Spokane Community GTN Xpress Teach-In


Spokane Community GTN Xpress Teach-In BannerOn Wednesday evening, April 12, in Spokane, Washington, faith, spiritual, health, and environmental advocates will lead a community gathering, teach-in, and procession in opposition to the proposed Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Xpress fracked gas pipeline expansion [1].  The 62-year-old GTN pipeline runs under the Spokane River and through Liberty Lake, Spokane Valley, and other parts of Spokane County [2, 3].  Canadian company TC Energy, owner of the leaking Keystone and rejected Keystone XL tar sands pipelines, and its subsidiary GTN threaten to pump up to 150 million cubic feet of additional methane gas per day through the GTN pipeline that crosses north Idaho, eastern Washington, and central Oregon.

While communities throughout the Northwest shift away from coal, oil, and “natural” gas, fossil fuel companies like TC Energy have adopted a new tactic: bolstering the capacity of aging pipelines.  A broad, regional, Stop GTN Xpress coalition, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, three West Coast state attorneys general, and other concerned Northwesterners are resisting this gas pipeline and compressor station expansion.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could vote for or against granting project approval as early as April 20.  The GTN Xpress pipeline expansion further risks exposing local, Spokane area, and north Idaho communities to both the dangers and damages of ruptured pipeline explosions, fires, and pollution and the increased carbon and greenhouse gas emissions that are causing more severe storms, droughts, wildfires, and floods [4-6].

The gathering and teach-in at 6:30 pm Pacific time on April 12, at Salem Lutheran Church, 1428 West Broadway Avenue in Spokane, will feature comments from members of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light (WAIPL), Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR), and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), among other organizations [7-9].  They will offer opportunities to learn about GTN Xpress and its potential impacts on public and environmental health and safety.  After an interactive presentation with speakers, event organizers invite participants to join a procession with signs and banners, walking together several blocks to the banks of the Spokane River, where faith leaders will share a brief group prayer and photograph the demonstration.

To access further information and attend, please contact coordinating groups and visit their websites and RSVP through the event description link [10]. Continue reading

GTN Xpress Pipeline Protests Meetings & Winter Updates


Protests Planning Meetings

While TC Energy desperately seeks to offload its stranded Canadian gas assets on the Northwest with the GTN Xpress expansion project proposed for the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline, and pits elected Idaho politicians against their western Democrat neighbors, dozens of nonprofit organizations are coordinating authentic, public opposition to GTN Xpress.  These community groups, including Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), assert that the project is inconsistent with regional efforts to transition away from reliance on polluting, planet-warming fossil fuels.  Resistance to GTN Xpress continues to grow, as thousands of Northwest residents work together to demand that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deny this risky plan and responsibly uphold regionally legislated goals for diminishing use of climate-changing, fracked gas.  With a final FERC decision on the project expected as early as March 16 (postponed from the commission’s third Thursday, monthly meeting on February 16), we again invite you and your friends, family, and colleagues to join us in active rejection of this unnecessary fossil fuels invasion of the Northwest, as TC Energy and its subsidiary GTN scheme to increase the volume and pressure in their 62-year-old pipeline, just like TC Energy did in the decade-old Keystone tar sands pipeline, before it burst in Kansas on December 7, 2022.

In preparation for a possible March 16, FERC decision, WIRT and allies in three cities are holding in-person planning meetings to organize the next pipeline protests with eager activists across the inland Northwest.  We hope that you will participate in these gatherings and encourage your trusted comrades to attend.

* Saturday, March 4, at 3 pm at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho

* Sunday, March 5, at 1 pm at the Community Building, 35 West Main Street in Spokane, Washington

* Monday, March 6, at 7 pm at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, Idaho

For further information, please see and share the linked coalition videos about GTN Xpress resistance and the February 13 People’s Hearing, send your written comments sharing your concerns about GTN Xpress (Docket CP22-2-000) to FERC soon, peruse the enclosed and linked information promised with the People’s Hearing announcement and covering four months of campaign activity from mid-November 2022 until mid-February 2023, contact WIRT with your questions and suggestions, and expect further updates about upcoming, responsively scheduled protests and other urgent actions.  WIRT and partner groups appreciate your work and input on this crucial issue that requires even more public participation, especially in the environmental and political sacrifice zones of Idaho.

Stop GTN Xpress, January 30, 2023 Rogue Climate

People’s Hearing to Stop GTN Xpress, February 14, 2023 350PDX

How to File a Comment, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

FERC Online: Web Applications, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Pipeline Impacts & Winter Updates Continue reading

People’s Hearing on GTN Xpress


GTN Xpress People's Hearing Flyer

Starting at 5 pm Pacific time and 6 pm Mountain time on Monday evening, February 13, a Northwest coalition of nonprofit organizations, including 350 Deschutes, 350 PDX, Columbia Riverkeeper, Rogue Climate, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), will host a People’s Hearing on Canadian company TC Energy’s proposal to expand fracked “natural” gas exported through the aging Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline and compressor stations that span north Idaho, eastern Washington, and central Oregon.  This hybrid town hall, convened online and in-person at the Gardenia Center (400 Church Street in Sandpoint, Idaho) and at the Rogue Climate office (205 North Phoenix Road, Suite G, Phoenix, Oregon), offers participants opportunities to learn about the potential impacts of the GTN Xpress expansion project and to provide testimony recorded and sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the project docket.

Among concerned, regional community members and environmental and climate advocates sharing their insights and stories, the People’s Hearing on GTN Xpress will feature these key speakers:

* U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon

* Audrey Leonard, staff attorney of Columbia Riverkeeper

* Peter McCartney, climate campaigner of Wilderness Committee

* Dr. Annemarie Dooley, physician and board member of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

* Naghmana Sherazi, activist and board member of Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light

Please RSVP and register to join this virtual conference at bit.ly/peopleshearing_gtn and/or gather at the Gardenia Center or Rogue Climate office and contact WIRT for further information [1].  Timely input from citizens and local elected officials to FERC before its possible decision on this project on Thursday, March 16, is crucial to halting the GTN Xpress fossil fuels onslaught [2].  Along with commenting and/or testifying to FERC, help support this resistance by amplifying a new video recently launched by the grassroots coalition, through social media posts email messages, and other methods [3].  Also reach out to any of the partner groups, if your organization is interested in joining the fight to #StopGTNXpress.  Within the next few days, WIRT will add to this post and send further descriptions of pipeline expansion impacts and issue updates, to assist involvement in this campaign. Continue reading

Oppose Collaborative Deforestation around Lake Pend Oreille!


The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USFS) and compromised, north Idaho Big Greens involved in the Panhandle Forest “Collaborative” have agreed to massive deforestation of steep mountains on the remote, wilder, east side of Lake Pend Oreille, promoted as “restoration” projects to reduce wildfires and insect and disease outbreaks [1, 2].  Over the next few years, the Sandpoint Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF) and timber companies plan to excessively build roads and log over 175,000 acres of Lake Pend Oreille slopes, which would degrade water and air quality, wildlife habitat, protected areas, and recreational opportunities.  A complex of three contiguous logging projects, the 57,000-acre Buckskin Saddle, 43,000-acre Chloride Gold, and 43,500-acre Honey Badger, extends 45 miles from the Clark Fork River on the north, throughout eastern lake forests, and south to the Hayden Lake area.  Government proposals and decisions on these unnecessary forays into carbon-sequestering forests overlap temporally, while the middle Chloride Gold project also overlaps spatially with the area of the Kaniksu Winter Recreation environmental assessment (EA).  These USFS overlaps are called “stacking National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents,” an illegal rush and overburden of public scrutiny.

Located to the south of federal agency-finalized Buckskin Saddle project destruction, currently stalled by Johnson Creek bridge replacement near the Clark Fork River delta between September 2022 and May 2023, and potential litigation by grassroots groups, the Chloride Gold (CG) project proposes to conduct “vegetation management,” “hazardous fuels reduction,” and other activities to “manage invasive plants, roads, trails, recreation, wildlife habitat, and improve fish passage under roads … [and] overall landscape resiliency to disturbances” [2-6].  Pre-scoping ideas suggested that the USFS planned to push approximately 23.8 miles of new, “temporary” road construction and over 12 square miles of forest “regeneration” cuts in the area, which would remove the vast majority of trees in over 17,000 acres (26.6 square miles), through logging, road building, and controlled burning, even in inventoried roadless areas (IRAs).  According to the December 1, 2022, Chloride Gold scoping notice signed by Sandpoint District ranger Jessie Berner, over 22,500 acres would undergo “vegetation treatments” including large clearcuts and prescribed burns.  The scoping letter requests public review and comments by Monday, January 16, 2023, for USFS consideration in drafting only an environmental assessment (EA), not the full environmental impact statement (EIS) required and necessary for the CG onslaught.

On September 27, 2022, in preparation for a public presentation and field trip refuting this logging project, provided by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) in spring or summer 2023, Northern Rockies wildlands and wildlife activist and GIS researcher Paul Sieracki and two WIRT board members visited the Chloride Gold logging project area [7].  With precise maps in hand while exploring CG forests, these citizen monitors found a highly impacted landscape, crossed by a spaghetti network of roads and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and motorcycle trails, devastated by huge logged areas, and immersed in road dust and subsequent lake haze.  They documented and publicly offered their observations with photographs and descriptions, noting several situations in which further CG ravages could severely disturb flora, fauna, and roadless areas [7].  For the Wednesday, January 11, 2023, Climate Justice Forum, weekly radio program produced by WIRT and recorded and posted on the WIRT website, Paul graciously expounded on his knowledge of the probable damages of the lakeside Chloride Gold scheme [8].  WIRT shares a summary of these insights in the following sections intended to further inform and assist public input resisting this CG cause of regional climate chaos. Continue reading

Stop Uinta Basin Railway Solidarity Action


Stop Uinta Basin Railway Solidarity Action FlyerWild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and climate activists throughout the West are organizing solidarity protests of oil trains and infrastructure, for a day of action against the Uinta Basin Railway (UBR), supporting campaigns against the Utah oil-by-rail scheme and in north Idaho, denouncing completion of BNSF Railway’s second, almost mile-long, rail bridge across the state’s largest, deepest lake: mountainous Lake Pend Oreille.  Utah and Colorado comrades are calling for community-led actions on Saturday, December 10, 2022, to show that concerned citizens object to the devastating UBR project, and to pressure federal lawmakers, state representatives, and local governments to prevent building of the Uinta Basin Railway.  They ask everyone to explore the #StopUintaBasinRailway action toolkit with information about the UBR and action coordination, sign a letter to Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack, demanding that he revoke the U.S. Forest Service permit for the railway, participate in actions happening in a dozen locations, register to join a remote phone bank on Tuesday, December 13, at 10 am Pacific time, and tell UBR opponents that you are interested in assisting this campaign [1-2].

To involve local communities across the United States in advocating against UBR permits and their potential disasters for climate and environmental justice, Colorado groups held a public, online, action training on November 10 [3].  Organizers with years of experience shared ideas about planning effective actions and helped participants learn about the UBR oil trains that would threaten lives and livelihoods along rail routes from Utah to Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, and around the southern Northwest, Union Pacific Railroad (UP) line across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon to western Washington.

Most of WIRT and allied resistance to behemoth oil and coal train shipments has successfully focused on dozens of BNSF Railway fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails routes from the Great Plains to the West Coast.  We rarely demonstrate against Union Pacific, except while decrying its few weekly, Northwest, tar sands trains and myriad derailments, including the Mosier, Oregon, oil train spill and fire in June 2016.  Based on our experiences of BNSF’s ongoing malfeasance, WIRT encouraged and sent extensive comments on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in 2021, opposing the Uinta Basin Railway, and talked about the issue during recent years on our weekly, Climate Justice Forum, radio program [4].  WIRT remains steadfast in our thorough monitoring, reporting, and protesting of daily, BNSF, Bakken crude oil trains across north Idaho, as we gratefully accept dedicated co-workers’ invitations to alert our regional neighbors to the impending dangers and direct action opportunities of Utah oil transport across the Northwest.

Uinta Basin & BNSF Railways Protest

As part of countless demonstrations against the fossil fuel causes of the climate crisis and their insidious pollution, risks, and impacts on north Idaho and Northwest rail line communities, we plan to protest both the proposed Uinta Basin Railway oil trains and tracks and the BNSF Railway expansion of its industrial infrastructure into Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint, with three second rail bridges and two miles of doubled main line.  Please dress for warmth and dryness, bring your signs and banners, voices and drums, friends and family, and joy and courage, and join WIRT and inland Northwest activists for the Stop Uinta Basin Railway Solidarity Action at 12 noon on Saturday, December 10, at the Serenity Lee trailhead near the East Superior Street and Highway 95 intersection and/or on the public, pedestrian, and bike path to Dog Beach Park in Sandpoint, Idaho.  WIRT will provide on-site action advice and chants and pizza for appreciated participants after the gathering.  Respond in advance with your questions and suggestions, share this event information and flyer among your associates and contacts, and see previous and upcoming, website- and facebook-posted, WIRT newsletters and alerts, for further updates on these issues.

Uinta Basin Railway Opposition Continue reading

November 17-18 GTN Xpress Action, WIRT Talk, & FEIS Release


Stop GTN Xpress Phone ZapGTN Xpress & Idaho & Northwest Stakeholders

Canadian energy company TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), owner of the notorious Keystone and Keystone XL tar sands pipelines and the Coastal GasLink line under contested construction through unceded, indigenous, Wet’suwet’en territories in British Columbia (B.C.), has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to increase the “natural” gas pipeline volumes and pressures of three compressor stations along its Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) pipeline, with the GTN Xpress expansion project from B.C. through north Idaho, eastern Washington, and central Oregon.  The 61-year-old, potentially explosive GTN pipeline passes under Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s (WIRT) fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails frontline community and waters around Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, through several rural sacrifice zones, and below the Spokane, Washington, metropolitan area.  One of the GTN compressor stations planned for upgrades stands near dozens of unaware residences and a popular amusement park full of hundreds of visitors in Athol, Idaho [1].

TC Energy and partner fossil fuel corporations propose to increase the capacity for dangerous methane gas in the existing, 1,354-mile GTN pipeline by 150 million cubic feet per day, pushing more gas into the Northwest and locking communities into expensive fossil fuel energy for decades.  If approved by FERC, the GTN Xpress expansion would cause continued fracking in tribal lands in Canada and threaten and harm the health and safety of rural, low-income communities living and working along the pipeline route.  Prone to accidents like leaks, fires, and explosions, the aging infrastructure of pipelines and compressor stations risks exposing nearby residents to cancer-causing pollutants.

Over the last few decades, Northwest citizens have defeated fossil fuels pipelines, processing plants, and export terminals, and organized to pass local and state climate laws, while experiencing record droughts, wildfires, storms, floods, and other climate change impacts.  But sneakier pipeline expansions require different government processes and regulations than new pipeline construction, even though GTN Xpress would exacerbate the greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the climate crisis contributing to these conditions.  Supplying enough gas to serve 1.2 million households each day, GTN Xpress would contradict Oregon and Washington state policy commitments to reduce climate pollution and end dependence on climate-wrecking fossil fuels.

During summer 2022, over 1,300 people petitioned FERC to deny TC Energy’s plans; Columbia River tribes voiced their resistance; a broad, emerging coalition of Northwest community groups commented against the project; and the attorneys general of California, Oregon, and Washington told FERC that they oppose GTN Xpress, because it clearly conflicts with state and federal climate goals.  With FERC expected to release the scheme’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) on November 18, 2022, and to issue an ultimate decision in February 2023, Northwesterners need to hold FERC accountable, ask that the agency address valid climate, public health, and environmental concerns raised across the region, and demand that FERC reject the GTN Xpress project.

Since April 2022, the WIRT climate activist collective has been informing, networking, and supporting impacted, indigenous, and grassroots groups and individuals and state, county, and city, elected and agency officials about GTN Xpress, along the north Idaho and eastern Washington GTN pipeline corridor and in southern Idaho, where Intermountain Gas customers would receive over half of the additional GTN Xpress methane gas from a Stanfield, Oregon, compressor station diversion.  We have provided extensive comments to FERC on behalf of WIRT’s 3,200-plus contacts, and communicated and urged opposition to the GTN Xpress gas pipeline expansion via social media, email, website, and other online resources, and through WIRT’s weekly, eleven-years-broadcast, community radio program [2].  WIRT plans to continue to raise resistance to this Canadian stranded gas asset invasion of the Northwest, by encouraging citizen involvement in public processes and alternative methods of GTN Xpress rejection.

Stop GTN Xpress Week of Actions Report Continue reading

Stop GTN Xpress Week of Actions


Stop GTN Xpress Week of Actions FlyerRegional organizations and grassroots activists of 350 Spokane, Idaho Chapter Sierra Club, Palouse Extinction Rebellion, Rogue Climate, Veterans for Peace Spokane Chapter 35, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) request your participation and support of public protests of three corporations pushing the dangerous Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Xpress pipeline expansion project.  We are collectively co-hosting these actions in solidarity with sovereign Wet’suwet’en land defenders and water protectors opposing Coastal GasLink pipeline construction through their unceded, indigenous territories in British Columbia, Canada.  Allied groups are planning peaceful, safe, and effective citizen pickets on nearby public walkways outside fossil fuel company offices during early November, to attract a broad range of involvement and responses from the public, issue coalition groups, and media.  Several partner organizations are graciously offering travel funds and providing Stop GTN Xpress/Coastal GasLink logo designs, T-shirts, signs, banners, and other equipment.  Volunteer activists are eager to engage you in resistance to both Northwest gas pipelines owned by TC Energy, notorious for its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.  Please share this event announcement and flyer and other campaign outreach materials via text, social media, email, and website, invite and bring your friends, family, and protest signs, create props and coordinate carpools and various logistics, and join us at one or all of these lively demonstrations!

Tuesday, November 1, 4 pm PDT at TC Energy, 201 West North River Drive, Suite 505, Spokane, Washington: Meet on the north path along the Spokane River, across from Riverfront Park and between Washington and Division streets

Wednesday, November 2, 4 pm PDT at Cascade Natural Gas, 8113 West Grandridge Boulevard, Kennewick, Washington: Gather on the south sidewalk along Grandridge Boulevard

Friday, November 4, 4 pm MDT at Intermountain Gas, 555 South Cole Road, Boise, Idaho: Converge on the west Cole Road walkway near the Farmers Lateral Canal

Resist plans by TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) and regional “natural” gas utilities to increase methane gas volumes by 150 million (and eventually, incrementally 250 million) cubic feet per day and upgrade the capacity of three compressor stations of the 1,354-mile GTN pipeline that crosses from British Columbia, through north Idaho, eastern Washington, and central Oregon, to California [1, 2].  The 61-year-old, potentially explosive, climate-wrecking gas pipeline is dangerously located under the Spokane, Washington, metropolitan area and below the Schweitzer ski resort parking lot and city of Sandpoint, Idaho.  The Athol, Idaho, pump station proposed for expansion stands only two miles from the popular Silverwood Theme Park, full of hundreds of visitors on precarious rides during spring, summer, and fall days.

GTN has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to permit the GTN Xpress expansion project.  But controversy has continued to grow during and since the too-brief comment period on FERC’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that closed on August 22, despite a timely letter from twenty mostly Oregon groups and Wild Idaho Rising Tide, requesting that FERC provide an additional 30 days for the public to review and evaluate the document [3].  As thousands of people across the Northwest rise to oppose GTN Xpress, FERC has received over 1,300 oppositional petition signatures and extensive, informative remarks from concerned citizens, environmental and climate groups, and tribal, state, and federal government officials, denouncing draft EIS deficiencies and the fracked gas pipeline expansion’s significant contributions to worsening climate change, while the Northwest transitions off fossil fuels toward more sustainable, renewable energy sources [2, 4, 5].

Attempting to foist stranded Canadian gas assets on the Northwest, likely aware of its gradually failing product prospects, TC Energy expects to quickly, stealthily secure GTN Xpress approval by FERC and other government regulatory agencies.  It has strategically enlisted contracted, third-party, environmental reviewers with undisclosed conflicts of interests as consulting firms simultaneously working with TC Energy, and has expanded its other pipeline volumes, instead of building new infrastructure that attracts justified direct actions from frontline fossil fuels fighters [6, 7].  With anticipated release of a final EIS on November 18, postponed from October 14, and a pending conclusive FERC decision on GTN Xpress in February 2023, impacted residents and concerned communities must act swiftly to protect the inland Northwest from this proposal [8]. Continue reading

Seventh Panhandle Paddle

Seventh Panhandle Paddle Flyer

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allied activists, friends, and supporters heartily welcome your participation in the upcoming, Seventh Panhandle Paddle weekend of opportunities to discuss, train for, and stage resistance to the fossil fuels and railroad industry degraders of human rights, environmental health, and the global climate.  Interior Northwest residents are coordinating and co-hosting annual activities in Sandpoint, Idaho, to unite in opposition to regional coal, oil, and tar sands trains, terminals, and derailments and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway’s almost complete track and bridge construction across downtown Sandpoint, Sand Creek, and Lake Pend Oreille.  Amid the intensifying situations of north Idaho railroad expansion, federal and media criminalization of dissenters, and COVID-19 health and economic disasters during the last two-plus years, we are reaching out to you, our regional network comrades, to share direct action skills and invite you to join with rail line communities, to protest fossil-fueled climate change via these free events on Thursday through Sunday, September 22 to 25.  We would appreciate your involvement in the talk, workshop, and paddle, your RSVP of your intentions for spots in kayaks, canoes, and carpools, and your assistance with distributing this event description and printing and posting the color, PDF version of the WIRT website-linked Seventh Panhandle Paddle Flyer.

#No2ndBridge Talk

6 to 8 pm Thursday, September 22

Gardenia Center, Sandpoint

At this informal discussion, participants can exchange issue information, expand knowledge, and brainstorm strategies and tactics for creatively engaging and catalyzing further community resistance and regulatory and legal recourse to BNSF’s Sandpoint Junction Connector project and railroad infrastructure, pollution, and risks in the Lake Pend Oreille area and beyond, which activists have denounced and challenged during each of the Panhandle Paddles [1-5].  Please bring ideas about campaign organizing and railroad monitoring and protesting, and gather at 6 pm on Thursday, September 22, at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint.  During and after the Thursday and Saturday meetings, we plan to broaden coalitions and camaraderie among activists, while continuing conversations and enjoying music outside nearby pubs.

Direct Action Training

2 to 5 pm Saturday, September 24

Gardenia Center, Sandpoint

Regional climate and environmental activists and water protectors will provide several, interactive, training workshops, through talks and videos sharing frontline skills, stories, and insights.  Advocating grassroots, direct actions at the sites of environmental destruction, more than participation in expensive, ineffective, legal systems and other government processes, trainers will offer their expertise through three one-hour presentation and practice sessions on topics such as knowing your rights, strategizing and tactical thinking, affinity group dynamics, target selection and scouting, action design, roles, and documentation, media communications, police interactions, de-escalation, security, safety, and self-defense,  and jail solidarity.  The number, topics, and lengths of training sessions have varied over the years, chosen by and adapted to rural participants and supporting various ecological and social justice movements within current, U.S., political contexts.  Prior speakers have given advice on road and railroad actions, digital security, pipeline blockades, grand jury resistance, know-your-rights, and the previously mentioned subjects.  Organizers holding these trainings anticipate reciprocally learning and strengthening the volunteer activism gaining momentum in the Idaho Panhandle.  We encourage everyone who plans to attend to RSVP in advance and request particular topics and further logistical information.  Join WIRT and guests anytime between 2 and 5 pm on Saturday, September 24, at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint.

Panhandle Paddle

10 am to 12 pm Sunday, September 25

City and Dog Beach Parks, Sandpoint

For a seventh year, WIRT and allied activists are bringing their boats, bodies, and bravery to two locations, for on- and off-shore protests of Northwest coal, oil, and tar sands trains, terminals, and derailments and north Idaho, railroad bridge and track expansion.  To accommodate participants who are renting single or double kayaks, paddleboards, or other manual watercraft from Sandpoint businesses that open at 9 am, activists are meeting an hour later, at 10 am on Sunday, September 25.  Near the south boat ramp at City Beach Park in Sandpoint, we will launch a flotilla on Lake Pend Oreille, departing after participants arrive by land and water, to voyage around present and proposed railroad bridge sites.  By about 11 am on Sunday, another rally will converge after paddlers reach Dog Beach Park south of Sandpoint.  Bring large, attractive banners and signs, visible to observers at great distances, and respond to WIRT with your boat rental intentions and mobility needs, so we can reserve and cover the costs of watercraft, and arrange transportation for folks who cannot walk to Dog Beach Park. Continue reading

Stop North Idaho’s Keystone XL Pipeline!


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

Support WIRT Crowdfunding for PRDC!


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