NOVEMBER & DECEMBER WIRT MEETINGS
Volunteer, grassroots, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) organizers invite and appreciate your assistance in arranging upcoming presentations, training workshops, demonstrations, outreach, and #No2ndBridge litigation. We urge you to participate in November and December 2019, potluck, WIRT gatherings, enjoy climate action documentaries, talk about tactics and strategies, and offer your unique advice and assistance, as we together relentlessly confront the fossil fuel causes of climate change, through direct resistance and frontline solutions. The WIRT climate activist collective welcomes opportunities to talk with you about critical issues, and to share images, dispatches, and actions with the regional, environmental and indigenous community, while we continue our opposition and vigil on the north Idaho, fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails, and #No2ndBridge frontline.
Join activity-planning conversations on the first and third Thursdays (now instead of Wednesdays) of every month, starting at 6 pm (not the usual 7 pm) on Thursday, November 21 and December 19, at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, and on Thursday, December 5, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow . Meanwhile, please check WIRT website and especially facebook pages for posts and pictures, and listen to WIRT’s weekly, Climate Justice Forum radio program, for updates about ongoing, recent, and emerging, Northwest and continent-wide, fossil fuel infrastructure invasions and protests, and share this information among your associates and contacts.
COMMENT ON KEYSTONE XL BY NOVEMBER 18
As activists in Montana, the Great Plains, and around the U.S. continue resistance in the courts and on the land, fossil fuel billionaires and their federal government cronies push for construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. On October 4, 2019, the U.S. Department of State released the project’s new, draft, supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) . Instead of an open, public hearing, the agency held a restrictive, October 29 meeting that only accepted comments via computers or stenographers in isolated rooms, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center in Montana . A few hundred people attended, and concerned groups hosted a cold rally in a fenced-off “free speech zone” outside the center, with speakers from the Fort Berthold and Fort Peck reservations and BOLD Nebraska, to provide opportunities to hear from communities impacted by the controversial project that threatens water quality, land rights, and climate health across the region. On the same day as the nation’s only public meeting on the draft SEIS, someone discovered that the previously built Keystone pipeline leaked about 383,000 gallons of tar sands oil in northeastern North Dakota . How many other pipeline spills have gone undetected and unreported, especially in rural and remote locations?
The final SEIS could guide future permitting decisions by the Bureau of Land Management and especially the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for a Clean Water Act section 408 permit, required for the KXL crossing of the Missouri River, located dangerously underneath the Fort Peck Dam spillway, subjecting the buried pipeline to immense volumes and velocities of water discharge and its scour erosion of the riverbed, which could expose it and cause leaks [5-7]. Drinking and agricultural water intake facilities for the 30,000 people of the Fort Peck reservation and northeastern Montana communities lie immediately downstream. But the State Department’s draft SEIS continues to downplay these and other risks and disruptions to healthy and stable, regional watersheds and global climate.
Please protect the Earth’s precious water and air from the Keystone XL pipeline, by requesting a 90-day, public comment period extension and additional public hearings on this proposal with such immense significance and scope, and by sending your written comments on the draft SEIS to the State Department by 9 pm PST on Monday, November 18. Pipeline industry groups, unions, and companies have apparently strongly recommended that their members and employees submit pro-pipeline comments. So raise your voice for the Earth, through this potentially last opportunity to oppose KXL through “the system.” Montana colleagues Northern Plains Resource Council and 350 Montana have identified problems with this current analysis that does not properly evaluate KXL risks to rivers and climate. They offer detailed suggestions and guides to help inform your comments [5-7] that we hope you post through the Regulations.gov federal website . Thanks!
MONTANA KXL LAWSUITS
In March 2017, Calgary-based oil and gas developer TransCanada (now TC Energy) had not yet made a final investment decision on the controversial, 1180-mile, $8 billion, Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska. Nonetheless, U.S. President Trump reversed former President Obama’s 2015 refusal to issue a federal permit for the pipeline desperately needed by Canadian oil producers. Indigenous Environmental Network, North Coast Rivers Alliance, Northern Plains Resource Council, and other environmental group plaintiffs immediately filed cases in a Great Falls, Montana, federal court, and have successfully challenged the U.S. State Department’s outdated, inadequate, environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed KXL, rejecting EIS flaws, exclusion of climate, water, and other threats, preparers’ conflicts of interest, and the Canada-U.S. cross-border permit [8, 9]. Continue reading