Since spring 2010, frontline Northwest activists have been resisting tar sands transportation projects and associated police states in our communities and on our roads, through six court cases, a dozen arrests, and over 50 direct actions. Residents of Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho, Spokane, Washington, Missoula, Montana, and regional rural enclaves have defended our wild places, home towns, and public roadways from the climate-wrecking, industrial ravages of “megaload” equipment transported for ExxonMobil, Weyerhaeuser, and other undisclosed corporations to Alberta destinations and tar sands operations. Our monitoring, protesting, and litigating activities have challenged, stalled, diverted, blockaded, frustrated, cost millions, and forced some of the biggest, wealthiest, most powerful dirty energy purveyors on Earth to boost their security, pay our state, county, and city police officers as escorts, guard their unoccupied stopover and port spaces, dismantle their supposedly irreducible loads, and sneak around us on alternative routes.
Strategically considering and creatively implementing group trainings, rallies, testimonies, demonstrations, concerts, presentations, sit-ins, videos, photos, critical mass walks and bike rides, marches, street theater, fundraisers, and banner drops, we will not stop resisting until corporate interlopers stop rampaging our planet. Tar sands module convoys encountered monitors and protests with every passage up Highway 95 through Moscow, Idaho, between July 2011 and March 2012, and similar pushback in Spokane, Washington, in May and June 2012.
During the last week of October 2012, a 236-foot-long, 520,000-pound waste water evaporator accomplished the first successful transit to the Alberta tar sands, through our narrow, sinuous, and steep Highway 12 wild and scenic river corridor across the largest wildlands complex in the lower 48 states.
As first fracking in Idaho looms to the south and coal export trains impend in the north, two smaller tar sands transports – with potentially thousands on the outsourced Asian production horizon – will attempt the same rugged route in early December, but not without our vigilant confrontations and their predictable accidents, injuries, and anguish imposed on people and property, collisions with vehicles, power lines, cliffs, and trees, delays of heart attack victims, emergency services, and holiday traffic, and degradation of our shared infrastructure and civil liberties, indigenous rights and northern boreal ecosystems, and atmospheric integrity. But all of this megaload mayhem pales by comparison with the extreme droughts, deluges, destruction, and deaths wrought by climate chaos bolstered mega-storms. Stunned by the aftershock of Hurricane Sandy on the U.S. East Coast, the hottest year on record, Midwestern crop failures, and Western wildfires, our collective American predicament – paralysis among government inaction, corporate aggression, and weather-driven devastation – increasingly compels citizens to demand climate crisis resolutions through unconventional methods.
In solidarity with the grassroots opponents and climate change pollution victims disproportionately affected by dirty energy extraction, production, transportation, and consumption, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) will join climate justice and tar sands co-activists from Canada, the Northeast, Texas, and Utah, near ruptured pipelines and oil spills, and across the continent on Monday, November 19, to together offer our direct actions and ardent desires for the cessation of tar sands and fossil fuel exploitation.
In conjunction with Tar Sands Blockade’s Mass Action in East Texas on Monday, decrying TransCanada construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, 350.org’s march around the White House and rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC on Sunday, to again denounce the Keystone XL, and over 40 worldwide climate solidarity actions, WIRT members intend to picket a local branch of a huge international bank that has loaned trillions of dollars to major oil companies like Shell Oil and ExxonMobil over the last five years, to fund expansion of Alberta tar sands mining operations on indigenous lands.
After an hour of agitation, we will gather at our usual convergence spot, the corner of Second and Washington streets on the north side of Moscow City Hall, to compose a Tar Sands Blockade solidarity photo of WIRT’s stalwart megaload protesters, who have been resisting tar sands developments longer than White House and Texas sit-ins. If you were arrested or participated in more than three demonstrations, we hope that you will wear your WIRT T-shirt and/or contribute to this “photo op”! We plan to share the resulting images with our courageous comrades in the Texas trees and post it among their/our numerous anti-tar sands allies and supporters. Please meet us at the WIRT Activist House (call for directions) at 4 pm on Monday, November 19, for the bank picket, and near City Hall at 5 pm for our megaload protest reunion and climate solidarity outreach.