FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2020
Helen Yost, Wild Idaho Rising Tide
June 25 to July 2: Stop Oil Trains 2020
Regional actions commemorate Lac-Mégantic and Mosier oil train disasters
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT), 350 Seattle, Occupy, and allied, inland Northwest activists invite participation in the seventh annual, Stop Oil Trains week of events on Thursday, June 25, through July 2, honoring the 47 lives lost and downtowns devastated by oil train derailments, spills, fires, and explosions in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013, in Mosier, Oregon, on June 3, 2016, and potentially in all rail corridor, frontline communities threatened by the risks and pollution of crude oil pipelines-on-rails. Since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, dozens of similar accidents have wrecked public and environmental health and safety and the global climate – more than in the previous four decades.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway and Union Pacific Railroad haul up to 30 trains every week of volatile, Bakken shale oil and sinkable, Alberta tar sands, along and over invaluable, Northwest rivers, lakes, and tributaries. More than 90 percent of these shipments traverse railroad bridges above downtown Sandpoint and Spokane and almost one mile over Idaho’s largest, deepest lake, Pend Oreille. Adjacent to this current rail line, BNSF has commenced driving 1000-plus piles into train-spewed, lake and stream bed, coal deposits, threatened bull trout critical habitat, and regional, lake and aquifer water, to construct three permanent, parallel, second (and later third) railroad bridges, two temporary, work spans, and two miles of doubled tracks, for bi-directional, more derailment-vulnerable, oil and other train traffic.
In appreciation and solidarity with indigenous and grassroots, fossil fuels resistance across North America, concerned citizens continue to actively oppose coal, oil, tar sands, and hazardous materials trains, through public vigilance, education, demonstrations, comments, hearings, and litigation during the last decade. Event organizing groups welcome everyone at these summer activities sharing effective skills and coordinating powerful actions that demand immediate bans of further fossil fuels infrastructure, extraction, transportation, and production. For additional event and ongoing issue information, see the attached flyer and visit WIRT facebook and website pages.
Train Watch Workshop
Thursday, June 25, 6 pm, Sandpoint
David Perk of 350 Seattle will present an interactive, registration-required, teleconferenced, training session describing methods for documenting and reporting regional, westbound, fossil fuels-by-rail traffic, and providing images, insights, and resources online and at the Gardenia Center, 400 Church Street.
Spotlight Message Projection
Friday, June 26, 9 pm, Sandpoint & Saturday, June 27, 9 pm, Spokane
Occupy and WIRT volunteers will briefly display spotlighted, environmental and social justice messages on tall, downtown buildings within “bomb train blast zones,” while discussing Northwest fossil fuels issues with resident and visitor passersby observing the light show.
#No2ndBridge Outreach & March
Saturday, June 27, 9 am to 1 pm & 2 pm, Sandpoint
WIRT will host an outreach table under the Farmin Park clock at Third and Main streets, during Farmers Market, circulating the #No2ndBridge petition and other material, and offering updates on Northwest oil and coal trains, terminals, and railroad bridges. Starting at 2 pm, protesters of oil trains and railroad bridge expansion will gather and walk with COVID-19 face masks, signs, and banners to Dog Beach Park and the U.S. Highway 95, pedestrian Long Bridge.
#No2ndBridge Petition Delivery
Week of Monday, June 29, Coeur d’Alene & Sandpoint
Volunteers will bring the hundreds of signatures and remarks of the print and online, informal Petition to Deny and Revoke Permits for the BNSF Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, to the federal, state, and local agencies responsible for permit decisions and insufficient reviews of the significant, harmful impacts of BNSF’s intensifying, north Idaho, bridge and track construction and operation.
Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) confronts the root causes of climate change, water degradation, and air pollution, by asserting direct actions and promoting locally organized solutions, in solidarity with frontline communities of resistance and an international, volunteer, grassroots network of activists.