Archive for April, 2011

Upcoming Events! Please Attend!

FRIRDAY, APRIL 29TH – KNOW YOUR RIGHTS TRAINING
PRESENTED BY LAUREN REGAN OF THE CIVIL LIBERTIES DEFENSE CENTER

WHAT: This workshop will provide participants with basic legal knowledge on the constitutional rights that they have during interactions with law enforcement and other government agents. The point of the workshop is to instill activists with the confidence to make informed decisions when they engage in activism: Where is the line drawn between legal and potentially illegal protesting? What “magic words” should you say to police to invoke your rights? How do First Amendment rights apply in protest situations? The workshop will also touch on tips for “legal observers” who witness and record interactions between activists and law enforcement with an eye towards using that documentation for potential criminal cases and civil rights cases down the road.
WHEN: FRIDAY, APRIL 29 FROM 5PM TO 6:30PM
WHERE: MISSOULA COMMUNITY COOP, 1500 BURNS ST.

This training will be followed by….
Political Activism and Government Repression – Past & Present

WHAT: This talk will address recent laws that have been enacted that target progressive and radical activists. It will also address recent government attempts to spy on, discredit, and imprison radical activists. One case study will focus on the case of Eric McDavid, an environmental activist who was entrapped by an FBI informant. Eric was convicted of conspiracy to commit an act of property destruction that never actually occurred. He is now serving a 20 year prison sentence for his thought crime. The talk will also discuss these new laws and cases in the context of historical government spying practices like the COINTELPRO during the Civil Rights Movement, which targeted Martin Luther King Jr, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Black Panther Party, and other civil rights activists by infiltrating those groups, misinforming them, and provoking them.
WHEN: FRIDAY, APRIL 29 FROM 7PM TO 8:30PM
WHERE: MISSOULA COMMUNITY COOP – 1500 BURNS ST.

DENY THE PERMITS RALLY IN HELENA

WHAT: In light of the disastrous start for the Exxon test validation module in Idaho, it is now more evident than ever that we need to pressure the Department of Transportation to revoke all current and deny any future transport permits for Exxon. It is imperative that we convince the state of Montana that our highways should not facilitate any further development of the Canadian tar sands.

A district judge ruled in OUR favor last week and halted the modification and construction of the Exxon transport route, stalling the “test module” in Idaho and guaranteeing it will stay at Lolo hot springs for a while. But lets not wait! We have to act NOW and tell the Department of Transportation to deny the permits. Let’s have ourselves a Schweitzer style branding of Exxon’s transportation permits! Take your turn to “brand” a permit.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 3rd at 12 Noon
WHERE: Montana Department of Transportation in Helena, MT
2701 Prospect Ave.

Rideshare information TO BE ANNOUNCED! Please respond to this email if you are interested in getting a ride!

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A Long Overdue Update: Exxon Test Module Hits Multiple Snags

After many months of delays, rescheduling and legal wrangling the first Exxon “test-validation” module left Lewiston, Idaho just before midnight on Tuesday, April 12. The 50 ton warehouse-looking test module is the first of 207 oversized pieces of mining equipment bound for the Kearl oil sands of Northern Alberta.

The company behind the project, Imperial Oil, hoped to have all 207 pieces shipped by the end of the year. Their flawed transportation plans have, however, proved disastrous at best. Shortly after leaving its resting ground the module snapped off a large tree branch at the Lewiston rose garden. It then caused several excessive traffic delays as it continued up highway 12. Shortly after 1:30am the module hit a guy wire near Orofino, Idaho and shut off power to 1,300 area residents for nearly 5 hours and forced a 60 minute highway closure.

The spectacle of the first module, which Imperial said would validate the shipping corridor to the tar sands, has laid bare a number of assumptions the company seems to operating under. First, their transportation plan is beyond inadequate and has proved in just one night that these megaloads cannot safely and punctually navigate a narrow highway corridor. Second, there does not seem to be any repercussion from the state for these inadequacies. One would think an ultra-weathly oil company could handle some fines for traffic delays and power outages. Third, the supposed cost-saving measure of shipping foreign made equipment through some of the wildest country in the Northwest is racking up quite the bill. Each day the modules sit and wait, and each new legal challenge that comes forward, the company is losing tens of thousands of dollars. Then again, we do not advocate they be shipping equipment or developing the tar sands at all.

As the costs mount and Imperial struggles to save face with the public there are many developments in Montana that will likely slow the shipments even further. The Missoula county commissioners, along with the Montana Environmental Information Center and the Montana chapter of the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit against the MT Department of Transportation for their finding of “no significant impact” from a public comment period on the EIS of the shipping plan last year. The plaintiffs are seeking a temporary restraining order that will halt construction and modification of the shipping route in Montana. This will essentially halt the test module from even entering Montana, keeping it at Lolo pass indefinitely. Word on the ruling is still pending, but expected sometime in the next 24 hours.

As of Monday (4/18) morning the test module is waiting to move from its current location near Kamiah, ID. Depending upon the outcome of the temporary restraining order (TRO) they could move as soon as tomorrow and be at Lolo hot spring by thursday. Stay tuned for updates and don’t give up, victory is nigh!

Much on the disastrous start for the test module has been stated already, and can be found in these links to local media:


Missoula Independent: Whiff of Victory

Missoulian: Test Module Hits Wire

Missoulian: Weekend ruling on halting route construction

Missoulian: ExxonMobil test module to stay put

Missoulian: MDT has many reasons to deny permits