Breaking: Idaho Residents Arrested Blocking Tar Sands Megaloads Bound for Alberta

UPDATE: Three more Wild Idaho Rising Tiders were arrested blocking more tar sands equipment shipments in Coeur d’Alene, ID.  Nine have been arrested so far this week fighting the megaloads.

They spill, they drill and we fight back with the only currency we have—our bodies, our minds and a fighting spirit.

Hundreds have been arrested sitting in at the White House this week and Alberta’s Indigenous communities have been fighting Big Oil’s development of tar sands for quite some time , but today residents in Moscow Idaho crossed a line of their own.

Last night in the wee hours of the morning, as the first megaloads were beginning to roll, six men and women with Wild Idaho Rising Tide sat down in front of the massive vehicles to stop their passage through the highways and byways of the Northern Rockies to Alberta.

A few weeks ago, after many legal and political battles Exxon announced they were re-routing their shipments through the Port of Pasco in Washington (down river from Lewiston, ID) and ship reduced size pieces of equipment. While it was seen as a victory for the long term community campaign against the oil giant, Exxon still is moving the reduced size hauls through Idaho.

Moscow resident Brett Haverstick said- “Big Oil intends to clear-cut and strip mine a place the size of Florida, and simultaneously destroys native communities and entire watersheds. I feel obligated to speak up and say this is wrong.”

This morning’s action is part of a larger campaign being waged in Idaho and Montana by communities and environmentalists to stop the passage of tar sands heavy haul trucks through their region.

Activists Arrested For Blocking “Megaload” on US 95

Citizens Stand In Solidarity with Canadian First Nations & Others In Opposition to Extraction of the Alberta Tar Sands and the Building of the Keystone XL Pipeline

Moscow, ID- Early Friday morning, six Moscow residents were arrested for sitting in the road and blocking US 95 to protest an Exxon/Imperial Oil “megaload” shipment destined for the Alberta Tar Sands. In an act of non-violent, civil-disobedience, men and women sat down in the crosswalk of the highway when the four-hundred-thousand pound, two-hundred foot long, twenty-four foot wide, and fourteen-foot tall oil-processing module entered the downtown area. In a showing of solidarity with the First Nations people of Canada, and the hundreds of people getting arrested in Washington, D.C., the individuals are calling for the Obama Administration to deny permits for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would stretch from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

“Not only are people calling the Alberta Tar Sands the most unsustainable and destructive project on the planet, but also an act of genocide against the people that live in the region, particularly those down-stream of the tailing ponds,” said Moscow resident Brett Haverstick. “Big Oil intends to clear-cut and strip mine a place the size of Florida, and simultaneously destroy native communities and entire watersheds. I feel obligated to speak up and say this is wrong.”

With the Obama Administration getting ready to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline later this year, the individuals said they have been inspired by the hundreds of people getting arrested in Washington D.C. this past week in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“President Obama must deny permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Go ask the people of Montana or the people of Michigan if they want more oil pipelines built across their lands and waterways, said Moscow resident Greg Freistadt. “People are traveling from Nebraska all the way to Washington, D.C. and getting arrested this week because the pipeline threatens their drinking water and livelihoods. It’s time for communities to come together and oppose this.”

The possible construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline isn’t the only oil pipeline that concerns the activists. The Northern Gateway Pipeline is scheduled to be built west from Alberta, Canada to the Pacific Ocean so that crude oil can be shipped to China and India.

“The First Nations people unanimously oppose this pipeline across their lands,” said Moscow resident Vince Murray. “In addition, supertankers plying the pristine coastline of northern British Columbia would endanger one of the last unspoiled ocean ecosystems in the world.”

The individuals have also been extremely disappointed with their city and state elected officials.

“Megaloads are terrorizing our highways in the Northern Rockies, pipelines are spilling oil into some of our most precious rivers, and our governors and Congressional leaders will not come to our defense,” said Brett Haverstick. If leaders won’t lead, then it’s up to us to step forward.”

23 Responses to “Breaking: Idaho Residents Arrested Blocking Tar Sands Megaloads Bound for Alberta”

  1. 1 Sharon Cousins Aug 26th, 2011 at 7:42 am

    There were even more than four sitters some of the time. If you were there, I was the one on the near sidelines with the flashing lights grandma sign. We all stood in solidarity with brothers and sisters in DC and all others who would like to preserve our ability to live on the only home we have. Green heroes and earth angels and practical visionaries are rising up all over the planet. Solidarity.

  2. 2 bill mckibben Aug 26th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Just wanted to say so many thanks to those brave people!

  3. 3 Willie Bee Aug 26th, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Heroes! Every one.

  4. 4 Jane Kleeb Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:48 am

    It will take all of us in every state standing up for our land and water. Big oil never thought or expected they would get a fight, especially from “red” states, we are proving them wrong. Thank you for your commitment, time and leadership.

  5. 5 Carol Skinner Aug 26th, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I was arrested with Bill on Day 1 Tar Sands Action in DC. Thank you for your courage and know that we stand in solidarity!

  6. 6 Claudette Ross Aug 26th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Good for you, brave souls of Moscow! The courage and dedicaton of those arrested in DC is awakening a demand for freedom that cannot be squelched-it has a life of its own,now. Obama, are you listening?

  7. 7 Lori Fischer Aug 26th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I hope these brave people have sent a wave of inspiration all acrossed our nation. This shows that thoes that can’t make it to DC can still do things in their hometown or state. God bless

  8. 8 Zack Porter Aug 26th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks, Bill – and a deep-felt thank you to all of the amazing people with Wild Idaho Rising Tide, Friends of the Clearwater, and others who braved the night to take a stand in solidarity with protesters in DC, as well as with communities rising up against Tar Sands tentacles all over the US.

    If you live in Missoula, MT, stay alert! We’re planning a solidarity action for next Friday, Sept. 2nd. More details to come soon…

  9. 9 Zack Porter Aug 26th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Want to stay on top of the megaloads issue in the Northwest and Northern Rockies?

    You can follow the latest at Wild Idaho Rising Tide’s facebook page (

    And you can also follow along with All Against The Haul, at, or by going to, where you can sign our petition and learn more about the threats of Big Oil’s Tar Sands’ bound megaloads.

  10. 10 Dennis Jaques Aug 26th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Dear Mr. Parkin, The kind of biased “reporting” you have engaged in does nothing to enlighten people about the production and use of oil to power much of our cultural activities, such as your driving your vehicle around the San Francisco Bay area where you live. I am a 4th generation Idahoan with a ranch just south of Highway 12 where the Esso “megaloads” are being transported.

    You ere greatly in reporting Mr. Haverstick’s statement that “Big Oil intends to clear-cut and strip mine a place the size of Florida,….” In fact, the area of Florida is 170,304km sq while the currently mined area of the Alberta Oil Sands is 1225km sq and set to grow to about double that at 2500km sq (an area only 1.5% as large as Florida! Where are your careful checking of facts before reporting said “facts”?)

    Which native community is being destroyed? Fort MacKay, Conklin, or Fort Chip? The last time I visited these areas (during August 8-11, 2011) these communities were alive and well. In fact, many of their population are gainfully employed working for the “Big Oil” companies you seem to despise. These big oil companies merely provide a product which you seem happy to use for communting, holidays and other vehicle driving activities. If all of us reduced consumption, then far less oil supplies would be needed. In other words, “we have met the enemy and they are us!” – not the Big Oil companies; they merely serve our “needs” and wants.

    Also, which watersheds have been destroyed by the current 35 x 35km squared mined area? Beaver Creek, Mackay River, Ells River, Steepbank River or the Dover River? They are all still flowing quite well the last time I looked, in fact there seem to be uncut buffer strips between the mining and the stream courses. Flow rates of these streams are still the same as they have been for hundreds of years.

    I am working myself in the oil sands to curb real pollutants such as SO2, NOx, heavy metals, VOC’s and PAH’s etc. etc. The Alberta Government has set emissions standards and they, along with the oil companies and the Canadian Federal Govenmet are monitoring critical issues “as we speak”. The Oil Sands industrial operations are becoming cleaner and more efficient year by year.

    Oil sands operations have been called by Dr. James Hansen the tipping point for unleashing uncontrollable climate change due to CO2 “pollution”. Firstly, CO2 is not a pollutant until its concentration reaches about 70,000ppmv; this can cause unconsciousness in people. Below that level only a few sensitive people will experience any dizziness or nausea, and then only at concentrations above about 10,000ppmv. Current levels in the atmosphere are about 390ppmv; much lower than necessary to cause any problems, in fact, all my greenhouse operator friends regularly pump CO2 INTO their greehouses at 1000-1200ppmv to increase productivity. These greenhouses are quite comfortable to breathe in and the productivity of them far exceeds anything produced in the open air where CO2 concetrations are a paltry 390ppmv!

    Secondly, CO2 DOES NOT cause “anthropogenic global warming”! — so say about 31,000 reputable scientists who know somethung about past climates, physics of the atmosphere, solar physics. THE “greenhouse” gas keeping our Earth habitable is largely (ca. 90-93%) water vapor – not CO2 (2-3% effects on retarding solar heating into outer space). This water vapor keeps our planet at a liveable 15deg C on average. Ask anyone living near the Equator (such as my son and his family), without the daily cloud buildup which reflects incoming intense solar radiation, the tropics would be uninhabitable by humans – mostly due to lovely water vapor NOT CO2!

    The Earth has massive feedback mechanisms which keep our climate relatively stable over long periods. Exceptions are, of course, the very cold and massive ice ages which ended about 10-12,000 years ago, the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period from about 1450-1840A.D. (at which time the earth’s climate was much warmer than today), and the Little Ice Age which ended about 1840. Since this Little Ice Age the earth’s land surface temperatures have increased about 0.4deg C per century with minor fluctuations since then (e.g. the warm period from 1924-1941, the cool period from 1942-1976, the warm period from 1978-1998 and the recent cooling period from 1998 to ??? (In fact, the 1924-1941 warm period saw true mean annual temperatures WARMER than any since then! This, of course, is empirical data which is contrary to the MODELLED data proved by alarmists such as the UN I.P.C.C., Mr. Al Gore and Dr. James Hansen.)

    Wake up and look at the facts!

  11. 11 Malinda Frevert Aug 26th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Just wanted to send cheers from Nebraska. We are bonded together in this fight and are proud to stand in opposition with folks from the great state of Idaho.

  12. 12 Daniel F Aug 26th, 2011 at 8:55 pm
  13. 13 Erica Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    This is so incredibly gusty, creative and inspiring. Holding virtual hands with you from DC.

  14. 14 Elliot Figman Aug 26th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    A great big thank you from New York City to Moscow!

  15. 15 Michael Nelson Aug 27th, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Thank you for putting yourselves on the line. This is a very important juncture, tarsands production is a very real threat to the life of the planet. I live in BC and am very concerned about the threat the northern gateway pipeline poses to the health of every mountain and valley ecosystem between Alberta and the coast, and then the health of the coastline as mega-tankers move down the treacherous waterways from Kitimat to the open ocean. We, the people of north america, must stand in solidarity against big oil and the governments that allow this slow motion environmental disaster to continue.

  16. 16 Markku Tapani Pesonen Aug 27th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    The oil industry doesn´t represent the future it´s an industry in decline trying to squeeze out money to the last drop they can lay their hands on. They give shit about the consequences for life and fundamental human rights. People all over the world realize they’re used by corporations whose main interest is money and all other values, human and environmental, are completely invisible and naught to them and they’ll do anything to kill and ravage anything in their way. We must also realize this type of behavior is inherent in any capitalist society. They claim they give you jobs but that is nothing in contrast to what they destroy and soon enough you’ll still be without jobs in the midst of another disaster they’ve created.

  17. 17 Joellen Gilchrist Aug 27th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you, Moscow protesters. May you start the ball rolling for other local actions against the pipeline. We are all indebted to you and the civil disobedience protesters in DC.

    Are there any groups forming in Michigan? Pipeline plans for it cover about 800 miles.

  18. 18 Christine Aug 27th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you, Moscow protesters!

  19. 19 Stephen Mulkey Aug 27th, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    To Dennis Jaques, whom I trust is a real person in Idaho rather than a fictitious respondent paid for by Big Oil.

    Your fact are the ones that are wrong. Perhaps the most straightforward way to deal with your ignorance is to refer you to the peer reviewed literature on climate change. It is obvious from your remarks that you have been reading blogs and digesting information from the denial industry. CO2 is indeed a greenhouse gas, and the sensitivity of the atmosphere to a doubling of CO2 relative to pre-industrial concentrations is about 3 degrees C average temperature increase. This is a lot, and most projections show the average temperature increase to be somewhat more than 4 degrees C by 2080, assuming that we continue to burn fossil fuels at our current rate. This would be catastrophic, according to numerous sober and peer reviewed assessments. The reality of this has been demonstrated again and again in the pages of Science, Nature, the Proceedings of the National Academy, and numerous other peer reviewed and respected journals. Simply put, as the National Academy stated earlier this year, this is settled science. Period. Essentially every important scientific professional organization, and almost all of the national academies of science in the world endorse this reality. And you are certain that these august organizations are wrong? I am a scientist, a scholar of this literature, and president of a college. Periodically I take the time to respond to posts such as yours, which appear to be well meaning, but poorly informed.

    If you can accept that these thousands of scientists are right, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that the increase of this gas in the atmosphere will have very damaging effects on our civilization, then protesting the pipeline makes perfect sense. In fact, we simply must phase out fossil fuels and move as quickly as possible toward more sustainable sources of energy. A recent special report from the IPCC provides considerable evidence that our energy needs could indeed be met from wind, water, solar, and biofuels. Despite what you may have been told, the IPCC is a highly respected and credible source that is served by some of the best scientists the world. These individuals are largely unpaid and do this work because of its importance for the wellbeing of our kids and our grand kids.

    If you are going to speak with the voice of authority, I suggest that you do the necessary scholarship. Your sources of information are highly questionable, and they run counter the the overwhelming majority view of the world’s scientific establishment. When did you last sit down with the journal Science and read what it says about climate change? When did you last go online and read the journal Geophysical Research Letters? Society has trained thousands of scientists to do this important work, and we have every reason to believe that they are telling us the truth. Their message has been very consistent and increasingly clear for the last 30 years. The voices that say they are wrong are few, and their funding and/or motives are questionable.

    I sincerely wish that you were right. I fervently wish that all of the evidence of human-caused global warming turns out to be somehow flawed. Sadly, for all of us, this is extremely unlikely. I urge you to do some serious scholarship and see for yourself how wrong you are.



  1. 1 Breaking News Friday: Idaho Residents Arrested Blocking Tar Sands Megaloads Bound for Alberta | Climate Connections Trackback on Aug 26th, 2011 at 9:18 am
  2. 2 Irene Came Because Its Getting Hot In Here. We Must Take Action Because Its Getting Hot In Here! « It’s Getting Hot In Here Trackback on Aug 27th, 2011 at 7:59 pm
  3. 3 Nonviolent Direct Action to Defuse the Carbon Bomb « praxis makes perfect Trackback on Sep 8th, 2011 at 12:23 am
  4. 4 The Ruckus Society » Nonviolent Direct Action to Defuse the Carbon Bomb Trackback on Sep 8th, 2011 at 12:26 am
Comments are currently closed.


Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

Community Picks