Archive for December, 2011

Where Have We Been?

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Those of us involved with NRRT are aware of our absence from the megaload fight and other efforts to undermine tar sands infrastructure development. Hopefully the following can allay some of the concerns and accusations that we have encountered in the past few months of non-involvement.

First, we did not give up! The struggle to shut down the tar sands and achieve climate justice is something that NRRT members are concerned with in a very profound way. The megaload/heavy haul fight was never, and will never be, a ‘not in our backyard’ issue for us. Our disengagement with current battles does not mean we were satisfied with what minor court victories did for the overall struggle against the tar sands. Quite the contrary. Many of these minor victories have since been overturned, reversing what we and many other groups had fought for for nearly two years. The Earth First! Rendezvous this past summer was in some ways a climax for NRRT, at least as it had existed until that point. Shortly after the Keystone XL pipeline action at the Montana Capitol,  judge Ray Dayton ruled in our favor (unrelated to the action), stopping turnout construction on Montana Highways indefinitely. This gave us a bit of breathing room to regroup and form strategies for the future. But, alas, regrouping proved difficult as summer gave way to fall and the megaload issue seemed temporarily resolved. A multitude of factors contributed to this: members’ school commitments, lack of funding (or creative ways to find it), lack of a central organizing space, a mediocre level of inspiration, a reversal of the judge’s decision and the movement of members onto other projects. Do not forget, however, that this grassroots struggle has not been a failure by any means. Since NRRT initiated discussion on the issue over two years ago, with the help of many other groups, we have delayed the construction of the Kearl Oil sands mine by two years and cost them untold millions in transportation hold-ups and court costs.

Second, the dynamics of the megaload fight in particular became more complex when Imperial Oil began shipping re-sized megaloads on the interstate. As a direct action oriented organization, NRRT was unsure how to approach interstate megaload travel with such tactics in mind. This is where the brave souls of Wild Idaho Rising Tide stepped up to the plate. We want to applaud their efforts and let the world know that we stand in solidarity with their weekly demonstrations in downtwon Moscow, ID. Without much time to develop a strategic plan to confront the new megaload route, before NRRT members were needed elsewhere this fall and winter, the “direct action vacuum” has been occupied by WIRT. We have not retreated from this fight, however, but are calculating and looking for a new wave of energy.

But what about the Keystone XL pipeline? The efforts to get president Obama to stop the Keystone XL pipeline are simultaneously daunting and inspiring. The unprecedented (at least in recent history) acts of civil disobedience surrounding the KXL pipeline have been very inspiring. Combined with a general trend of increased political and environmental awareness and action, spurred on by the the Occupation movement, it looks as though direct action is finally making a comeback.

With all this in mind, the future of NRRT is somewhat uncertain and entirely unwritten. Finding new energy and folks who are willing to organize will be critical, as NRRT members of the past two years spread around the country. We are still deeply concerned and opposed to the current trend of transforming Montana, and the Intermountain West in general, into a vast energy extraction colony. When the time is right, and people are willing to really put themselves on the line, we will be there to turn up the heat!

Feel free to contact us!

Northern Rockies Rising Tide