Missoula Megaload Protest on Thursday Night!

On Wednesday night, March 12-13, the third Omega Morgan transport originating at the Port of Umatilla, Oregon, and carrying Alberta tar sands mining equipment traveled from Darby to Lolo, Montana, and will traverse Missoula on Thursday night, March 13-14, after midnight.  Indian Peoples Action (IPA), Blue Skies Campaign, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, and other Rising Tide groups and allies are again organizing and supporting round dances in the middle of Reserve Street, to temporarily block this megaload and share opposition to tar sands development with the world.  As we await an official media release and action alert (posted as soon as possible from the road), IPA is calling on all Natives and allies in Missoula and beyond to join in this respectful, non-violent protest with no intentions of arrests.  Action organizers are bringing independent media to ensure wide coverage, and are hoping to double participation from about 70 people at the previous Missoula megaload protest on January 23.

Contact Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) at 208-301-8039 for 12:30 pm Moscow, Idaho, carpools, and Terry Hill of Spokane Rising Tide at Facebook.com/Terry.Hill.509 for 3:00 pm Spokane, Washington, carpools to Missoula on Thursday afternoon, March 13.  Montana activists have arranged lodging for participants visiting Missoula.  Plan to meet for this great indigenous-led event at the Rosauers parking lot at 2350 South Reserve in Missoula, at 12 midnight on Thursday/Friday, March 13-14.  If you have any questions, please email Kathy Little Leaf at peiganndn@gmail.com or indianpeoplesaction@gmail.com or see the Indian Peoples Action facebook page at Facebook.com/IndianPeoplesAction for more information.  Based on the ever-changing schedule of transports in transit, WIRT will regularly update the tentative dates, times, places, and carpool arrangements of other Montana protesting and monitoring activities at various locations as they arise, on the WIRT website and facebook pages.  Idle No More!

Round 3: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (February 16 Wild Idaho Rising Tide) (facebook event)

Third Omega Morgan Megaload Southern Idaho Report

Missing Oregon/Idaho Megaload

In response to the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) atypical early warning on Friday, February 14, that an Omega Morgan tar sands megaload would cross into Idaho during the ensuing, usual dearth of weekend media information, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) reluctantly composed a call-to-action for southern Idaho on February 16 [1].  We remembered the last time that WIRT proclaimed that this could be the “last chance” to protest megaloads on a certain route, in that last case, Highway 12, as the first Omega Morgan shipments rolled in October and December 2012.  WIRT and allies assumed that Idaho Rivers United would win their federal court case during the following February, which they did.  But Omega Morgan nonetheless tried to access Highway 12 again in August 2013, and the world knows what happened next.  Of the eight to ten loads that the hauling company originally proposed for Highway 12 since last summer, one entire load crossed Highway 12, another traversed Highway 95 in five parts during October and November 2013, and three core pieces have launched from Oregon.  WIRT is wondering where the other three to five Omega Morgan shipments went.  Do the three latest transports really signal the conclusion of eastern Oregon/southern Idaho route use, or will tar sands infrastructure haulers keep coming, not to mention through the Highway 95 sacrifice zone?  Although we understand the difficulty in turning from the dead-end, destructive, fossil-fuel path that currently careens the world into climate chaos, we are amazed at how much money corporations keep investing in these ridiculous megaload maneuvers, as activists work to correct their course.

WIRT received news on Monday, February 17, that the third Omega Morgan tar sands megaload originating at the Port of Umatilla was still in Oregon [2].  We suspected that our press release on the previous day nudged the regional media into keeping citizens informed about this issue.  But during its emergence from a media blackout, the transport left John Day and traveled during daylight hours, to avoid possible night-time ice and fog over Eldorado Pass.  As during Oregon passage of the first two Omega Morgan megaloads, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) again allowed the heavy hauler to change its permit and thus compromise the safety and convenience of daytime travelers without advance notice [3].  To accommodate Big Oil profits, state governments apparently work for the corporations or higher government, not the people.  WIRT and allies once more encouraged Oregonians to call or email ODOT director Matthew Garrett in politely forceful protest of this policy, based on information provided by All Against the Haul, a partner group that has mobilized Montanans and helped Act on Climate initiate the Oregon lawsuit against megaloads [4].

On the same day, February 17, the Mountain Home News declared that the third shipment, using the same route and schedule as previous loads, could pass through its city in Elmore County on either Tuesday or Wednesday nights that week, depending on how fast it moved after entering southern Idaho [5].  But protesters did not anticipate the megaload arriving in Idaho until these nights, particularly if weather and road conditions slowed it down.  While constantly and tentatively updating our event announcement and postponing the schedule of the first, soonest possible demonstration in Marsing among successive Idaho protests, WIRT experienced difficulty locating the Omega Morgan transport, likely still in eastern Oregon.  We contacted a Boise news agency that said the megaload was last reported in Vale, Oregon, but neither Vale nor Marsing area businesses had seen it yet.  Finally, on Wednesday, February 19, a Wood River Valley newspaper reported that:

The megaload…was parked Tuesday afternoon alongside U.S. Highway 26, about 23 miles southeast of Unity, Oregon, and about 45 miles northwest of Vale, Oregon…  Wild Idaho Rising Tide and other environmental groups have staged numerous protests, including at Timmerman Junction, as the megaloads travel toward Athabasca.  The organization announced in its news release that a protest is planned for Timmerman Junction when the third megaload passes through…  The organization and other environmental groups claim they oppose the shipments because of the potential for road and bridge damage and because the Athabasca tar sands operation causes irreversible environmental damage, leads to large emissions of greenhouse gases, pollutes both ground and surface water, ruins wetlands for numerous species of migrating waterfowl, and violates treaty agreements with Indian tribes in both the U.S. and Canada [6]. Continue reading

Letter to Eastern Oregonians: Megaload Road Damage Informatio​n and Solidarity

Nyssa City Manager and Councilors, Argus Observer Editorial Board, Mr. Allison, and Mr. Moore,

Although this message is long overdue, your north Idaho neighbors are nonetheless grateful for your recent expressions of concern about possible road damages and jurisdictional discrepancies imposed on eastern Oregonians by permitting and passage of three Omega Morgan-hauled “megaloads” [1, 2, 3].  As a correction to an excerpt of the second cited article below, “This is largely the same route that ExxonMobil used in 2012.  The number of those shipments in 2012?  Thirty-two.”, we would like to note that over 70 megaloads weighing up to 415,000 pounds traversed Highway 95 and Moscow between July 15, 2011, and March 6, 2012.  They originally numbered 33, but Mammoet split their 30-foot heights in half, to accommodate their movement under interstate overpasses.

A few weeks ago, just before the latest Oregon megaload onslaught and citizen resistance in the courts and streets that has kept us busy, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and four Moscow and Coeur d’Alene conservation- and climate change-oriented groups sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration and other state and federal agencies, describing our concerns about the three 1.6-million-pound, Mammoet-hauled megaloads proposed for transport, via Highways 95 and 200 and Interstate 90, to a tar sands refinery tripling production in Great Falls [4].  We plan to circulate a media release about this statement soon and trust that you will find the following excerpt useful.  Please see the original letter for citations and links, especially to photos of Highway 95 road damage inflicted by ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil megaloads, also carried by Mammoet. Continue reading

Round 3: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests!

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests Flyer 2 Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), 350 Boise, and Occupy Boise are again organizing megaload protesting and monitoring activities at Marsing, Mountain Home, Timmerman Junction, Arco, and Salmon, Idaho, and supporting blockades organized by Indian Peoples Action, Blue Skies Campaign, and Northern Rockies Rising Tide in Missoula and other Montana locations [1, 2].  Based on the ever-changing schedule of transports in transit, WIRT will regularly update the tentative dates, times, places, and carpool arrangements of these events on the WIRT website and facebook pages.  Please bring your family, friends, and neighbors, and come prepared with protest signs, banners, and equipment, musical instruments, voices, and chants, audio and video recorders, cameras, notepads, and your spirit of solidarity, regional resistance, and freedom of expression.

* Boise carpools to Marsing and Mountain Home: Contact Ann Ford of 350 Boise at annkeenan4d@gmail.com or 208-344-4675.  Meet at the Shopko sign/parking lot at 2655 South Broadway Avenue, at 8 pm MST on Thursday, February 20, for Marsing carpools, and at 9 pm MST on Friday, February 21, for Mountain Home carpools.

* Marsing protest: Also meet at the Marsing Elementary/Middle School parking lot, 205 Eighth Avenue West, Highway 78, at 9 pm on Thursday, February 20.

* Mountain Home protest: Also meet at the Pilot Travel Center, 1050 Highway 20 at Interstate 84 Exit 95, at 10 pm MST on Friday, February 21.

* Wood River Valley/Timmerman Junction protest: Meet to carpool in the Atkinsons Market parking lot, 757 North Main Street in Bellevue, at 9 pm MST on Saturday, February 22, or at the Timmerman Junction rest area, on the southwest corner of the U.S. Highway 20 and Idaho Highway 75 intersection, at 10 pm MST on Saturday, February 22.

* Pocatello/Blackfoot area carpools to Arco: Contact Levi Shoemaker at Facebook.com/Levi.Shoemaker2.  Meet at the Big Kmart sign/parking lot at 3945 Pole Line Road in Pocatello, at 8 pm MST on Saturday, February 22.

* Salmon protest: Meet at the Skate Park in Island Park, at 10 pm MST on Thursday, March 6.

* Missoula protest: Meet at the Rosauers parking lot at 2350 South Reserve in Missoula, at 12 midnight on Thursday/Friday, March 13-14.

* Spokane, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho, carpools to Missoula and Montana actions on Thursday, March 13: Contact Terry Hill of Spokane Rising Tide at Facebook.com/Terry.Hill.509.  Montana activists have arranged lodging for participants visiting Missoula.

* Megaload monitoring at various locations: Contact WIRT at 208-301-8039 and wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com.

* Contributions for organizer, monitor, and protester travel and potential legal expenses: Donate through WePay at WePay.com/Donations/907347297 and via mail to P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, ID 83843.

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests Flyer 2

Continue reading

Oregon Megaload Rally TONIGHT (Tuesday)!

Rally to Stop the Third Megaload 2-11-14

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Umatilla tribal members monitoring megaloads tonight (Wednesday) between Pilot Rock and likely Ukiah, Oregon, need our on-site solidarity and cooperative work, for their safety constantly compromised by cops.  See the monitoring notes about the Tuesday night megaload movement on the Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Portland Rising Tide facebook pages and below.

From Portland Rising Tide information:

The Oregon Department of Transportation permitted movement of the third Oregon megaload last week, just before a major regional snowstorm brought blizzard conditions up the Columbia Basin and snow to Lewiston area ports.  But as the snow melts, Portland Rising Tide and allies expect the Omega Morgan-hauled tar sands transport to move tonight, Tuesday, February 11.  They are hosting an anti-megaload rally at the Port of Umatilla, likely the last public opportunity in eastern Oregon to show tar sands profiteers that tribal and climate activists and Oregon citizens will not let them transform indigenous Umatilla homelands into a long-term, heavy haul route for dirty energy extraction equipment used to destroy the Earth and climate.

Please come prepared with warm clothes and rain gear for cold and rainy conditions, food and hot drinks, maps and protest signs and banners if you have them, and a plan for self-sufficiency and sleeping accommodations if you choose to stay overnight.  Most rally participants will return to Portland or other places after the protest.  Lowen is coordinating 3 pm ride shares converging outside the Cherry Sprout Grocery, 722 North Sumner Street in Portland.  Eddie is arranging 3 pm carpools departing the Red and Black Café at 400 SE 12th Avenue in Portland.  If you have space in your rally-bound vehicle or need a ride to participate, please stop by one of these locations and offer rides or gas funds for drivers.  Meet for a pre-rally gathering at the Quality Inn conference room, 705 Willamette Street in Umatilla, Oregon, at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 11.  Call Lowen at 503-407-8749 to discuss travel questions or issues. Continue reading

Rally and Court Action Against Third ODOT Megaload Permit

Rally and Court Action Against Third ODOT Megaload Permit

On Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Peo Peo Mox Mox Chief Yellowbird and Headman of the Walla Walla Tribe, Carl Sampson, and Peter Goodman, representing Act On Climate, filed a lawsuit in Marion County Circuit Court, a day after dozens of supporters gathered outside.  Their case requests a court review of a permit issued by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for Omega Morgan to haul a third tar sands mining equipment megaload on eastern Oregon scenic highways passing through tribal lands.

Their “Petition for Review of Agency Decision” asserts that ODOT failed to meet its legal obligations to determine whether “the public interests will be served” before it granted the permit on Thursday, February 6, 2014.  Federal and state laws mandate prior state government consultation with tribal governments, and Oregon statutes require ODOT determination of public interests, before issuing megaload variance permits.  The plaintiffs do not believe that ODOT is following state laws restricting such permitting to reflect public interests, unless the department first provides formal opportunities for the public to comment. Continue reading

Port of Umatilla Megaload Blockader Charges Resolved

On Thursday, February 6, 2014, climate justice activist Cathy Sampson-Kruse and her attorney, Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), successfully resolved her Umatilla County Circuit Court case regarding her act of nonviolent civil disobedience that attempted to stop an Omega Morgan transport of megaload equipment, on its way to Alberta tar sands mining operations on December 2, 2013.*  Police arrested Cathy while she put her body upon the roadway, causing the obscenely large equipment to temporarily halt its path of destruction.  Ms. Sampson-Kruse, a Native American elder, grandmother, mother, and the daughter of Chief Yellowbird of the Walla Walla Tribe, has inspired her community and the climate justice movement.  After county sheriffs roughly arrested her and attempted to degrade her spirit, she was charged with disorderly conduct and the legally meritless charge of interfering with police.  On Thursday, Umatilla County Circuit Court followed the recommendation that she complete 20 hours of community service in exchange for a lesser violation conviction of disorderly conduct and dropped charges of interfering with police.  Ms. Sampson-Kruse and her attorney, Lauren Regan, are both pleased with this outcome.  Climate and tribal activists offer Cathy their gratitude, respect, and love, honoring her and all of the courageous regional protesters now and in the future, who prayed, sang, drummed, wrote, called, and supported Cathy’s and the movement’s shared spirit of megaload and tar sands resistance.  For more information or to donate to CLDC in Eugene, Oregon, please see the CLDC.org website or contact info@cldc.org or donate@cldc.org.

* Colin Murphey, Megaload Departs (December 3, 2013 Hermiston Herald)

(From a Civil Liberties Defense Center statement)

Northwest Protests of Omega Morgan-Hauled Tar Sands Megaloads

12 Transports, 39 Direct Confrontations, 52 Arrests, 2 Citations

Megaload One: Full Evaporator

1) Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) & Allied Protest & Monitoring: October 22, 2012 (Lewiston/Highway 12, Idaho)

2) WIRT & Allied Monitoring: October 23, 2012 (Highway 12, Idaho)

Mini-Megaloads Two & Three: Cylinders

WIRT Missed: December 3 & 4, 2012 (Highway 12, Idaho)

Megaload Four: Full Evaporator

3-6) Nez Perce Tribe & Allied Protests: August 5 to 8, 2013 (Highway 12, Idaho) 28 Arrests

7) Northern Rockies Rising Tide & Allied Protest: August 12, 2013 (Reserve Street, Missoula, Montana)

Mini-Megaloads Five to Eight: Dismantled Evaporator Outer Parts

8) WIRT & Allied Protest: October 15, 2013 (Washington Street, Moscow/Highway 95, Idaho)

Megaload Nine: Dismantled Evaporator Core

9) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 10, 2013 (Washington Street, Moscow/Highway 95, Idaho)

10) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 11, 2013 (Sherman Avenue, Coeur d’Alene/Interstate 90, Idaho)

11) WIRT & Allied Protest & Monitoring: November 12, 2013 (Front & Bank Streets, Wallace/Interstate 90, Idaho) Continue reading

Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! Missoula 1-24-14

At 12:30 am on Friday morning, January 24, a convoy of pilot and flagger vehicles, state, county, and city police escorts, and a 804,000-pound transport of tar sands mining equipment hauled by Portland, Oregon area-based Omega Morgan hesitantly rolled down Reserve Street in Missoula, Montana, and ground to a halt.  For a third night, about sixty mostly indigenous people from Missoula, Butte, Helena, and all over Montana and Canada sprang from the sidewalk near Central Avenue and filled the five-lane width of Reserve Street with singing, drumming, and round dancing.  Police respectfully backed off and stood by, letting the ceremony symbolizing solidarity and friendship continue for 10 to 15 minutes, while dozens of the vehicles and workers facilitating ecocide, genocide, and climate chaos idled all around the beautiful circle.  Together with the spirits of the Earth, ancestors, and elders, the strong prayers and actions of the Salish, Cree, Anishinabe, Blackfeet, and Cheyenne people who participated in person or from afar impressed everyone who heard the songs and watched the round dance.  A handful of drummers and singers – Amanda, Charles, Lionel, Q.J., and others – led two rounds of dancing around them, before the joyous blockaders slowly vacated the street.

As police encouraged the protesters to move toward the sidewalk, Charles stepped forward toward the convoy vehicles and police to speak for a few moments.  Three heroic grandmothers and friends, Claudia Brown, Gail Gilman, and Carol Marsh, stayed behind and sat in the road.  Police cited and released Gail and Carol, and arrested, booked, and released Claudia on bail, all on charges of disorderly conduct.  They had also arrested Carol on Tuesday night, when she bravely sat down in front of a megaload, blocking its path.  As the tar sands megaload convoy resumed progress toward the most destructive and expensive, fossil fuel extraction project on Earth, a young Native woman smudged its passage, and drumming, singing, and praying blessed the cool night air with hope that the injustices, devastation, and resulting climate change of tar sands exploitation will soon stop.  After Reserve Street cleared, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) videotaped Missoula city police issuing citations to two of the grandmothers, and interviewed Carol and Gail, to discern and share their motivations for responsibly blockading tar sands supply shipments.  Their courageous acts mark almost four years of similar on-the-ground resistance staged by tribal, climate, and conservation activists in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington since April 2010. Continue reading

Mega Mess Left at North Fork

State highway signs tell travelers that Idaho is too great to litter.

But apparently not all users – or managers – of Idaho roadways have gotten the message.

In a roadside pullout north of Salmon that drains to the North Fork of the Salmon River, a giant rig loaded with oil field equipment bound for the tar sands of Canada sat for two weeks.  After it was gone, several locals and environmentalists raised concerns about what was left behind.

The megaload got moving again with some help from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), which applied 1,000 gallons of de-icer on ice at the pullout, to help get the load moving again.

News of the state’s use of de-icer along a stream with designated critical habitat for threatened fish, such as Chinook salmon, surfaced earlier this week after the megaload, hauled by Oregon shipper Omega Morgan, crossed Lost Trail Pass and entered Montana.

The 901,000-pound load of General Electric equipment had been parked in a pullout on U.S. Highway 93 North near Gibbonsville, waiting for proper permits and cooperative weather on the last leg of a weeks-long journey through Idaho that saw it cut through such cities as Arco, Leadore, and Salmon. Continue reading