Wild Idaho Rising Tide

As the environmental impact statement (EIS) scoping period for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, Washington, draws to a close on Jan. 21, and public comments on the Coyote Island Terminal in Boardman, Oregon, are long past due, federal, state and county decision makers never provided public hearings in Idaho and Montana or a mine-to-port regional programmatic environmental analysis.

Nonetheless, residents of the comparatively rural inland Northwest, especially near Powder River Basin coal strip mines and train routes through Montana population centers and along the railroad funnel between Sandpoint, Idaho and Spokane, Washington, will bear most of the adverse risks and consequences of domestic coal export to Asia, while Ambre Energy, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, SSA Marine and other giant coal companies reap billions of dollars in profit on up to 160 million tons of coal per year, at taxpayers’ expense.

Pillaged public investments would support the required infrastructure and mitigate the predictable damages of this corporate onslaught. Each of the 40 to 60 additional coal trains per day, 1.5 miles long with their 125 cars, would spew toxic coal dust, diesel fumes, occasionally derailed loads and incessant noise; disrupt local transportation, businesses, emergency responses and economies; and degrade air and water quality, human and wildlife health, property values and regional identity.

Five proposed West Coast and Columbia River terminals with huge, open-air coal heaps, river barges through endangered species critical habitat, and more than 950 immense, ocean-going, coal ships per year, crowding oil tankers through the tangled Salish Sea to Asian markets for combustion, would further compromise aquatic ecosystems and inhabitants, and significantly exacerbate pollution and global climate change.

From Jan. 11 to Jan. 20, Blue Skies Campaign, Occupy Spokane and Wild Idaho Rising Tide are staging coal export solidarity actions at train track/roadside intersections in Moscow and Sandpoint, Idaho, Missoula and other cities across Montana, and Spokane, Washington.

We need your help to powerfully demonstrate our collective regional resistance to coal export schemes perpetrated by industry and government.  Tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Surface Transportation Board, state and county regulatory agencies, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, not to mention the world’s largest private coal companies, that Northwesterners will not tolerate their dismissal of community concerns and environmental wellbeing so apparent in their purported public participation processes and mercenary ventures.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Join and share this event announcement and post or search for the date, time, and location of your nearest planned anti-coal export solidarity action with your fellow activists, co-workers, friends, family, classmates, neighbors, etc. Invite your associates to your street theater.
  • In one or several high pedestrian/vehicle traffic areas or a wild and wonderful place potentially affected by coal export, wield your spirit of dirty energy resistance, protest signs, banners and props, exclaiming your oral or written objections and study suggestions for prospective coal mines, rail routes, ports, and shipping lanes, and take plenty of pictures, videos and/or audio recordings.
  • Post selections of your photographic, film or audio displays and brief reports of your protest actions, number and kind of participants, public comments and location on this event page. We will compile everyone’s results for a substantial media release. Send your photos, links, and/or ideas to at least one each of the following government and corporate offices:

Gateway Pacific Terminal (Cherry Point, Washington)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: http://www.eisgatewaypacificwa.gov/
SSA Marine: http://www.ssamarine.com/contacts.html
Peabody Energy: http://www.peabodyenergy.com/content/129/Contact-Us

Morrow Pacific Project (Boardman, Oregon)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: steven.k.gagnon@usace.army.mil
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality: http://www.deq.state.or.us/er/CoalExportProject.htm
Oregon Department of State Lands: http://www.statelandsonline.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Comments.AppDetailLF&id=49123
Ambre Energy: http://morrowpacific.com/contact-us

Coal Export Rail Lines (Montana/Wyoming to ports)
U.S. Surface Transportation Board: http://www.stb.dot.gov/Ect1/ecorrespondence.nsf/incoming?OpenForm
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad: http://www.bnsf.com/feedback.html

Stand up and fight back against Big Coal in the Northwest! High demonstration turnouts and non-traditional testimony from beyond the geographically limited scope of the Oregon- and Washington-only hearings could challenge the legitimacy of exclusionary public processes and expand further environmental review of these coal exploits. Demand a regional programmatic environmental impact statement (or at least an EIS for the Morrow Pacific Project) and public comment hearings in Idaho and Montana.

Events planned include:

Peace Gains, Not Coal Trains
Friday, Jan. 11, 5 – 6:30 p.m. at Friendship Square, Moscow, Idaho

Alongside the weekly Friday evening Peace Vigil in downtown Moscow, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and community activists will form a people’s train composed of coal export protesters each carrying a two-dimensional, painted cardboard “rail car” with anti-coal slogans.  Participants will distribute Northwest coal issue and organizational flyers and information, to engage and encourage more Idaho citizen involvement in opportunities for public comments and direct actions.

Return of the Cardboard Coal Train
Saturday, Jan. 12, Noon – 1 p.m. at Riverside and Division Streets, Spokane, Washington

Occupy Spokane’s cardboard coal train returns on Saturday, Jan. 12, at high noon at the intersection of Riverside and Division. Let’s keep this issue alive and remind Spokane citizens that they have until Jan. 21 to submit their written comments on the scope of the environmental impact statement for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal near Bellingham. This will be a solidarity event with other cities in Idaho and Montana.

Sandpoint Coal Export Protest
Saturday, Jan. 12, 3 – 5 p.m., meet at the Safeway parking lot, 702 North Fifth Avenue, near Larch Street in Sandpoint, Idaho

Anti-coal advocates will converge in Sandpoint, Idaho, to host another multi-state demonstration and raise public awareness and participation in opposition to Northwest coal mines, trains and ports. On Saturday afternoon after 3 p.m., we will parade the people’s train at a few high profile areas, and at nightfall, we could project spotlighted messages such as “Coal Kills.” Car and van pools depart the Wild Idaho Rising Tide Activist House in Moscow (call for the address) at Noon and leave the Occupy Spokane Clubhouse in Spokane (1808 East Sprague Avenue) at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the following sites: Power Past Coal, Coal Train Facts, Columbia Riverkeeper, Coal-Free Bellingham, Coal-Free Spokane, Coal-Free Washington and Wild Idaho Rising Tide.

Visit EcoWatch’s COAL EXPORTS page for more related news on this topic.

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