Pipeline Resistance Solidarity Actions

In solidarity with all water protectors, land defenders, and climate activists across Turtle Island (North America), Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allied, Northwest groups and individuals are planning and hosting solidarity actions in Moscow and Sandpoint, Idaho, to uphold and support indigenous-led resistance to construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline through treaty territories in northern Minnesota.  We are also celebrating the June 9 termination of the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline, by Calgary-based TC Energy (formerly TransCanada), and the January 2021 presidential cancellation of the project, grateful for sustained KXL opposition, from First Nations impacted by Alberta tar sands exploitation to Gulf Coast tree sitters obstructing its route.  Each of these proposed pipelines, if constructed, would transport almost a million barrels of toxic tar sands oil per day from Canada, under hundreds of waterways and wetlands, including Mississippi River headwaters and wild rice lakes crucial for drinking water and indigenous food sovereignty.  Tar sands “black snakes” jeopardize pristine and sensitive landscapes, watersheds, aquifers, and ecosystems from the Great Lakes across the Great Plains to the Salish Sea (Puget Sound).  And these pipelines would enable further tar sands mining and refining operations, built by megaloads of equipment that WIRT and co-workers have opposed since our group inception a decade ago.  Tar sands extraction continues to devastate the air, water, lands, wild plants and animals, and subsistence practices honored by First Nations, and exacerbates the droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods of fossil fueled climate chaos around the Earth.

Regionally, during the seven to twelve years of the Line 3 and Keystone XL battles, WIRT and Northwest, frontline activists have uplifted these campaigns with outreach through our radio, facebook, and newsletter programs, while constantly resisting, monitoring, documenting, and alerting our communities to fossil fuels extraction and transportation onslaughts on Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon frontlines.  We have confronted tar sands megaloads on rivers and roads, coal and oil trains and terminals on pipelines-on-rails and at ports, oil and gas extraction and forced leasing in southwest Idaho, and infrastructure expansions also accommodating nuclear waste and new power plants and other hazardous materials across the Northwest.  All of these invasions would and do daily pollute the Columbia Basin and threaten the lives and livelihoods of residents, businesses, and entire communities and economies.

Since November 2020, when the Line 3 pipeline reached the last of its regulatory challenges, and despite ongoing court cases and calls for federal, administrative relief, construction encroaching on indigenous lands in northern Minnesota has been clearing a path for Canadian oil pumped for export to and beyond the United States.  The movement to #StopLine3 has courageously escalated through legal advocacy, on-the-ground actions, prayer ceremonies, and over 500 arrests at blockades of Enbridge offices, pipeline equipment staging areas, pump stations, river drilling sites, and worker and resistance camps.  Thousands of people powerfully converged and put their bodies in the way of Line 3 construction for 30 hours, during the Treaty People Gathering on June 5 to 8 in Minnesota, where both direct resistance and the need for more people on the frontlines is increasing [1, 2].  Supporting Line 3 opposition throughout and before 2021, Rising Tide North America, Rising Tide Chicago, Portland Rising Tide, and the network of volunteer Rising Tide groups have provided online webinars, meetings, and virtual, non-violent direct action trainings that introduce concerned citizens to the principles, strategies, tactics, and skills of protest.  In solidarity with northern Minnesota communities blocking local tar sands expansion, grassroots resistance to Line 3 has staged hundreds of actions across the country and around the world, confronting banks, financiers, and insurance companies that facilitate the water-risking venture.

WIRT organizers understand that almost-post-pandemic re-emergence has been difficult for everyone, especially for activists who do not engage in electronic teleconferences for security reasons.  At Solstice time, regional activists who recently organized travel to and participated in blockades disrupting Line 3 construction are asking for your involvement in outreach and solidarity demonstrations objecting to Line 3 and celebrating Keystone XL termination.  On Friday, June 25, in Sandpoint, and on Saturday, June 26, during Farmers Market in Moscow, we invite you to bravely partake in the #StopLine3 movement.  On behalf of future generations and voiceless, fellow, Earth inhabitants, join the continent-wide call for the end of all tar sands and fossil fuels pipelines, such as the illegally flowing Dakota Access (DAPL) and Enbridge Line 5 and the currently under-construction but fiercely rebuked Trans Mountain and Mountain Valley pipelines.  Come and stand with and for frontline communities confronting the oil and gas industry, corporate interests, and green-washed, false, climate solutions.

Friday, June 25, near Farmin Park in Sandpoint

Saturday, June 26, in Friendship Square in Moscow Continue reading

WIRT Meetings, Comments on Keystone XL Pipeline


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 [1].  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.


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) [2].  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 [3].  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 [4].  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 [2].  Thanks!


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

Valve Turners House Parties in Moscow & Sandpoint

Inspired by the “valve turners’” bold and decisive actions that shut down pipelines flowing from Canada to the primary tar sands market, America consumers, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is hosting public house parties in Moscow and Sandpoint, to support these blockaders’ legal defense funds and to elevate conversations about rising to the challenges of this critical, historic moment [1].  In this era of a federal fossil fuel administration, building stronger communities of climate dissidents preparing for the next wave of direct actions is more crucial than ever.  So please join us at 6 pm on Thursday, March 9, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, and/or at 12 noon on Saturday, March 11, in the upstairs room of Eichardt’s Pub at 212 Cedar Street in Sandpoint.  We welcome all participant ages and concerns at this Shut It Down – Climate Direct Action fundraiser requesting $10 suggested donations with free admission.

On October 11, 2016, five brave climate activists closed the emergency shut-off valves of five major pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands oil into Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.  In solidarity with Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and other Lakota nations and allied water protectors at resistance camps invaded by police, their nonviolent civil disobedience together stopped 15 percent of a day’s U.S. crude oil imports.  Now these activists and four accompanying documentarians are facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges with maximum, potential, prison sentences ranging from 10 to 81 years.  Beyond some pro bono legal help, the group has had to hire several lawyers and needs to raise $50,000 to cover legal, trial, and travel expenses, as they tell their stories about urgent climate action.

Before setting out to cut chains and locks and block pipeline valves across the country, the tar sands valve turners – Annette, Emily, Ken, Leonard, and Michael – and their support crew – Ben, Reed, Sam, and Steve – were not specially trained activists.  They are just ordinary people with the strength of their convictions and the courage to act on them.  But their example, along with similar skills and practices, show how people rightfully concerned about climate catastrophe can stand up and take serious action in a time of denial and a world of “alternative facts.”  With the fossil fuel industry now not only controlling governments at every level in the U.S., but also holding positions of power within them, we all need to support folks already taking big legal risks and to move ourselves to that next step, by truthfully, assertively acting to halt the fossil fuel sources of climate cataclysm and our collective crimes against future generations.

During the last weekend in February, Shut It Down – Climate Direct Action and allies organized the first, experimental round of house parties, meeting with friends to raise funds to help the valve turners in Bellevue, Washington, Brooklyn, New York, Burlington, Vermont, Hanover, New Hampshire, and Houston, Texas.  Please gather with us at these fun events, held by dozens of groups across the country, introducing you and your friends, family, and colleagues to powerful climate direct action, and sharing the work of Shut It Down and WIRT.  We will provide valve turner videos and information about how to stage and live stream adventurous and effective actions.  For further event and co-host information, see ShutItDown.Today and WildIdahoRisingTide.org and contact us with your questions. Continue reading

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 epfuerst@frontier.com.

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)