Climate Justice Forum: Second, Lake Pend Oreille, Railroad Bridge Resistance, Anacortes Refinery Expansion Appeal Denial, Circuit Court Approval of Youth versus U.S. Climate Trial 3-14-18


The Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news and reflections on resistance to a second, Lake Pend Oreille, railroad bridge and inadequate, public participation processes, Skagit County commission denial of a Tesoro Anacortes refinery expansion permit appeal, a U.S. Circuit Court decision favoring youth plaintiffs over Trump administration dismissal of their landmark, constitutional, climate trial, two seventh annual celebrations of Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and other topics.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community opposition to fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

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Lake Bridge Comment Period, Moscow WIRT Meeting & Film, Seventh WIRT Celebration

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February 26: BNSF Lake Bridge Permit Application Release

On Monday, February 26, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) released for mere, 30-day, public review Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s (BNSF) joint application to construct a “2.2-mile-long, second, mainline track west of the existing, BNSF mainline, to connect the North Algoma Siding track (MP 5.1) south of Sandpoint, to the Sandpoint Junction switch (MP 2.9), where the BNSF and the Montana Rail Link (MRL) mainlines converge in Sandpoint…[The] applicant proposes to start construction in the fall of 2018.  The permit would authorize construction for a period of five years,” including rail bridges over Sand Creek and almost one mile over Lake Pend Oreille [1].

The City of Sandpoint, bigger green, organizational partners, coal/oil train/terminal opposition network, local, #No2ndBridge group, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and allied activists are coordinating responses and will send comment suggestions soon, continuing frontline, second BNSF lake bridge vigilance and resistance commenced in August 2014.  “The second rail bridge is likely to be a contentious proposal within Sandpoint.  BNSF officials say the second bridge will help alleviate wait times caused by rail traffic in town.  However, with train traffic estimated to double in the area by 2035, Sandpoint officials and conservation activists worry the convenience carries a higher risk of a disastrous accident.” [2]  “The bridge proposal has drawn the opposition of Wild Idaho Rising Tide, which contends the span will ultimately exacerbate climate change, because it will facilitate the trade of domestic coal and oil products.” [3]  Although the “Port of Vancouver and Vancouver Energy, which wanted to build the nation’s largest rail-to-marine, oil terminal at the port, mutually agreed to end the company’s lease on Wednesday, [February 28,] a month early,” “an estimated 58 trains use the BNSF rail line per day.  It’s expected by 2035, that number will increase to 114 trains daily, according to a [Spokane] city report.” [4, 5]

Before sending your more thorough, written comments addressing the application for and myriad impacts of this expansion of the Northwest pipeline-on-wheels over the fifth deepest U.S. lake, please demand from the Army Corps and IDL a comment period extension of 90 days, public hearings, and a full environmental impact statement.  Alongside diverse, citizen stakeholders, many indigenous, federal, and state agencies involved in or affected by this decision (U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, and Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho departments of Environmental Quality, Historic Preservation, Lands, and Water Resources, and the Coeur d’Alene, Kalispel, Kootenai, Salish, and Spokane tribes) require additional opportunities, time, and documentation to responsibly share information and analyze this largest construction project in decades on and near Lake Pend Oreille and the hundreds of pages of the BNSF application [6].

The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest.  This decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources…Comments are used in the preparation of an environmental assessment [the current, inadequate, Army Corps choice] and/or an environmental impact statement, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing, and to determine the overall public interest in the proposed activity.

…Any person may request in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing is held to consider this proposed activity.  Requests for a public hearing shall state specific reasons for holding a public hearing.  A request may be denied if substantive reasons for holding a hearing are not provided or if there is otherwise no valid interest to be served.

…Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the proposed activity, which will become a part of the record and will be considered in the final decision.  Please mail all comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, Attn: Shane Slate, Coeur d’Alene Regulatory Office, 1910 Northwest Boulevard, Suite 210, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814-2676, or email NWW_BNSF_Pendoreille@usace.army.mil.  Comments should be received no later than the comment due date of March 28, 2018, as indicated on this notice, to receive consideration. [1]

Issuing a separate, public notice, the Idaho Department of Lands is also holding a public comment period on the proposed project and associated materials, ending on March 30, 2018 [7].  Send your message encouraging BNSF permit denial to comments@idl.idaho.gov or through the IDL website.  Citizens can also share their concerns with the U.S Coast Guard, charged with issuing or denying permits for bridges and causeways in or over navigable waters of the United States, and overseeing compliance with National Historic Preservation Act and Endangered Species Act consultation, for the proposed bridge projects over Sand Creek and Lake Pend Oreille.  But the Army Corps and Coast Guard cannot grant permits until the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) evaluates whether to issue, waive, or deny Clean Water Act water quality certification for discharge of project dredge and fill material, within 60 days or, by IDEQ-requested extension, longer.  Please see the Army Corps public notice about this project, for pertinent agency contact information [1].

Besides contributing written comments, and hopefully oral testimony, toward the lopsided and thus oppressive, power dynamics of these “public participation processes,” WIRT and regional allies are planning public information sessions, targeted protests, and a summer, #No2ndBridge, direct action camp, to catalyze further resistance to this industrial invasion of crucial, home waters and wetlands. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Released Lake Pend Oreille Rail Bridge Application, Newport Silicon Smelter Resisters March, Port of Vancouver Oil Terminal Lease Termination, Anacortes Refinery Expansion Opposition, Canadian Navy Ship Fuel Spill 2-28-18


The Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news and reflections on the recently released, railroad application to build a second, Lake Pend Oreille bridge, endangered, lake, bull trout recovery plans, a Newport, silicon smelter resisters march, early, Port of Vancouver termination of the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal lease, Anacortes refinery expansion opposition, a Canadian navy ship fuel spill in the Strait of Georgia, and other topics.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community resistance to fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Sandpoint Railroad Issues Meeting, Second Lake Rail Bridge Application, Payette Riverside Gas Wells, Anti-Silicon Smelter Meeting & March, Jordan Cove LNG Project Protest, Solar Panel Tariff 2-21-18


The Wednesday, February 21, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a recording of an Idaho Conservation League, railroad issues meeting in Sandpoint, and news and reflections on an application to build a second, Lake Pend Oreille, rail bridge, Alta Mesa gas well drilling next to the Payette River, a WIRT and Newport silicon smelter resisters meeting and march, an Oregon meeting disruption by Jordan Cove LNG project protesters, and a Trump administration tariff on imported solar panels.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community resistance to fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Second Rail Bridge Application, WIRT & Smelter Resisters Meeting & March


2/13 Second Lake Rail Bridge Application

At the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) After Hours convergence in Sandpoint on February 13, ICL conservation associate Matt Nykiel revealed that Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for an individual (not a more lenient, general) permit to construct a second, parallel, 4800-foot, rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille in north Idaho [1].  The public comment period on this federal, BNSF application could open any day and last 30 to 90 days.  BNSF must also first receive a permit from the notoriously oil and gas industry-friendly Idaho Department of Lands, before the Army Corps can approve the project.  North Idaho activists and residents are calling on the Northwest community to halt this expansion of the longest water crossing and most bottlenecked section of the Northwest, coal and oil pipeline-on-wheels.

In the wake of four significant, northern Idaho and western Montana, train derailments during 2017, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s January 29 rejection of the proposed, Tesoro Savage, oil train terminal at the Port of Vancouver, on the day after WIRT hosted the Idaho to Inslee: No Vancouver Oil Terminal! rally in Sandpoint, and BNSF ran four oil trains through north Idaho in eight hours, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) continues to monitor and document full, westbound, coal and oil unit trains through the downtown Sandpoint frontline, the present, single-track, lake bridge, and the second bridge, pile load-testing site at Dog Beach Park, southeast of Sandpoint.

2/21 WIRT & Smelter Resisters Meeting

Please join the regional, climate activist community and #No2ndBridge group members at 7 pm on Wednesday, February 21, at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street in Sandpoint, for ongoing discussions and actions opposing Northwest, fossil fuel megaloads, trains, terminals, derailments, rail and lake bridge double-tracking, drilling, and waste injection wells, HiTestSand’s silicon smelter proposed for Newport, Washington, and exploratory, silicon drilling near Lakeview, Idaho.  For WIRT’s third-Wednesday monthly, Sandpoint gathering, we have reserved a larger venue than the usual, Eichardt’s Pub, upstairs room, to foster interest and participation in these issues and to host organizers of several groups of Old Town, Idaho, and Newport residents, including Citizens Against the Newport Silicon Smelter (CANSS), presenting an information session about smelter resistance, and linking our various, overlapping campaigns.

Invite your friends and families for an evening of conversations sharing knowledge, exploring connections, and creating strategies and tactics in support and solidarity with the movement against extreme fossil fuels and for clean energy and livable communities.  Welcoming your ideas and input, we offer potluck food and beverages and current, issue updates and background at this meeting.  See the January and February, Sandpoint meeting alerts for other possible topics of discussion (dirty energy protesting, monitoring, and reporting and direct action training, mobilizing, and fundraising), and contact WIRT via email or phone, with your questions and suggestions [2, 3].

2/24 Newport Anti-Smelter March

CANSS and allies are coordinating and co-hosting a peaceful, public protest of HiTestSand’s proposed, Newport, silicon smelter [4].  Staging at Stratton Elementary School, 1201 West Fifth Street in Newport, at 10 am on Saturday, February 24, they welcome the participation of fellow citizens, WIRT activists, and the regional media, in the march that will proceed on U.S. Highway 2 sidewalks into Newport, down Washington Avenue to Union Street, and back to Highway 2.  Wear comfortable shoes and warm clothing, bring anti-smelter signs, and demonstrate your smelter resistance for city, county, state, and company officials.  See the accompanying link to the CANSS March through Newport event announcement on facebook, and/or attend the February 21, WIRT meeting, where smelter objectors provide further information and material describing this event [4].

Expand your involvement in activism confronting the root causes of climate change with local, grassroots, and indigenous partners, by sharing this alert (also posted on the WIRT website and facebook pages) and participating in these ongoing, networking opportunities to enhance continent-wide work to stop fossil fuel infrastructure, extraction, and transportation.  Thanks! Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Lake Rail Bridge & Silica Drilling Meetings, Fatal Railroad Crossing Upgrades, Fossil Fuel Industry in Public Lands, 2017 Oil & Gas Well Increase, North Dakota Valve Turner Incarceration 2-14-18


The Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features a recording of the Idaho Conservation League, rail bridge update meeting in Sandpoint, and news and reflections on north Idaho, railroad crossing upgrades and an exploratory, silica drilling proposal, a Trump administration directive allowing fossil fuel industry exploitation of public lands, a nationwide increase of oil and gas drilling rigs last year, tar sands pipeline valve turner Michael Foster’s North Dakota incarceration, and various, activist support appeals.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community resistance to fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

February WIRT & Allied Events


Tuesday, February 13: ICL Rail Bridge Update

Among a convergence of members, food, and beverages, Idaho Conservation League (ICL) conservation associate Matt Nykiel will offer current updates, background, and informal discussion about Washington Governor Inslee’s recent denial of the Tesoro Savage oil train terminal at the Port of Vancouver, significant, northern Idaho, and western Montana, train derailments during 2017, and ICL work in opposition to construction of the second, parallel, Lake Pend Oreille, rail bridge proposed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway [1]. Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) encourages regional, frontline activists and especially members of the #No2ndBridge group formed in spring 2017 to participate and share their knowledge and actions on these issues, from 6 to 7 pm on Tuesday, February 13, at Eichardt’s Pub, 212 Cedar Street in Sandpoint.

Wednesday, February 21: WIRT Sandpoint Meeting with Smelter Resisters

At WIRT’s January, third-Wednesday monthly, Sandpoint gathering, community and tribal activists talked about resistance to Northwest, fossil fuel terminals and HiTestSand’s silicon smelter proposed for Newport, Washington. We have since been exploring the connections between the nightmarish, Newport project and BNSF and Union Pacific double-tracking and planning for a second, lake, rail bridge in north Idaho during 2017, megaload shipments moving through late-night, downtown Sandpoint over the last year, and exploratory drilling for silicon near Green Mountain by Lakeview, Idaho.  WIRT has invited organizers of several groups of Old Town, Idaho, and Newport residents, including Citizens Against the Newport Silicon Smelter (CANSS), to present an information session about smelter resistance, linking our various, overlapping campaigns. Continue reading

Know Your Rights Training Workshop


Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) is hosting a know-your-rights (KYR) training workshop presented by Dana Johnson, a public interest attorney, wildlands, wildlife, and megaload activist defender, and Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) board secretary.  At 7 pm on Wednesday, February 7, at The Attic, up the back stairs of 314 East Second Street in Moscow, Idaho, the free talk provides legal resources for activists and community members, to effectively invoke and protect their rights during demonstrations and interactions with government agents.  Event organizers welcome donations for training and travel costs, and appreciate the input of everyone who can attend the workshop and the following, first-Wednesday, monthly, Moscow, WIRT meeting.

“Realizing that social and environmental justice often demand a firm challenge to the status quo,” Dana has previously given know-your-rights sessions in Moscow, as part of the October 2015 Idaho Flood the System Trainings and the initial, January 2011 gathering of 50 citizens who catalyzed WIRT inception, concerned about regional, tar sands megaload onslaughts [1-3].  Her north Idaho legal practice offers groups and activists creative, legal analysis, representation, and federal litigation in protection of the northern Rockies Big Wild, including legal observer coordination and activist education and support services.

The indigenous, grassroots, and climate justice movements have expanded across the Northwest and the continent over the last decade, as the extreme energy/fossil fuel industry and facilitating governments have rampaged common lands and civil liberties, violating the constitutional and treaty rights of frontline activists and communities.  As environmental, social, and political strife intensifies in the United States and around the world, and asserting rights becomes imperative, the surge of activists filling roads, rails, and rivers with resistance demands their greater understanding “of the historical and ongoing threats to the safety and security of the broader, activist community,” from corporations, governments, and other institutions attempting repression [4].

CLDC and WIRT support movements striving to dismantle systems of inequality and forces of destruction, by sharing specialized, field-experienced knowledge adapted to workshop participants [5].  This KYR session aims to impart the skills and confidence crucial to making informed choices, protecting rights and private data, and upholding accountability, while engaging in activism.  Training discussion topics could include the specific rights of individuals living in the U.S., when and in which circumstances those rights apply, and how personal actions, or perceived actions, can limit the extension of rights.  What are the differences between legal and potentially illegal, protester and police behaviors?  Which questions and statements said to law enforcement officers can invoke rights?  How have recent laws, prosecutions, grand juries, and digital communication impacted the progression of movements? Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Vancouver Celebration, Regional Rallies, & Washington Governor Rejection of Oil Terminal, Spokane Train Blockader Court Case, Gas Well Drilling near Payette River, Legal Challenge of Bayou Bridge Pipeline 1-31-18


The Wednesday, January 31, 2018 Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide, features news and reflections on regional celebrations and articles applauding Washington Governor Inslee’s rejection of the Tesoro Savage oil train terminal in Vancouver, Sandpoint and Spokane oil pipelines-on-wheels and terminal decision influences, Spokane fossil fuel train blockader George Taylor’s court case, Alta Mesa gas well drilling near the Payette River in southwest Idaho, and a legal challenge of Bayou Bridge pipeline construction in Louisiana.  Broadcast for six years on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow, every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, the show describes continent-wide, community resistance to fossil fuel projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Idaho to Inslee: No Vancouver Oil Terminal!


The summer and fall of 2017 brought the devastating storms, floods, wildfires, and smoke that fossil-fueled climate change is increasingly inflicting on communities throughout the world.  On any day before February 17, the four-state, Northwest resistance to the Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal expects a decision by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on this proposed, environmental and public health disaster.  The facility at the Port of Vancouver, Washington, would transfer up to 360,000 barrels of crude oil per day from five additional, daily, oil trains to storage tanks and marine ships, handling oil quantities comparable to 42 percent of proposed, Keystone XL pipeline capacity.  Consequently, the terminal would bring ten fully and residually loaded, mile-long, explosive oil trains each day through Sandpoint, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, threatening regional, rail-line communities and critical water bodies, like Lake Pend Oreille, with possible oil train derailments, spills, and fires.  This project would also sharply increase oil train, barge, and ship traffic along the Columbia River, risking oil spills that could kill large numbers of already dwindling salmon populations.

On Thursday afternoon, January 18, 350 Spokane and The Lands Council co-hosted a public rally and press conference with speakers, at the Saranac/Community Building in Spokane, to urge Governor Inslee to deny state approval of the Tesoro Savage oil terminal in Vancouver, and to stand in solidarity with people across the Northwest opposed to the facility [1].  Several, west-side Washington groups – Stand Up to Oil, 350 Seattle, Columbia Riverkeeper, Earth Ministry, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter, Washington Environmental Council, and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility – are also co-sponsoring a rally, media conference, and speakers at the King Street Station in Seattle, Washington, on Thursday, January 25 [2].  They plan to thank Governor Inslee in advance for rejecting North America’s largest, oil train terminal and all other fossil fuel infrastructure and transportation projects in Washington, including fracked gas and petrochemical proposals.

In north Idaho and western Montana in 2017, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), Montana Rail Link (MRL), and Union Pacific Railroad have jeopardized regional residents with seven derailments and accidents and two deaths [3].  During summer and fall 2017, BNSF double-tracked much of its north Idaho corridor, and drilled two pile load tests for a second, planned, rail bridge parallel to the almost mile-long span carrying coal and oil trains over the regional, Lake Pend Oreille water source.  Meanwhile, BNSF and MRL moved volatile, Bakken crude oil trains, like the one that wrecked and ignited in Mosier, Oregon, in June 2016, through an eventually combusted, coal train spill along and into the upstream Clark Fork River, neglected for clean-up during six weeks of an extraordinarily smoky, wildfire season in the surrounding watershed.

With plenty of momentum in our favor, concerned, interior Northwest citizens have been peacefully protesting the Tesoro Savage, pipeline-on-wheels terminal since its first, public scoping hearing in Spokane, on December 11, 2013 [4].  At 10 am on Sundays, January 28 and February 4 and 11, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and grassroots allies are providing some of the last opportunities for north Idahoans to together express our ongoing resistance to the largest, crude oil-by-rail terminal in North America.  Please wear red to symbolize your opposition to fossil fuels, bring your friends, family, and distantly visible signs and banners, and gather at the City Beach Park pavilion in Sandpoint, to help stop this Earth and climate polluting, dirty energy infrastructure.  WIRT will send photos of the convergences near the BNSF rail bridge, along with letters to Governor Inslee, encouraging him to reject the Tesoro Savage Vancouver Energy Distribution Terminal.  See and share the description and links about recent issue developments, and contact us with your questions and ideas and for further information.

Recent Issue Background

Check the WIRT facebook page for ongoing, current updates.

On August 29, 2013, Andeavor (formerly Tesoro) and Savage corporations, partnering as Tesoro Savage Petroleum LLC, submitted their application to build and operate the largest, oil-by-rail terminal in North America, at the Port of Vancouver, Washington [5].  As partially summarized in a timeline of this fossil fuel infrastructure saga, compiled by the Stand Up to Oil coalition opposed to the facility, the project approval process has met resistance from government agencies and the public throughout the Northwest [6]. Continue reading