Idaho Department of Lands office in Boise, filmed and provided by Mark Reinhardt

This is Idaho Calling

Mark Reinhardt- Boise Idaho

Within the afternoon hour, protestors associated with the activist group, “Idaho Wild Rising Tide”. Were held in the later afternoon hours outside the Idaho Department of Lands in response to a Gas Well lease currently being planned for the Payette Idaho area.

According to the mandate of the Idaho Department of Lands, posted on the agencies website, their mandate states, “The Idaho Department of Lands carries out the daily management of 2.4 million acres of state endowment trust land, generating income for the beneficiaries a number of ways; the sale of timber; leases for grazing, farming, conservation, commercial building, recreational home site, and mining; and earnings from invested funds.”

During, the exchange between the activist group, and Tom Schultz Director of the Lands Department. The activists had asked why there wasn’t further notification. The Director had stated during this exchange that public comment is currently…

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