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.”