When the megaloads came through last night, despite the objections of the Nez Perce tribe and the U.S. Forest Service, protesters were there to try to block them. Elders of the Nez Perce tribe were among those arrested as they tried to stop the massive loads of tar sands equipment. According to Borg Hendrickson of The Rural People of Highway 12 — Fighting Goliath, the Nez Perce Drum Circle and the Aug. 5 blockade "held back the Omega Morgan megaload for almost 2 hours at the boundary of the Nez Perce Reservation about 4 miles east of Lewiston."
Video by Tom Hansen of Moscow, Idaho
Hendrickson writes in an email:
Approximately 150+ blockaders participated, mostly Nez Perces but some whites, mostly members of Idaho Rivers United and Friends of the Clearwater and FightingGoliath activists.
The megaload transport had launched about 45 minutes late, at 10:45. For some unknown reason, it sat parked for some time a couple miles west of the blockade site. As it approached the reservation boundary at about 12:40, the blockaders walked out onto the pavement to fully block 1/2 of the, at that point, 4-lane highway. The blockaders succeeded in holding back the megaload convoy of about 20 vehicles for almost 2 hours, when blockaders had begun moving to the side of the highway in order to avoid arrest. The megaload, whose target for the night was Hwy.12 Milepost 38.8, only managed to travel 3 more miles west of the blockade. It's total miles for the night: 11 — 27.8 miles short of its target.
That means that what was to be a 4-night Lewiston to Lolo Pass transport will now likely be (at least) a 5-night transport. That also means, that its entry into the Clearwater National Forest and Lochsa-Clearwater Wild & Scenic corridor, which had been scheduled for Wednesday night, will likely be Thursday night.
Every member of the Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee, the top governing leaders, was arrested. Several other Nez Perce men and women were also arrested and driven off in paddy wagons.
Undaunted, another protest is planned for tonight ,according to Wild Idaho Rising Tide, which participated in last night's blockade, as did Idle No More.
Rising Tide says on its Facebook page:
Our allies among the Nez Perce Tribe, Idle No More, and several conservation groups opposing tar sands megaload transports on U.S. Highway 12 are calling on Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) to participate in protests again tonight, Tuesday, August 6, as the Omega Morgan-hauled evaporator and its convoy depart the Arrow Bridge vicinity at 9 pm. A carload of WIRT activists is departing the sidewalk outside the Friends of the Clearwater office (116 East Third Street in Moscow) with the WIRT banner at an unknown time. Please call 208-310-1790 for more information about carpools and join us!