Interview with Nez Perce Woman Who Temporarily Halted Load Almost Big Enough to Qualify as Megaload on Reservation


Liquid full absorber on Highway 12 through Kamiah

Nez Perce tribal activist Judy Oatman talks about her solo vehicle blockade of an oversized, Vietnam-made liquid full absorber traveling on Highway 12 during daylight hours on Monday, October 21, through an interview between 9:32 and 2:16 of the Tuesday, October 22, KRFP Radio Free Moscow Evening Report, Big Load on Res.

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Nez Perce Briefly Block Oversize Load Nearly Big Enough to Trigger Judicial Review


A mini-megaload of unknown ownership, origin, and destination traversed Highways 12 and 95 and met Nez Perce resistance in the reservation on Monday, October 21, as described between 25:40 and 23:55 of the Monday, October 21, KRFP Radio Free Moscow Evening Report, Borderline Load.

Vietnam-Made Liquid Full Absorber 10-20&21-13


On Sunday afternoon, October 20, on the way to scout the Port of Wilma, three Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists spotted a megaload with an oversized load banner and Alberta license plates (4MMO-31).  The liquid full absorber manufactured by Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam, on Trail King trailers licensed in Alberta and provided by R & D Trailer Rentals, parked facing downhill (southbound) at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) weigh station on the top of the Highway 95 Lewiston grade.  The cylindrical module, used to process natural gas or other fossil fuels, measures 15.38 feet wide, 14.64 feet high, and 38.71 to 49.21 feet long, with a gross weight of 64,174 pounds.  WIRT documented the equipment specifications with videos and photos.

Nez Perce tribal activists Alicia and Mary Jane Oatman were traveling west on U.S. Highway 12 near Greer, during daylight hours on Monday, October 21, when they saw this oversized load with Alberta license plates speeding east with two pilot cars, wide enough to take up a lane and a half.  As soon as they reached a cell phone service area, they called their mother, Judy Oatman, to ask if she could videotape the mini-megaload’s passage and get its permit information.  Judy confronted the Canada-bound transport by staging a perpendicular, solo vehicle blockade, to briefly stop the Vietnam-made absorber crossing her mother’s land.  She questioned the transport crew and put them on notice that they were trespassing illegally through Nez Perce lands.  They drove around her truck, probably called the cops, and proceeded through Kamiah and over the Clearwater River bridge.  Judy took two separate videos with good footage and continued monitoring the sneaky big corporations’ obviously dangerous load, as it probably headed to Alberta to refine natural gas used to extract and process tar sands.

Without news of this shipment in the regional papers, and allies awaiting the results of their gracious Highway 95 public records request, no one knew what the load was (a natural gas dehydrator?), where it came from (across Washington from the coast or rivers?), and where it was going in Canada.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) sent out a media release to motivate press communication with various state agencies, in an effort to belatedly reveal the truth of the situation on Tuesday.  A media source contacted Lonnie Richardson of the Idaho State Police, who said that this big load (and similar ones to come) traveled Highway 12 to the Gifford Reubens Road to Highway 95, bypassing a defunct railroad trestle near Lapwai and heading south toward Grangeville.  This natural gas processor could have moved southward toward the soon-to-be-fracked Payette County oil and gas field.  But our trustworthy Nez Perce allies saw the load move through Kamiah.  Dennis Bernstein of the nationally broadcast radio show Flashpoints called WIRT, in response to our October 21 press release, but we told him that we still did not have enough information about this fiasco.  KRFP Radio Free Moscow covered the incident on its Monday evening report, and Judy called and interviewed for KRFP’s Tuesday evening news program.

The Idaho Transportation Department stated that the module was an “excessive load,” not considered a “megaload.”  The agency provided no public notice of this transport except a returned phone call from Doral Hoff of the ITD Lewiston office, who confirmed that the megaload traveled on Highway 12 to Montana and Canada during daylight hours on Monday, October 21.  For a few days, WIRT and tribal allies remained unsure whether this absorber went up Highway 13 to Highway 95 and south to Payette County gas fields or up Highway 12 to Montana and Alberta.  On Wednesday, October 23, Adam Rush of the Boise ITD office verified that the mini-megaload arrived at the Montana border, via Highway 12, at 3:30 pm PDT on that Monday.  He also described a typical three-step process of public notification about this transport that was inexplicably rushed and unaccomplished in this instance.  Unimpeded by Judge Winmill’s preliminary injunction and the subsequent Forest Service closure order prohibiting Highway 12 passage of only Omega Morgan megaloads larger than 16 feet wide and 150 feet long, this hauling company and ITD blatantly disregarded the regional tar sands/megaload resistance community.  This situation and the October 15-16 dismantled evaporator transports through Moscow on Highway 95 prove that ITD will sneak Omega Morgan and other companies’ oversized shipments up both Highways 12 and 95.

Vietnam-Made Liquid Full Absorber 10-20-13 (October 20 Wild Idaho Rising Tide videos)

Nez Perce Briefly Block Oversize Load Nearly Big Enough to Trigger Judicial Review (October 21 KRFP Evening Report)

Interview with Nez Perce Woman Who Temporarily Halted Load Almost Big Enough to Qualify as Megaload on Reservation (October 22 KRFP Evening Report)

(All photos except the Kamiah photo provided by Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

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Continue reading

Vietnam-Made Liquid Full Absorber 10-20-13


On Sunday afternoon, October 20, on the way to scout the Port of Wilma, three Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists spotted a megaload with an oversized load banner and Alberta license plates (4MMO-31).  The liquid full absorber manufactured by Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam, on Trail King trailers licensed in Alberta and provided by R & D Trailer Rentals, parked facing downhill (southbound) at the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) weigh station on the top of the Highway 95 Lewiston grade.  The cylindrical module, used to process natural gas or other fossil fuels, measures 15.38 feet wide, 14.64 feet high, and 38.71 to 49.21 feet long, with a gross weight of 64,174 pounds.  WIRT documented the equipment specifications with videos and photos.

Nez Perce tribal activists Alicia and Mary Jane Oatman were traveling west on U.S. Highway 12 near Greer, during daylight hours on Monday, October 21, when they saw this oversized load with Alberta license plates speeding east with two pilot cars, wide enough to take up a lane and a half.  As soon as they reached a cell phone service area, they called their mother, Judy Oatman, to ask if she could videotape the mini-megaload’s passage and get its permit information.  Judy confronted the Canada-bound transport by staging a perpendicular, solo vehicle blockade, to briefly stop the Vietnam-made absorber crossing her mother’s land.  She questioned the transport crew and put them on notice that they were trespassing illegally through Nez Perce lands.  They drove around her truck, probably called the cops, and proceeded through Kamiah and over the Clearwater River bridge.  Judy took two separate videos with good footage and continued monitoring the sneaky big corporations’ obviously dangerous load, as it probably headed to Alberta to refine natural gas used to extract and process tar sands. Continue reading

Tribal Members Opt to Contest Nuisance Beefs


Eighteen of 28 Nez Perce arrested during megaload protests enter denials to charges.

At least 18 of the 28 Nez Perce tribal members charged with creating a public nuisance during protests against a megaload shipment last month will fight the charges in Nez Perce Tribal Court.

At their individual admit-deny hearings on Friday morning, September 20, in Lapwai, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee members Brooklyn Baptiste, 41, Leotis McCormack, 31, Anthony Johnson, 43, Albert Barros, 61, and Samuel Penney, 58, joined Greg L. Crow, 38, Ciarra S. Greene, 24, Delrae Kipp, 44, David F. Penney, Angela R. Picard, 32, Sally R. Rohan, 19, Lucy A. Samuels, 23, Paulette M. Smith, 44, Carla J. Timentwa, 56, and Nicole S. Twomoon, 29, in denying the veracity of the charges against them.

All were arrested following the August 5-8 protests of an Omega Morgan megaload shipment.  The transport firm encountered four nights of protests, while hauling an evaporator through the Nez Perce Reservation on U.S. Highway 12, en route to the Canadian tar sands.

Executive committee member Joel Moffett, 34, did not appear in court on Friday but did enter his denial to the charge, essentially an innocent plea, with Chief Nez Perce Tribal Court Judge Bruce Plackowski.

Executive committee Chairman Silas Whitman, 71, also did not appear in court but “accepted” the charge, pleading guilty and receiving a $100 fine. Continue reading

Tunes with ‘Tude


Jeanne McHale

Jeanne McHale

Galactic Tofu Farmers

Galactic Tofu Farmers

Undiscovered Country

Undiscovered Country

Proceeds from fundraising concert will go to Nez Perce tribal members arrested in megaloads protest.

Area protestors captured national headlines in August by obstructing megaload shipments through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest bound for the Canadian tar sands.  A parade and benefit concert on Friday in Moscow will support and aid those arrested.

“We want to express our appreciation and show our solidarity with the Nez Perce people who worked so hard,” says Jeanne McHale, a member of Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Friends of the Clearwater, two of four Moscow-based environmental groups sponsoring the event.

Several Moscow environmentalists joined tribal members in protesting the use of a wild portion of U.S. Highway 12 as an industrial corridor.  Twenty-eight Nez Perce tribal members were charged on September 12 with public nuisance infractions, after last month’s protests against an Omega Morgan megaload shipment traveling through the Nez Perce Reservation.  Those arrested included eight members of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee.  Funds raised will go toward the protest, travel, and legal efforts and expenses of those arrested.

“Moscow has become something of a sacrifice zone for Highway 12.  When things did not go well there, loads came through Moscow,” McHale, a board member of Friends of the Clearwater, says of past protests against megaloads in the area. Continue reading

Benefit Concert for Nez Perce Megaload Protesters


August 5 Nez Perce Blockade - Shannon Jackson

At 7 pm on Friday, September 20, four Moscow conservation and activist groups are co-hosting a benefit concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, 420 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho.  The event seeks to raise appreciation, solidarity, and funds for the protest, travel, and legal efforts and expenses of arrested Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) anti-megaload activists.  Starting at 6:30 pm after the weekly peace vigil, the Moscow Volunteer Peace Band will lead a parade, perhaps joined by Nimiipuu drummers, gathering participants from Friendship Square through downtown to the church.  The festivities open with original, politically-charged music by Jeanne McHale and assorted singers, including megaload songs and an audience performance of the Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) anthem, The Tide is Rising.  Nez Perce speakers will next describe their megaload resistance, and tribal drummers will share songs and chances to partake in round dances.  The local bands Galactic Tofu Farmers and Undiscovered Country will play original Americana and folk rock music to activate hearts, minds, and feet until 11 pm.  Throughout the evening, the co-sponsors will offer free snacks and inexpensive beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks provided by Mikey’s Greek Gyros and the Wine Company of Moscow.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Friends of the Clearwater, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, and Palouse Group of the Sierra Club welcome everyone to contribute voluntary five dollar or more donations for admission and courageous, arrested Nimiipuu allies. Continue reading

28 Tribal Members Charged in Megaload Blockade


Eight Nez Perce leaders among the accused, may be forced to step down

Twenty-eight Nez Perce tribal members were charged with public nuisance infractions Wednesday in Nez Perce Tribal Court.

The charges came more than a month after arrests were made during the August 6 to 8 protests of an Omega Morgan megaload shipment traveling to the Canadian tar sands via U.S. Highway 12 through the Nez Perce Reservation.

Those arrested included eight members of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee: Chairman Silas Whitman, 71, and members Brooklyn Baptiste, 41, Leotis McCormack, 31, Daniel Kane, 55, Joel Moffett, 34, Anthony Johnson, 43, Albert Barros, 61, and Samuel Penney, 58.

According to tribal court documents, those who were arrested allegedly “entered upon the eastbound lanes of Highway 12 while traffic was attempting to proceed and refused to leave the highway” around midnight August 6 near the Clearwater River Casino.  Public nuisance is defined as unlawfully interfering with, obstructing, or rendering dangerous for passage a public street, highway, or road, according to court documents. Continue reading

Megaloads, Keystone XL are a Global Climate Issue


Nez Perce Trail

As I enjoy the last day of summer break, before I return back to school, I have been thinking about the recent media publicity that my tribal community has received regarding the Keystone XL pipeline [tar sands megaloads].

As an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe and a mother to three beautiful children, a couple weeks ago, our community, the Nimiipuu (aka the Real People) stood in solidarity with our First Nations brothers and sisters in Canada who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline [and tar sands mining expansion].

Although regional media has highlighted the Nez Perce tribal council arrests and members of our community for their Indigenous activism, what media has failed to see is that our community has been protesting the megaloads for well over two years.  It just happens that we held our first town hall meeting in March 2011, when Winona La Duke shared information on the negative effects of the Keystone XL [and Alberta tar sands exploitation] and the importance of protest.

In collaboration with the grassroots organizations Friends of the Clearwater and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (who have worked tirelessly on this environmental issue), our tribal council made an informed decision with the intention of making it known that the Nimiipuu oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and the transportation of megaloads through our ancestral homelands.

Read more: Megaloads, Keystone XL are a Global Climate Issue

(By Renee Holt, Nez Perce tribal member)

Rolling Onward, Slowly


Protesters unable to stall oversized shipment, but tribe plans to take the fight to court today

Nez Perce tribal members and other megaload protesters were largely unsuccessful Wednesday night in their efforts to slow the shipment as it travels on U.S. Highway 12 en route to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

But the Nez Perce Tribe’s work to halt the load is expected to continue today. Nez Perce Tribal Chairman Silas Whitman said Wednesday the tribe plans to file legal action this afternoon seeking to stop the load.

Approximately 100 protesters started Wednesday night gathered at Canoe Camp at Orofino along Highway 12 awaiting the arrival of the shipment. The oversized load began the evening just west of Pink House, with plans to move through Kamiah and end its third day of travel at Kooskia.

The protesters carried signs with messages such as “Idle no more, Nez Perce Tribe,” and “Megaloads not welcome.” Continue reading