Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Highway Expansion Lawsuit & Fossil Fuels Waste Disposal, Nevada Lithium Mine Archeology Dig, Pipeline Protesters Legal Challenges & Camp, Earth Day & Ren Fair Actions 4-20-22


The Wednesday, April 20, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections on an Idaho highway expansion legal challenge and donations and a proposed fossil fuels waste disposal well, a Nevada lithium mine archeological dig violating indigenous ancestors, rights, and sacred sites, criminalization and expenses of prosecuted water protectors opposing pipelines, a British Columbia First Nation call for frontline camp workers, and Earth Day and Renaissance Fair action opportunities across the Northwest.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

PRDC Donations, Earth Day, Ren Fair, & WIRT Opportunities


North Idaho Earth Day Climate March FlyerDefend Paradise Ridge: Fund PRDC!

As you may have read in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Lewiston Tribune, or Spokesman-Review, the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition (PRDC) is challenging for the fourth time in federal court the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and now also the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in an ongoing attempt to force selection of the central route for U.S. Highway 95 realignment south of Moscow, Idaho, rather than the eastern route higher on Paradise Ridge [1-3].  PRDC filed another legal complaint in the U.S. District Court of Idaho on Tuesday, March 22, against the Thorn Creek Road to Moscow highway project, planned by ITD to reroute and expand to four lanes a new, six-mile segment of Highway 95 [4].

Several years ago, ITD applied for a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit, to discharge fill material into Paradise Ridge wetlands for highway construction, and many Palouse and Northwest region residents sent comments against this project proposal.  ITD realized that it could not satisfy the stringent environmental requirements of a CWA “individual” project permit, which involves public input and a comparison of the different alignments.  So ITD requested and USACE granted a less rigorous, CWA “nationwide” permit for wetland impacts, intended for smaller, non-controversial projects and allowing ITD to begin ground work on its chosen, easternmost route, the E-2 alternative.

PRDC asserts that USACE incorrectly issued this CWA permit to ITD, because nationwide permits require that affected wetlands cover a half-acre or less.  In its earlier environmental impact statement (EIS), ITD not only described some of these wetlands as larger than a half-acre, but also documented the E-2 route as the most environmentally damaging of the three EIS-considered routes, which all meet the highway project’s safety and transportation goals.  But E-2 would inflict more significant harms on plants and wildlife of the Palouse Prairie, an ecosystem reduced by agriculture and development to less than one percent of its original extent, with remnants on Paradise Ridge.  Intact wetlands are crucial to this vanishing ecosystem, especially during the worsening droughts of the current climate crisis.  PRDC claims that the state agency improperly and arbitrarily reduced the documented size of several wetlands to less than a half-acre, to obtain this nationwide permit.

In three previous cases, PRDC has successfully argued that this project requires an EIS, instead of the less detailed environmental assessment prepared by ITD, and has alleged National Environmental Policy Act violations by the final EIS.  To win this current lawsuit, PRDC has hired wetland experts to analyze and help dispute ITD’s changes in its wetland determinations.  Along with attorney fees, this expensive phase of legal efforts, seeking an injunction against destroying essential wetlands, could cost at least $20,000.  Without enough advance time to secure funding from prior grant sources, PRDC is reliant on generous contributions from concerned, regional citizens.  Please send your check to the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition at P.O. Box 8804 in Moscow, Idaho 83843, or contact PRDC via its website or facebook pages, for information on donating stocks through its brokerage account [5].  PRDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, public interest organization that works to ensure and enhance the public safety, environmental integrity, and natural aesthetics of Paradise Ridge and its environs.  The coalition includes the member groups Palouse Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, and individual members.

Participate in Earth Day Events!

On Earth Day weekend, April 22 to 24, join Moscow, Sandpoint, and Spokane climate marches and a Moscow concert hosted by 350 Spokane, Friends of the Clearwater, KRFP Radio Free Moscow, Palouse Extinction Rebellion, Palouse Group of the Sierra Club, Spokane Falls Community College Environmental Club, and Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT).  From 1:30 to 4 pm on Friday, April 22, meet at the Pavilion in Riverfront Park, 574 North Howard Street in Spokane, Washington, and bring your friends, family, signs, chalk, and optional costume, mask, prop, or float depicting an animal, plant, insect, or organism, for a Gathering of Species leading a climate march that starts at 3 pm [6-8].  After music by performers, a rally by speakers, and information sharing by a variety of organizations, participants will voice their concerns and march on numerous blocks of downtown Spokane streets, demanding urgent action in preparing for climate crises and a cleaner, greener, safer world.

Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Highway Lawsuit Donations, Northwest Activism Film, Hidden Lithium Mine Evidence, B.C., West Virginia, & Scientist Protests, Fossil Fuel Banks 4-13-22


The Wednesday, April 13, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections on donation requests for north Idaho highway realignment legal challenges, a Northwest indigenous and climate activism film screening and panel discussion, hidden federal agency evidence in a Nevada lithium mine court case, protests of Canadian tar sands pipeline expansion and West Virginia coal plant political ties, an Alberta visit by Senator Manchin to revive the Keystone XL pipeline, worldwide climate scientist direct actions and arrests, global banks supporting fossil fuel infrastructure and climate chaos, and fundraising songs for Ukraine opposition to Russian invasion.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Erin Saylor on Northwest Pipeline Expansion, Highway 95 Lawsuit, Future Sustainability, Earth Day Events, WIRT 11th Anniversary 4-6-22


The Wednesday, April 6, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features Columbia Riverkeeper staff attorney Erin Saylor, talking about Keystone XL pipeline owner TC Energy’s plans to expand the Gas Transmission Northwest pipeline across north Idaho and the Northwest.  We also share news, music, and reflections on WIRT’s March 31 eleventh anniversary, an environmental coalition legal challenge of Highway 95 realignment, an indigenous presentation on future, sustainable life ways, and Earth Day events and climate marches in Moscow and Spokane.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Shelley Brock on Idaho Gas & Injection Wells, Highway 95 Reroute Challenge, Oregon Methanol Plant Closure, West Virginia Coal Protest 3-30-22


The Wednesday, March 30, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features Shelley Brock of Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability, talking about Idaho oil and gas waste injection and riverside extraction wells, an aquifer exemption, and water contamination.  We also share news, music, and reflections on a north Idaho legal challenge of highway expansion, a closed Oregon methanol facility, and a West Virginia coal plant protest.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Reject Fossil Fuels Waste Disposal Wells in Idaho!


Injection Well MapOn February 18, Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability (CAIA), Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), and concerned, regional residents testified at a WIRT-recorded, remote, public hearing, held via teleconference by the Region 10 water division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Seattle, Washington.  Most citizens who participated in oral remarks denounced a Snake River Oil and Gas (SROG) permit application to convert the DJS 2-14 oil and gas extraction well into the first, Idaho, Class II oil and gas waste,  underground injection control (UIC) well, in the Willow Sands field northeast of New Plymouth in Payette County [1, 2].  The Friday morning meeting also addressed SROG’s request for an exemption of the surrounding aquifer from its current designation as an underground drinking water source.  The EPA has issued a draft record of decision claiming that the aquifer is so contaminated, either by the incompatible presence of hydrocarbons or by operation of dozens of nearby oil and gas wells, that it cannot practically provide recovery of water for human consumption in the future.  Idaho activists continue to assert in testimony and comments that the EPA should reject both proposals, due to the myriad, well-documented dangers of oil and gas waste injection wells.

According to EPA and SROG officials, fluids injected into the DJS 2-14 well to depths between 4,900 and 5,500 feet below the surface would be separated from shallow, drinking water aquifers by claystone confining intervals.  However, SROG would implement “high-pressure injection of radioactive, chemical-laden, carcinogenic, industrial waste deep underground, directly through critical drinking water aquifers,” a common industry method that has poisoned private and public waters and caused earthquakes in oil and gas producing states during the last few decades [2].  SROG contends that it is only reinjecting naturally produced “water” into its original formations, neglecting to mention the “trade secret” toxic substances and hazardous materials used to drill wells and produce hydrocarbons at associated, local facilities.  This waste injection well would serve as the dumping hole, with predictably cracked, leaking casings, for millions of gallons of contaminated and possibly distantly transported, industry byproducts.

Through a possibly ghost-written, opinion piece in the conservative, online publication, Idaho Dispatch, Richard Brown of SROG attempted to disparage and discredit the valid concerns of CAIA and jeopardized Idahoans defending themselves from SROG’s toxic practices and damaging Class II wells [3].  Fortunately, his inaccurate depictions of potentially harmed home and business owners provided opportunities for an excellent rebuttal by CAIA president Shelley Brock, full of information from the attorneys, FracTracker Alliance, and academic and oil and gas industry expert Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, who have assisted CAIA over the last 18 months.  These credible sources encourage people to fight the corporate and government corruption, water contamination, and methane emissions of this first Idaho and all injection well permits and aquifer exemptions [4, 5].

After receiving multiple requests from members of the public, during the February 18 hearing, the EPA extended the deadline for public comments on this injection well application and aquifer exemption, from February 28 to 5 pm Mountain time on Wednesday, March 30.  Please send written, emailed (not mailed) messages and attachments to Evan Osborne (U.S. EPA Region 10 Ground Water and Drinking Water Section, 1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 155, MS 19-H16, Seattle, Washington 98101) at osborne.evan@epa.gov, specifically requesting another 30-day, comment period extension and inclusion of your remarks in the public record for draft permit ID-2D001-A, as described in posted WIRT action alerts and their links [6].  Include “UIC Class II Injection Well Draft Permit & Draft Aquifer Exemption Public Comment” in the subject line and your name, address, and telephone number in your statement, or call 206-553-1747 between 1 and 4 pm on Mondays through Fridays, to offer oral comments by phone.

For relevant facts and public input suggestions, see the enclosed and previous, WIRT, talking points, listen to the 36-minute, EPA hearing, and review the well application, aquifer exemption, and associated fact sheet at the EPA website [1, 6, 7].  Although its airs only a few hours before the current comment period ends, we also invite you to listen to a conversation with Shelley Brock of CAIA, recorded for WIRT’s Climate Justice Forum radio program that weekly describes grassroots, frontline resistance to the fossil fuel causes of climate change, broadcast every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm Pacific time, on-air at 90.3 FM and online, from progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow [8].  By March 29, we further encourage you to sign an informal, ongoing, public petition that has gathered hundreds of regional, hard-copy signatures since September 2014, demanding bans of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) well treatments and oil and gas waste injection wells in Idaho [9].

Please load the public record with as much credible evidence as possible, including entire news articles and government documents, to influence the EPA to deny SROG’s Class II disposal well permit and aquifer exemption requests.  Unfortunately, like many federal agency personnel more pressured by industry than citizens, the EPA has mostly heard from the SROG/state of Idaho alliance about these proposals.  Educating the EPA on prior wrongs inflicted by SROG may cause agency professionals to doubt the geological evidence presented by industry, and to seek other assessments.  Contact CAIA or WIRT with questions and for additional information and comment guidance. Continue reading

Climate Justice Forum: Anthony Ingraffea & Shelley Brock on Leaking Gas Wells, Idaho Highway Lawsuit & Waterside Development, Washington Tribe Against B.C. Pipeline, Ukraine & U.S. War Protests 3-23-22


The Wednesday, March 23, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features New York academic and industry expert Anthony Ingraffea talking about leaking gas and oil wells, water contamination, and methane emissions, and Shelley Brock testifying against the first Idaho oil and gas waste injection well.  We also share news, music, and reflections on a north Idaho lawsuit against Palouse highway expansion and comments against changed waterside development rules, Washington climate action events and indigenous support of First Nations rejection of a British Columbia gas pipeline, Ukraine and U.S. protests of war and oil tankers, and the spring equinox and March full moon.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

WIRT Comments on Setbacks along Sand Creek


WIRT Comments on Sand Creek Setbacks 3-16-22I offer this testimony and these comments on behalf of 3,200-plus members, friends, and supporters of the regional climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide or WIRT, based for six years in downtown Sandpoint, Idaho, for the public record of the Wednesday, March 16, 2022, Sandpoint City Council regular meeting and public hearing concerning the city decision whether to amend current city code that mandates a water-protective, 25-foot, vegetative buffer along the banks of Sand Creek from downtown to the Highways 95 and 200 bridge.  City staff members have proposed this change to accommodate construction of various types of non-building structures extending into and over Sand Creek below its summer high-pool water mark, specifically a public plaza over a grassy area between the waterway and Gunning’s Alley, also called Farmin’s Landing, on the west side.

Ironically, the city originally purchased this creekside property to create ground depression swales of plants that filter and catch storm water sediment and contamination, an overdue component of urban infrastructure that WIRT encourages the city to build.  But now, the city seems intent on constructing more artificial, impervious surfaces in the center of a small town already walled off from Idaho’s largest, deepest lake, Pend Oreille, by the flood-raised, BNSF Railway line, an elevated freeway, private condominiums, and a hotel complex, even while the erratic weather, floods, and wildfires of climate chaos threaten environmental disasters and financial losses.

Within the last 15 years, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its economic devastation of small enterprises, downtown businesses have endured destruction of the natural amenities that attract residents and visitors to Sandpoint, imposed by construction of the railroad-parallel, U.S. Highway 95 byway averting the city core, massive fires and demolition of historic district buildings, large tree removals and street and sidewalk reconstruction during numerous shoulder seasons, and WIRT court-challenged expansion of railroad tracks and bridges through recreation waters and the critical habitat of an endangered fish species.  (Continue reading these comments in the linked PDF letter.)

WIRT Comments on Sand Creek Setbacks 3-16-22

Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Waste Disposal Well, Rail Bridge Expansion, Waterside Development, Mining Remediation, & War Protest, Fossil Fuels Resurgence, B.C. Pipeline Defunding 3-16-22


The Wednesday, March 16, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections on Idaho’s first oil and gas waste disposal well and aquifer exemption, freight and passenger railroad relationships and lake train bridge expansion, city plans for waterside over-development, citizen demands for Superfund site decontamination and clinics, loss of a Palouse region environmental protector, and a demonstration against Russian invasion of Ukraine, fossil fuel industry exploitation of war for its profits, Alberta tar sands crude and land sales resurgence, and indigenous pressure for bank defunding of a British Columbia gas pipeline.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.

Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Waste Well Comments, Northwest, Dakota Access, & Russian Pipelines, Maryland Coal Derailment, Train Collision Workers, Ukraine Invasion & Protests 3-9-22


The Wednesday, March 9, 2022, Climate Justice Forum radio program, produced by regional, climate activist collective Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), features news, music, and reflections on Idaho oil and gas waste injection well and aquifer exemption comments, proposed Northwest gas pipeline expansion, a Supreme Court setback for the Dakota Access pipeline, coal derailment disruption of East Coast passenger train services, railroad employees forced to work after a fatal pedestrian collision, halted Russian gas pipeline approval by Germany over Ukraine policies, global oil and gas price surges and stock declines after Russian invasion of Ukraine, protests of Russian and American wars and bank funders of fossil fuels, and calls for a rekindled popular movement for worldwide peace.  Broadcast for ten 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, grassroots, frontline resistance to fossil fuel projects, the root causes of climate change, thanks to generous, anonymous listeners who adopted program host Helen Yost as their KRFP DJ.