Moscow & Sandpoint Host Tar Sands Pipeline Valve Turners


Tar Sands Pipeline Valve Turners: Civil Disobedience

Featuring Leonard Higgins in person and Emily Johnston, Michael Foster, and Ken Ward via Skype

Saturday, December 3, 12 pm to 2 pm, in Eichardt’s Pub upstairs room, 212 Cedar Street, Sandpoint, Idaho

Sunday, December 4, 12 pm to 2 pm, in the 1912 Center Fiske Room, 412 E. Third Street, Moscow, Idaho

Public forums and fundraisers co-hosted by #ShutItDown – Climate Direct Action and Wild Idaho Rising Tide

$10 suggested donation for the #ShutItDown legal defense fund

All ages of participants and free admission are welcome.

On October 11, 2016, five brave climate organizers successfully closed the manual, emergency valves of five pipelines carrying oil from the Canadian tar sands into the northern United States [1, 2].  Their unprecedented acts of nonviolent direct action to avert climate cataclysm shut down 15 percent of U.S. crude oil imports for nearly a day.

Emily Johnston, age 50, and retired attorney Annette Klapstein, 64, each interrupted Enbridge’s Lines 4 and 67 pipelines in Leonard, Minnesota.  Michael Foster, 52, shut down TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline in Walhalla, North Dakota.  Leonard Higgins, 64, who locked down to a tar sands megaload in Umatilla in December 2013, halted the flow of Spectra Energy’s Express pipeline at Coal Banks Landing near Great Falls, Montana.  Ken Ward, 59, a Climate Disobedience Center and #ShutItDown co-founder, stopped Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline in Anacortes, Washington. Continue reading

Utah/Alberta Tar Sands Documentary Screens in Moscow

Last Rush for the Wild West Photo

New Documentary Exposes Destructive Tar Sands Mining Plans in Utah

Last Rush for the Wild West Screens in Moscow on February 23

An award-winning, documentary film that exposes plans to strip mine vast landscapes in the upper reaches of the Colorado River watershed in Utah will screen at 7 pm on Monday, February 23, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, 420 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho.  The Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will provide snacks and beverages and accept donations for this co-hosted event that is free and open to the public.

Last Rush for the Wild West: Tar Sands, Oil Shale, and the American Frontier earned the Audience Appeal Award at the 2014 Moab International Film Festival, and EcoWatch named the movie one of the Ten Best Eco-Docs of 2014.  The film highlights industry efforts already underway to strip mine almost one million acres of tar sands and oil shale deposits across eastern Utah and Colorado and Wyoming.  Potential strip mines would overuse and pollute the delicate Colorado River watershed, on which 36 million people living in downstream, drought-stricken areas depend for drinking water, agriculture, and recreation.

The film’s director, Jennifer Ekstrom, will attend this Moscow premier to introduce the film and host a post-screening, question-and-answer session.  Before turning to filmmaking in 2012, Jennifer was born and raised in eastern Washington and has worked as communications director for the statewide Wild Washington Campaign, which met initial success with the designation of the Wild Sky Wilderness near Index, Washington.  Besides assisting several citizen initiative, electoral political, and education campaigns promoting sound environmental and social policies on clean air, smart growth, health care, and the minimum wage, Jennifer recently served as the waterkeeper and executive director for Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Along with Pat Rathmann of PESC and Helen Yost of WIRT, she was among the first Idahoans to participate in the indigenous-led Tar Sands Healing Walk near Fort McMurray, Alberta, during August 2012. Continue reading

A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands

Fourth Healing Walk Group Photo 1 Cropped

What are the connections among climate change, the Alberta tar sands, megaloads, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the health of the planet and all of its inhabitants?

Explore these and related issues with local citizens on Thursday, March 27, at 7 pm in College of Law Room 103 at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  Area activists journeyed to the tar sands region of northern Alberta to join First Nations (Native Americans) and concerned citizens from across the continent for the 2013 Tar Sands Healing Walk.  Led by First Nations elders and leaders, participants witnessed the scale of environmental and social devastation caused by tar sands mining and crude oil processing.

Several local healing walkers, including James Blakely, Pat Fuerst, Dan and Pat Rathmann, Anne Remaley, and Helen Yost, will share what they learned on their solidarity journey, connecting local and regional megaloads, huge pipeline projects, impacts on people and places, and overarching climate change, cultural, and ethical issues.  During a discussion period following their presentation, the speakers welcome all questions, comments, and suggestions of solutions to these national, continental, and worldwide problems.

Continue reading

‘Healing Walk’ Looks at Tar Sands

Six people from Moscow spent a weekend this past summer getting an up-close look at the Alberta tar sands, the destination point for the controversial megaloads that have passed through the Northwest, including Moscow.

On Saturday, those people shared their story of that weekend during a presentation in Moscow’s 1912 Center sponsored by several environmental groups, including the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition.

“It is out of sight, out of mind and people have to understand what’s going on up there,” Dan Rathmann said about the tar sands.

Rathmann and the rest of the group traveled to Canada in July to take part in a “healing walk,” a tour of the tar sands facilities alongside members of local First Nations groups.

The tour spanned about 8 miles near the town of Fort McMurray, where the facilities are located. There they got to see the oil facilities and learn about the extraction and mining of bitumen, the substance that is eventually processed into synthetic crude oil. They also heard from tribe members about how the operations are affecting their livelihood and the environment. Continue reading

A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands

A Healing Walk through the Alberta Tar Sands 1

Tar Sands, Megaloads, Pipelines, Climate Change: What’s the Connection?

Tar sands, megaloads, pipelines, climate change: What’s the connection?  Explore these issues with six concerned local citizens from Idaho, who journeyed in 2012 and 2013 to the tar sands region of northern Alberta, to gather with First Nations and non-tribal activists and journalists from across the continent, for the annual Tar Sands Healing Walk.  Led and inspired by indigenous elders and leaders, participants experienced first-hand the scale of environmental devastation caused by tar sands mining and resulting crude oil production.

Through a slide show presentation and discussion, six local healing walkers – James Blakely, Pat Fuerst, Pat and Dan Rathmann, Anne Remaley, and Helen Yost – will share what they learned on their solidarity journey, connecting tar sands exploitation with regional megaload transports, huge pipeline projects, impacts on people and places, and overarching climate change and moral issues.  Join co-sponsors 350 Idaho, the Idaho Sierra Club, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC), and Wild Idaho Rising Tide for this insightful talk from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, December 7, in the 1912 Center Arts Workshop Room, 412 East Third Street in Moscow, Idaho.  For further information, contact Pat Fuerst of PESC at

Alberta Tar Sands: an Environmental Disaster Coming Our Way

For the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition at 7 pm on Friday, August 24, Helen Yost presented the story and images of the Third Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, organized by First Nations (native) people, through the desolate landscape of Alberta tar sands operations.  In the lower community room of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse at 420 East Second Street in Moscow, Helen and presentation participants also discussed the interrelationships of corporate/governmental development of and citizen resistance to Alberta and Utah tar sands, the Keystone XL pipeline, and regional megaloads of processing equipment.  View a pdf version of her slideshow of the Third Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk.

Canadian Oil Pipeline Would Be Path to China

National Energy Board panelists, back row, stand with Haisla First Nation Hereditary Chiefs during the opening day of hearings for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project in Kitamaat Village, British Columbia, on January 10. Several hundred people gathered for hearings on whether a pipeline should be laid from the Alberta tar sands to the Pacific Ocean (Associated Press photo).

Alternate route hits familiar obstacles

KITAMAAT VILLAGE, B.C. – The latest chapter in Canada’s quest to become a full-blown oil superpower unfolded this month in a village gym on the British Columbia coast.

Here, several hundred people gathered for hearings on whether a pipeline should be laid from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific in order to deliver oil to Asia, chiefly energy-hungry China. The stakes are particularly high for the village of Kitamaat, south of Kitimat, because the pipeline would terminate here and a port would be built to handle 220 tankers a year and 525,000 barrels of oil a day.

But the planned Northern Gateway Pipeline is just one aspect of an epic battle over Canada’s oil ambitions – a battle that already has a supporting role in the U.S. presidential election, and which will help to shape North America’s future energy relationship with China.

Read more: Canadian Oil Pipeline Would Be Path to China

(By Rob Gillies, Associated Press, The Spokesman-Review)

(Link provided by Tom Hansen)

Imperial Oil Announces $8.6 Billion Expansion of Kearl Oil Fields

CALGARY, Alberta – Imperial Oil Ltd. said Wednesday it will go ahead with an  $8.9 billion Canadian (US$8.6 billion) expansion to its Kearl oil sands mine in  Alberta.

The Calgary-based oil producer and refiner said the second phase of the  project is slated to begin producing 110,000 barrels of oil per day by late  2015.

Read more: Imperial Oil Announces $8.6 Billion Expansion of Kearl Oil Fields

(The Associated Press, Missoulian)

Tar Sands Oil with Helen Yost

Transports through Idaho of megaloads of industrial equipment that expand regionally destructive Alberta tar sands mining operations hasten global climate change and subsequent worldwide ecological chaos. Nathan Foster animated this interview at a protest of Moscow activist Helen Yost for a University of Idaho class project.

(Link provided by Nathan Foster)

MegaStructures: Ultimate Oil Sands Mine

Created by Powderhouse Productions in 2005 for the National Geographic Channel’s MegaStructures series, this 48-minute reasonably neutral documentary reveals an intimate view of on-site tar sands extraction and transportation, facilities construction, and bitumen production processes at Syncrude’s vast mine near Fort McMurray in northeastern Alberta, Canada.  Many of the structures visible during development of a competing Shell Oil upgrader plant reflect Korean-made ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil components currently moving as megaloads through the U.S. Northwest.

(Link provided by Ethan Nilsson)