Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and climate activists throughout the West are organizing solidarity protests of oil trains and infrastructure, for a day of action against the Uinta Basin Railway (UBR), supporting campaigns against the Utah oil-by-rail scheme and in north Idaho, denouncing completion of BNSF Railway’s second, almost mile-long, rail bridge across the state’s largest, deepest lake: mountainous Lake Pend Oreille. Utah and Colorado comrades are calling for community-led actions on Saturday, December 10, 2022, to show that concerned citizens object to the devastating UBR project, and to pressure federal lawmakers, state representatives, and local governments to prevent building of the Uinta Basin Railway. They ask everyone to explore the #StopUintaBasinRailway action toolkit with information about the UBR and action coordination, sign a letter to Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack, demanding that he revoke the U.S. Forest Service permit for the railway, participate in actions happening in a dozen locations, register to join a remote phone bank on Tuesday, December 13, at 10 am Pacific time, and tell UBR opponents that you are interested in assisting this campaign [1-2].
To involve local communities across the United States in advocating against UBR permits and their potential disasters for climate and environmental justice, Colorado groups held a public, online, action training on November 10 . Organizers with years of experience shared ideas about planning effective actions and helped participants learn about the UBR oil trains that would threaten lives and livelihoods along rail routes from Utah to Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, and around the southern Northwest, Union Pacific Railroad (UP) line across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon to western Washington.
Most of WIRT and allied resistance to behemoth oil and coal train shipments has successfully focused on dozens of BNSF Railway fossil fuels pipeline-on-rails routes from the Great Plains to the West Coast. We rarely demonstrate against Union Pacific, except while decrying its few weekly, Northwest, tar sands trains and myriad derailments, including the Mosier, Oregon, oil train spill and fire in June 2016. Based on our experiences of BNSF’s ongoing malfeasance, WIRT encouraged and sent extensive comments on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in 2021, opposing the Uinta Basin Railway, and talked about the issue during recent years on our weekly, Climate Justice Forum, radio program . WIRT remains steadfast in our thorough monitoring, reporting, and protesting of daily, BNSF, Bakken crude oil trains across north Idaho, as we gratefully accept dedicated co-workers’ invitations to alert our regional neighbors to the impending dangers and direct action opportunities of Utah oil transport across the Northwest.
Uinta Basin & BNSF Railways Protest
As part of countless demonstrations against the fossil fuel causes of the climate crisis and their insidious pollution, risks, and impacts on north Idaho and Northwest rail line communities, we plan to protest both the proposed Uinta Basin Railway oil trains and tracks and the BNSF Railway expansion of its industrial infrastructure into Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint, with three second rail bridges and two miles of doubled main line. Please dress for warmth and dryness, bring your signs and banners, voices and drums, friends and family, and joy and courage, and join WIRT and inland Northwest activists for the Stop Uinta Basin Railway Solidarity Action at 12 noon on Saturday, December 10, at the Serenity Lee trailhead near the East Superior Street and Highway 95 intersection and/or on the public, pedestrian, and bike path to Dog Beach Park in Sandpoint, Idaho. WIRT will provide on-site action advice and chants and pizza for appreciated participants after the gathering. Respond in advance with your questions and suggestions, share this event information and flyer among your associates and contacts, and see previous and upcoming, website- and facebook-posted, WIRT newsletters and alerts, for further updates on these issues.
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