Tar Sands Megaload Fight Moves West To Spokane

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 21, 2012

Contact:
Justin Ellenbecker, Occupy Spokane: ellenbecker22@yahoo.com, 509-599-4549
Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide wild.idaho.rising.tide@gmail.com, 208-301-8039

Photo:See available Facebook photos here

*Washington/Idaho Megaload Resistance*

At about 11:30 pm on Sunday night, May 20, a dozen activists from Occupy
Spokane and Wild Idaho Rising Tide converged in Spokane, Washington, to
protest megaloads of oversized equipment bound for Alberta tar sands
operations from the Port of Pasco.  ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil has been using
Highway 395, Interstate 90, and city streets in Spokane and Spokane Valley
since mid-October to transport road damaging shipments weighing up to
400,000 pounds and stretching over 200 feet long.  Diverted in Idaho from
their originally intended Highway 12 route by court challenges and from
their alternative Highway 95 path by Moscow area protests, these pieces of
a tar sands/bitumen processing plant will expand Canadian carbon fuel
extraction, American dependence on oil, and continental greenhouse gas
emissions, while reaping hefty profits for one of the wealthiest
corporations on Earth.

From the pedestrian walkway over East Third Avenue near South Regal Street,
Spokane climate justice activists draped banners asserting “No Dirty
Energy,” “Occupy 99%,” “Climate Killers,” “Highway to Hell,” and other
statements (see photos).  While waiting for the megaload convoys’ arrival,
they observed flaggers and warning signs posted along Third Avenue, support
vehicles cruising the area, and up to six Spokane city police cars parked
near the demonstrators.  Between midnight and 1:00 am on Monday, four
megaloads traversed Third Avenue, narrowly fitting under the pedestrian
overpass and between parked cars and activists with protest signs lining
both sides of the street.  Convoys consisting of Washington state trooper
escorts, flagger vehicles, and pilot trucks displaying illuminated
“oversized load” signs accompanied a silver, cylindrical module, two large,
blue, trailer-like boxes, and a frame structure full of pipes and parts.  A
protester later saw another megaload among a cluster of vehicles similarly
leaving the interstate at the Altamont Street exit in Spokane and the
Barker Road off-ramp in Spokane Valley.

Recognizing the international impacts of these transports, citizens
throughout the Northwest will continue to coordinate and organize
demonstrations to oppose and impede tar sands megaload traffic, to prevent
increasing carbon emissions causing global climate change and to dissuade
investors in such dirty energy schemes.  The mostly foreign-owned
corporations who have mined only two or three percent of the Alberta tar
sands are advancing the second fastest rate of deforestation in the world,
as they consume more energy, mostly derived from natural gas, than tar
sands fuels ultimately yield.  Their largest industrial project on Earth
pollutes exorbitant volumes of fresh water and deposits heavy metals,
carcinogens, and oil across vast swaths of Canadian boreal forests and
wetlands.  Resident First Nations villages practicing subsistence
lifestyles suffer rare cancers and disproportionate deaths, as the single
greatest contributor of atmospheric carbon in North America bodes “game
over” for the Earth’s climate.

People interested in upcoming expressions of First Amendment rights through
anti-megaload assemblies in the Spokane area can contact Occupy Spokane
and/or Wild Idaho Rising Tide for more information about the time and
location of protests.
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