Omega-Loads No More Again!

Second Nez Perce Megaload Protest [BH2]

[THURSDAY UPDATE: The Nez Perce tribal community, several conservation groups, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists are staging a protest tonight, to directly confront the Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands megaload that rolled past its planned Kooskia parking stop to Highway 12 Milepost 90 in Syringa last night. Please bring your friends, family, comrades, and documentation tools described in WIRT’s original action alert and meet to carpool at either 5 pm or 6 pm PDT tonight, August 8, from the sidewalk in front of the Friends of the Clearwater office in Moscow (116 East Second Street) to the Clearwater Valley. Idaho Rivers United, Friends of the Clearwater, and Fighting Goliath are hosting a Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic River rally at 7 pm PDT, converging at 5695 Highway 12, where participants can preferably park closely together, either along or diagonally on the driveway at Highway 12 milepost 77.4, instead of in more visible, nearby highway turnouts. Tribal and allied resistance will gather in the general vicinity of the evaporator parked in the private lot of Terry and Becky Jackson, who lift the milepost 83 tram cable for megaload passage and who erected the roadside sign stating “Megaloads Keep Idaho Green $$$.” The tar sands module, which will desecrate indigenous lives, rights, waters, and lands at its destination, now occupies the traditional Nez Perce homeland, the wild and scenic river corridor, and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.]

The Nez Perce Tribe has vowed that it will continue nightly protests until it rids its reservation and ancestral homeland from the ravages of tar sands/industrial equipment and resulting ecological, social, and climate devastation.  Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Occupy Spokane are infinitely grateful that the people and places directly confronting tar sands supply routes are growing!  Please join carpools of megaload protesters from Friends of the Clearwater (FOC) and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), sustaining our support of Nez Perce resistance and departing the sidewalk outside the FOC office (116 East Third Street in Moscow) at 8 pm on Wednesday, August 7, and Thursday, August 8.  On Wednesday, we will journey to Highway 12 milepost 38.8, the Pink House pull-off near Orofino that an Omega Morgan megaload currently occupies, and on Thursday, we will travel to other Clearwater Valley locations that the evaporator may reach.  On both and potentially successive nights, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has permitted the megaload convoy to resume passage toward Alberta tar sands operations at 10 pm.  Please bring your friends and family, spirit of solidarity, protest signs and banners, video and still cameras, audio recorders, food, and beverages for the third, fourth, and perhaps many more showdowns between the heroic Nez Perce community and yet another industrial/police invasion.  WIRT will update this action alert as further opportunities for megaload opposition arise. Continue reading

Omega Morgan Megaloads at Nez Perce Border, August 5-6, 2013

The Nez Perce Tribe asserts its sovereignty, stopping a gigantic, oversize General Electric load en route to Canadian tar sands operations at its reservation border for about two hours.  Neither the tribe nor the U.S. Forest Service have approved these Omega Morgan-hauled loads to travel through Nez Perce land, the Clearwater/Lochsa Wild and Scenic River Corridor, or the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, across most of U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho.  Idaho State Police escorts eventually impose their force to let the megaload pass.

(All videos provided by Zachary Johnson)

First part, the initial half-hour of the August 5-6 Nez Perce and allies’ megaload blockade

Second part, from 30 to 50 minutes into the August 5-6 Nez Perce and allies’ megaload blockade

Continue reading

Updates on Highway 12 Tar Sands Megaload Protests

A megaload waits on Monday at the Port of Wilma (Lewiston Tribune/Elaine Williams photo).

A megaload waits on Monday at the Port of Wilma (Lewiston Tribune/Elaine Williams photo).

Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee member Brooklyn Baptiste speaks during a megaload protest on Monday night at the Clearwater River Casino (Lewiston Tribune photo).

Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee member Brooklyn Baptiste speaks during a megaload protest on Monday night at the Clearwater River Casino (Lewiston Tribune photo).

UPDATE 11:15 pm Tuesday, August 6: The megaload is moving again, but slower than a walking pace.

Idaho State Police, Nez Perce County sheriff’s deputies, and Nez Perce Tribal Police are urging people to stay off the roadway.  Protesters are taking issue with tribal police for their role in trying to keep the megaload moving, rather than protecting the tribe and its homeland.

“We have the right to assemble, we have the right to protest.  It’s in the Constitution,” said Del Rae Kipp of Lapwai, who is one of the protesters facing charges from last night’s blockade near the Clearwater River Casino.

“That megaload is violating a court order.  Make it stop,” Lana Rickman of Lapwai shouted at police and Omega Morgan employees, as the shipment crawled along the highway.

Law enforcement personnel have arrested at least two people thus far tonight. Continue reading

No Tar Sands Omega-Loads Shall Pass!

Omega Morgan Megaloads FOC 4 Modified 7-22-13

[AUGUST 6 UPDATE: Our allies among the Nez Perce Tribe, Idle No More, and several conservation groups opposing tar sands megaload transports on U.S. Highway 12 are calling on Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) to participate in protests again tonight, Tuesday, August 6, as the Omega Morgan-hauled evaporator and its convoy depart the Arrow Bridge vicinity at 9 pm.  A carload of WIRT activists is departing the sidewalk outside the Friends of the Clearwater office (116 East Third Street in Moscow) with the WIRT banner at an unknown time.  Please call 208-310-1790 for more information about carpools and join us!]

As megaload hauler Omega Morgan attempts to defy the authority of the Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to review and regulate transport of massive Alberta tar sands equipment through the national forests and wild and scenic river corridor surrounding U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) appreciates, supports, and encourages the courageous resistance of Nez Perce tribal members.  If the Portland, Oregon-based company imposes its 644,000-pound General Electric Corporation evaporator onto the Nez Perce Reservation from the Port of Wilma after 10 pm on Monday, August 5, WIRT activists will peacefully stand with our tribal allies in earnest solidarity against the genocide and ecocide wrought by this megaload’s impending bitumen extraction in Canada.  We share deep concerns and opposition to the fossil fuel industry’s aggressive disregard and adverse impacts on the unique Nez Perce traditional homeland and landmarks, cultural and treaty-reserved resources, and tribal commerce and government function.  Please meet to carpool from the corner of Second and Washington streets in Moscow at 8:30 pm and/or from Locomotive Park in Lewiston at 9:30 pm on Monday evening, to demonstrate our collective outrage at Omega Morgan’s plan to move the first of ten proposed tar sands shipments, measuring over 250 feet long, 23 feet high, and 21 feet wide, through the cherished lands and waters that sustain the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) people.  To learn about opportunities to protest and monitor this megaload, contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide at or at 208-310-2108 and 208-301-8039.

Despite a February ruling by federal judge B. Lynn Winmill, affirming Forest Service/FHA authority over Highway 12 megaload permits, Omega Morgan barged two evaporators to the Port of Wilma, Washington, a few miles downriver from Lewiston, Idaho, on July 22, provoking urgent conflict with numerous opposing interests.  On Friday, August 3, the Idaho Transportation Department issued a permit for pending transport of one of these megaloads, but the Forest Service has not granted approval for it to cross the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and the Lochsa and Middle Fork of the Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor.  The Nez Perce Tribe executive committee passed an emergency resolution on Sunday, August 4, formally disputing these shipments through its reservation and homeland, as it challenged the Forest Service to use all legal avenues, including the courts, to stop them.  The tribal executive chairman asserted that the “tribe will not interfere with its members’ constitutional rights to lawfully assemble in opposition to the immediate threat of the transport of these two megaloads” and that it “would not prevent its own members from blocking the load,…[when] actions beyond mere words may be necessary, in order to have the Nez Perce Tribe’s voice heard.”*  Forest Supervisor Brazell has consistently reiterated that he will not allow the Omega Morgan incursion before consulting with the tribe, scheduled for August 20, but that he does not know if he has legal authority to physically block it.  Brazell and Forest Service officials plan to respond to Omega Morgan’s announcement of its transport intentions on Monday morning, August 5.  According to the contractor’s traffic control plan, its megaload would violate the first two of three Forest Service interim criteria for permit approval: it is greater than 16 feet wide and 150 feet long and would require more than 12 hours to travel through the national forest, but would not necessitate modification of the roadway or adjacent vegetation to facilitate passage.  However, the Omega Morgan module would obstruct both lanes of mostly two-lane Highway 12, with full traffic stoppage for less than 15 minutes at a time and ongoing, rolling roadblocks during its four-day journey to the Idaho/Montana border at Lolo Pass.

* Nez Perce Tribe Urges Forest Service to Stop Megaloads (August 5 Lewiston Tribune)

Nez Perce Tribe Urges Forest Service to Stop Megaloads

Tribal members encouraged to peacefully oppose move set for today

The Nez Perce Tribe challenged the U.S. Forest Service on Sunday to use “all legal avenues” to stop a pending megaload shipment from crossing national forest land and said it would not prevent its own members from blocking the load.

In a news release issued on Sunday evening, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Chairman Silas C. Whitman said he was shocked at the audacity of shipping company Omega Morgan, which announced on Friday its plans to begin moving a massive evaporator east on U.S. Highway 12 tonight.  The company has a permit from the Idaho Transportation Department but has not gained approval from the U.S. Forest Service.

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell has said he won’t authorize the shipments before consulting with the tribe.  But he also said he doesn’t know if he has legal authority to physically block them.

Whitman said the tribe believes the federal agency can and should stop the shipments.

“The Forest Service must not tolerate Omega Morgan’s open defiance of its authority and instead should aggressively assert, in court if necessary, the agency’s decision, so that the Nez Perce Tribe’s unique treaty-based interests and U.S. public’s interest in the national forest and wild and scenic river corridor are fully protected,” he said. Continue reading