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

Halt the Thacker Pass, Nevada, Lithium Mine!

On September 27, indigenous and allied activists and organizations, defending the sacred lands and water and critical wildlife habitat of Thacker Pass (Peehee Mu’huh in the Paiute language) in northern Nevada, from a proposed, massive, open-pit, lithium mine, launched a coordinated, public pressure campaign targeting public officials of the Biden administration, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Department of the Interior, and state of Nevada.  Within days, they learned that the BLM had quietly issued an archeological dig permit this week, which allows “professional archeologists” and excavators to desecrate known massacre sites of Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone ancestors, and conduct government-sanctioned looting, while also providing momentum for the mining companies Lithium Nevada, Lithium Americas, and Far Western to start construction of the mine.  At this decisive time in regional resistance, which includes an environmental lawsuit with indigenous interveners and an opposition camp established in January 2021, the Native coalition Atsa Koodakuh why Nuwu (People of Red Mountain) and frontline activists of Protect Thacker Pass (PTP) are calling on all of us to help stop sacred site disturbances that could happen within days.  Please join Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) soon in these actions:

1) CARPOOL & CAMP with WIRT and allies journeying to Thacker Pass, where a small gathering of serious people and Native elders have been fervently praying, honorably working, and creatively resisting the proposed mine, with good hearts, minds, spirits, and clarity of purpose, during almost ten months on the Peehee Mu’huh frontline.  They are urgently encouraging your immediate, physical presence and support at Thacker Pass: “Now is the time to stand up!”  In 2019, a PTP organizer traveled to north Idaho, to offer direct action training for WIRT’s Panhandle Paddle and ongoing #No2ndBridge campaign against BNSF’s fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails expansion.  We are grateful to reciprocally assist this mine opposition, beyond covering Thacker Pass updates via our weekly, Climate Justice Forum, radio program, despite recent facebook aversion and a posting backlog.  See the Protect Thacker Pass and Protect Peehee Mu’huh website and facebook pages, for campaign information, massacre history, fact sheets, and camp rules.  Contact WIRT to participate in inland Northwest trips to Nevada [1-3].

2) DEMAND THAT THE BLM recognize Thacker Pass massacres, cancel the planned archeological dig, and promise to engage in proper consultation with affected tribes, per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.  People of Red Mountain, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Burns Paiute Tribe, the National Congress of American Indians, the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, and the Nevada Statewide Native American Caucus have all spoken out against the Thacker Pass mine.  Ultimately, these stakeholders are asking Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to rescind the record of decision (the main BLM approval of the mine) and revoke all project permits.

With your edited version of this information and the enclosed talking points, share this message with your networks and social media platforms, call and write to everyone listed here with these demands, and know that your efforts make a significant difference.  If you represent an organization, tribal government, or are otherwise influential, leverage your power by pressuring these agencies, sending official letters, requesting meetings, and coordinating with Protect Thacker Pass (contact@protectthackerpass.org). Continue reading

November 3 & Sooner or Later: Vote & Resist a Coup

Resist a Trump/Republican Coup

Even during a global pandemic, economic emergency, and increasingly dysfunctional, neoliberal governance, the reformist approach of U.S. progressive politics attempts to rehabilitate capitalism’s purported dynamism with approximations of social democracy for working people, without admitting the intrinsic control and impediments to reform that economic and political elites wield over fundamental structures of policymaking.  This tendency is partially a response to the Trump administration, “whose pursuit of tax cuts, corporate bailouts, and deregulation exemplifies not so much artful subterfuge but a brazen contempt for proper oversight of industry” [1].  Challenges for current, social movements to fight injustice are formidable, especially with “the Trump administration’s exercise of a new and despotic, federal police power, in reaction to nationwide, Black Lives Matter protests against police violence” [1].  But electoral politics face greater limits to advancing a more egalitarian social contract and strategies.  “The path to enduring change requires mobilization that inflicts real costs on capitalists and disrupts the nexus of elite interests…While progressive, political allies are instrumental…to implementing reform, they are never its true locus” [1].

More deeply troubling than encountering armed, right wingnuts in the downtown streets of Sandpoint, Idaho, is experiencing “liberals” who notify police in advance of their protests, say that they trust local cops, and ask for police protection from such vigilantes [2].  Did they overlook the attack dogs, water cannons, and other harmful weapons used by local cops on water protectors at Standing Rock?  The munitions applied by local cops to clear Washington D.C. dissenters, for Trump’s bible-holding, church photo-op?  The physical and chemical assaults and abductions aimed and abetted by local cops and their civil war-mongering, paramilitary friends at protesters in Portland, Minneapolis, New York, Spokane, and other cities?  Who could ever sign a letter saying that they trust local cops?  Do they not understand the Black Lives Matter and civil rights movements?  Indigenous struggles for sovereignty and land defense?  Immigrants terrorized, caged, neglected, and deported?  Local cops in support of eliminating COVID-19 precautions and liberal protests of a likely Trump/Republican coup?  Are people who trust local cops actually cops?

On October 22, for the weekly, Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) webinar, two guests joined Lauren Regan and fellow staff attorneys: Jim Wheaton, a CLDC friend, former co-counsel, and First Amendment Project ally, and Scott Parkin, a seasoned organizer with Rising Tide North America and Rainforest Action Network (RAN), for a training called Rights, Dissent, and the State: Preparing for a Turbulent Election [3].  The lively and informative, roundtable discussion considered scenarios and preparations against possible, far-right, extremist efforts to disrupt and destroy democratic processes, which could unfold around the upcoming, November 2020, U.S. elections.  With the goals of helping activists more clearly understand potential threats, expected charges from engaging in protests during this time, and collective, legal recourse against a coup and other outcomes, speakers addressed actions that governments may take to restrict citizen freedoms, rights, and responsibilities, in response to escalations of unrest.  If you missed and would like to access this online webinar, please email communications @cldc.org and request the secure, registration login information for the recording.  The RAN website also offers links to numerous civil disobedience resources [4].  Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is planning upcoming, training sessions and protests adapted to emerging, political events, despite north Idaho community reticence to participate in the meaningful and effective, direct actions that continue to provide our only recourse to justice.

“…Things are moving further in an alarming direction.  They’re planning to steal the election…for an unaccountable man at the top and his armies of spies and soldiers and cops, openly plotting some kind of coup, not in some backroom like they usually would do…Whatever might happen to this corporate crook, no one will be heeding the rules in the book…Perhaps the stock market crashes, then we’ll see if the madmen in power start World War 3…” [5].  But “if the right is prepared to steal the election, then we must be prepared to disrupt the status quo and resist.  [The Stopping the Coup] guide offers resources for organizing in your communities across the country.  It does not encourage or endorse bringing harm to any living thing” [6].

Despite our lack of faith in American electoral, political, or legal systems, WIRT activists encourage you to vote, as “we will vote.  We will refuse to accept election results, until all the votes are counted.  We will nonviolently take to the streets, if a coup is attempted.  If we need to, we will shut down this country, to protect the integrity of the democratic process” [7].  Please prepare for the November 3 to January 21 sh!tstorm, by availing yourself and your contacts of the Signal application, for end-to-end encrypted calls and texts relayed via device data, not phone signal [8].  You will find that many of your contacts already or will soon protect their communities from government/corporate snoopiness with the downloadable application, effective only when both sides securely communicate through the program (symbolized by locks and checkmarks), which also reaches non-Signal users (shown with open lock symbols).  Stop talking and texting on a third “party line”!

According to Fox television program scientist (an oxymoron?) Neil deGrasse Tyson and creative scientist, musician, and tar sands megaload-blockading, WIRT activist Jeanne Louise, an asteroid named 2018VP1 will coincidentally, closely approach Earth the day before the November 3 election, but it poses much less threat to humanity than one of the candidates [9].  As an appropriate antidote to increasingly “impactful” times, please consider voting early!  Thanks to Jeanne for revising the lyrics and re-recording her decade-old song Asteroid that “serves as an apt metaphor for our angst about the pandemic, the planet, and presidential politics,…[and that] argues for the pursuit of peace, love, and happiness, no matter how things turn out,” with the time we together have left [9].  Compared with the deteriorating state of American encounters all over the country, her new video version, posted and shared on facebook and played on the October 28, WIRT, Climate Justice Forum radio program, is a blessing!

Vote Against President Donald Trump Continue reading

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

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 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