Fifth Panhandle Paddle


#No2ndBridge Talk, Direct Action Training, Rally & Paddle

Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and allied activists, friends, and supporters invite and heartily welcome your input and involvement during an upcoming weekend of opportunities to discuss, train for, and stage resistance to the fossil fuels and railroad industry degraders of basic, global, human, environmental, and climate health and rights.  Interior Northwest residents are coordinating and co-hosting fifth annual, Panhandle Paddle activities, to unite against regional trains hauling volatile Alberta tar sands, fracked Bakken crude oil, dusty Powder River Basin coal, and other hazardous materials, and to oppose Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway’s planned bridge and track construction across downtown Sandpoint, Bridge Street, Sand Creek, and Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho [1].  We have chosen to maintain the yearly date and autonomy of Panhandle Paddle confrontations of government-rubberstamped, corporate transportation and infrastructure projects, separate from the massive, government-oriented bandwagon of September 20 and later, international, climate emergency strikes that divert and rely on local efforts to succeed, but rarely reciprocate such support [2].

Fossil fuel infrastructure use, expansion, and deterioration along and over inland Northwest waterways recklessly endanger air, water, climate, lands, lives, and communities, with the ongoing, increasing pollution and risks of coal and diesel emissions and catastrophic train wrecks, spills, fires, and explosions occurring weekly throughout the country.  Within eight months after a derailed oil train fire and spill jeopardized a nearby school, water treatment plant, and the Columbia River, in the small, scenic town of Mosier, Oregon, BNSF, Montana Rail Link, and Union Pacific imposed seven north Idaho and northwest Montana train derailments and collisions within 44 miles of Sandpoint in seven 2017 months, involving two grain and two coal trains, two vehicles with four teenagers, one dog, and two deaths [3, 4].  While WIRT directly confronted and documented BNSF’s preliminary, pile load testing for a second lake rail bridge at Dog Beach Park near Sandpoint, between May and September 2017, area railroad accidents culminated in the mid-August, wrecked train dump of tens of thousands of tons of coal into the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille watershed near Heron, Montana, upstream of river and lake drinking water sources [5].  Fully laden, flammable, crude oil and hazardous materials trains frequented the tracks surrounded by deep mounds of wreckage and spontaneously combusting, smoldering coal, which remained unremedied during five weeks of an unusually smoky wildfire season.

Since August 2014, when BNSF first proclaimed bridge expansion, and September 2015, when its plans dropped along with the price of oil, WIRT and #No2ndBridge activists have been preparing for a worst case scenario in north Idaho, as we await decisions by the U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers on BNSF’s still federally unpermitted, fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails bridge expansion through Sandpoint and almost one mile over Idaho’s largest, deepest lake, Pend Oreille [6-8].  For now, we are scheming legal maneuvers and planning regional marches in rapid response to these agency announcements, after the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued an uncontested, water quality certification in September 2018, and railroad and state attorney general lawyers convinced a Moscow judge to dismiss our expensive, underdog, district court case against a June 2018, Idaho Department of Lands, encroachment permit for BNSF’s Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, in March 2019 [9, 10].  Among myriad, significant, immitigable, cumulative impacts to  the environmental and public health and safety of north Idaho, BNSF’s $100 million gamble would drive over 1000 piles into regional drinking water, threatened bull trout critical habitat, train-spewed coal deposits, and the natural amenities foundation of the Sandpoint area tourism and recreation economy, for second (and likely third), parallel, railroad bridges and temporary work spans facilitating riskier, more derailment-vulnerable, bi-directional train traffic  [11].  Meanwhile, on the downtown Sandpoint, fossil fuels frontline, WIRT continues to daily document, for the #IDoiltrainwatch, #WAoiltrainwatch, and Portland tar sands opponents, every westbound, BNSF, unit train of dangerous, black tanker, and coal cars moving toward disasters waiting to happen in Lake Pend Oreille and downstream.

As the #No2ndBridge situation intensifies, we are reaching out to you, our regional network comrades, to share direct action skills and ask you to join with north Idaho, rail line communities in the crosshairs of the coal, oil, and railroad industries, to resist fossil-fueled climate change through these annual, Panhandle Paddle events on Friday through Sunday, September 6 to 8, in Sandpoint.  We would appreciate your participation in the talk, workshop, and paddle, your RSVP of your intentions for spots in kayaks, canoes, carpools, and camps, and your help with publicizing these free events, by sharing this event description, and printing and posting the color, letter-sized, PDF version of the WIRT website-linked Fifth Panhandle Paddle Flyer. Continue reading

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Young, Climate Lawsuit Plaintiffs Visit Sandpoint on Saturday, August 12


On Saturday, August 12, from 12 noon to 2 pm, meet Gabe Mandell, Aji Piper, and Adonis Williams, three of the 21 world-famous children involved in “trials of the millennium” – climate lawsuits brought by young people against state and federal governments [1-3].  These court cases allege that governments’ roles in creating and perpetuating the climate crisis violate the U.S. Constitution and public trust doctrine.  Adonis, Aji, and Gabe will share their stories through words and music, depicting the renowned, federal, Juliana v. U.S. and Washington state lawsuits they have filed to ensure a sustainable, livable environment for them and future generations.

These incredible litigants also serve as climate justice ambassadors for the Pacific Northwest chapter of Plant for the Planet, an international organization with over 100,000 young members who have planted more than 14 billion trees in over 130 nations [4].  Through this public presentation and following youth event, with free but limited audience seating at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, Idaho, learn what you can do to join this movement.  Event sponsors 350Sandpoint, Pacific Northwest Plant for the Planet, and Our Children’s Trust encourage family attendance.  For further information, see the enclosed links and attached flyer and media release, and email and call the hosts at info@350sandpoint.org and 208-627-9084.  Thanks! Continue reading

Monday & Tuesday: Josh Fox Climate Film Explores Community Values


how-to-let-go-of-the-world-flyer

How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change

#ClimateRevolution Film Explores Community Values

On September 26 and 27, three regional, climate change-concerned groups are hosting public screenings and discussions of How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.  In his deeply personal style, the Oscar-nominated director of Gasland, Josh Fox, continues to investigate climate change – one of the greatest threats our planet has experienced.  Humanity is facing a difficult period of change; this film explores the values needed to wisely navigate this transition.

Traveling to twelve countries on six continents to witness communities on the frontlines of climate change and to glean insights from dozens of climate heroes featured in this movie, the filmmakers acknowledge that it may be too late to stop some of the worst climate consequences.  Throughout its two hours, the documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016 asks, “What is it that climate change can’t destroy?  What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?”

Co-hosts 350Sandpoint, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (PESC), and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) welcome everyone at these events offering free admission and accepting donations at the door and at group information tables in the lobby.  Screenings start at 7 pm on Monday, September 26, at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 South Main Street in Moscow, and at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 27, at the Little Panida Theater, 300 North First Avenue in Sandpoint.  Conversation after the film will explore audience member reactions, renewable energy transition and climate change challenges in Idaho communities, and local and Northwest participatory movements seeking climate justice and solutions.

Background Continue reading

Drastic Action Needed


Tom Fellows, Lewiston

The Lewiston Tribune 12/21/14

Recently three individuals, one being Walt Minnick, formed The Partnership for Responsible Growth (see http://www.partnershipforresponsiblegrowth.org).

Its purpose is to lobby Congress to approve a carbon tax on fossil fuels.  After reading the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate change titled “Risky Business,” they believed doing nothing could result in an uninhabitable planet.  They wrote: “This is not the legacy any of us wish to bequeath to our children and grandchildren.”

They stated the reports said without acting now the world “may have as little as 15 years” to keep the planet’s temperature at a tolerable level.  They failed to mention that all of the IPCC reports have underestimated the rate at which the climate is changing.  They also believe that “carbon-funded tax-cuts” will solve the problems caused by carbon emissions.

Continue reading

Signs of Intelligent Life in the Murdoch Universe (Air Pollution Dumbs Down Americans)


A national health catastrophe advanced by the federal/corporate dirty energy/economic agenda that defies public opinion, climate science, and 2,000 medical studies over the last decade: Traffic fumes impact brain activity (behavior, personality, decision-making), intellectual capacity (four points lower on IQ tests, memory and reasoning problems), emotional stability (anxiety, depression, and attention problems), and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, autism) at every stage of life (including permanent, prenatal chromosome changes) and thus degrade the quality of life of present and subsequent generations.

Signs of Intelligent Life in the Murdoch Universe

(Link provided by Borg Hendrickson)

Capitalism vs. the Climate


There is a question from a gentleman in the fourth row.

He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually “an attack on middle-class American capitalism.” His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: “To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?”

Here at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, this qualifies as a rhetorical question. Like asking a meeting of German central bankers if Greeks are untrustworthy. Still, the panelists aren’t going to pass up an opportunity to tell the questioner just how right he is.

Read more: Capitalism vs. the Climate

(By Naomi Klein, The Nation)

(Link provided by Rob Briggs)

Survey: Congressional/White House Focus on Fossil Fuel/Nuclear Power Is Out of Touch with Mainstream American Views


An October 2011 survey revealed that MOST Americans favor federal subsidies, construction loans, and investments in wind/solar/efficient energy (but not for fossil fuel/nuclear energy), dislike disproportionate corporate influence on national energy policy and a federally passive approach to energy markets, support phasing-out coal-fired power plants, are concerned about water shortages and pollution and how natural gas fracking affects water quality, connect recent extreme weather-related disasters to climate change, understand the environmental and human health costs of energy sources, and want the U.S. to be a global leader in clean energy technology.

Survey: Congress, White House Focus on Fossil Fuels, Nuclear Power is Out of Touch with Views of Mainstream America