Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nez Perce Tribe Protests Illegal Megaload Shipments

Night 1: 
Approximately 150+ blockaders participated on the first night of the Omega Morgan transport.  The megaload transport had launched about 45 minutes late, at 10:45.  As it approached the reservation boundary at about 12:40, the blockaders walked out onto the pavement to block the highway.  The blockaders held back the megaload convoy for almost 2 hours.  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, 11 miles, was 27.8 miles short of its target.

Every member of the Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee and several other people were arrested.  Others were forcefully removed by police from the blockade and taken to the sidelines.  Some were threatened with mace.

Night 2:
More than 100 Nez Perces and others had created a 2 1/2-hour human road block that, for a second night, halted the Omega Morgan megaload.  As the megaload eventually became able to inch forward, the blockaders became a moving roadblock tightly bottlenecking the transport, moving with it, and preventing it from gaining even modest speed.  The number of police officers at the scene was estimated to be double that of last night, perhaps as many as 40, and about a half dozen people were arrested.

The Nez Perces staged tonight's blockade at Hwy.12 Milepost 11, below the legendary Ant & Yellowjacket rock archway perched above the highway about 2 miles upriver from the transport's launch point. The site is 1 of 38 Nez Perce National Historical Park sites strung along a 4-state route.  One concern of the Nez Perces and other anti-megaload activists has been the effect of ground vibrations created by transports as immensely heavy as the Omega Morgan megaload.  Complete with load, trailer, trucks, etc., the transport weighs 644,000 pounds, and ground vibrations theoretically over time could loosen rock and cliff structures alongside and above Hwy.12.
Ant & Yellow Jacket
Night 3:
As the megaload left Mile 38.8 below Orofino, for the third night, the Nez Perces blockaded it.  More police officers preceded the megaload than the previous 2 nights, and they aggressively drove their vehicles towards the blockade in an attempt to force the blockaders into retreating.  When the Nez Perces held their ground, officers approached on foot, shouted "get off the road," and physically pushed some of the protesters toward the roadside.  Yet the Nez Perces remained in a group and gradually began to move backwards, intentionally slowly, as the police vehicles and megaload convoy were relegated to following at a snail's pace for a mile or two through the Riverside area of Orofino.
The Omega Morgan megaload reached Hwy. 12 Milepost 90, Syringa, last night, within the Clearwater National Forest and the Wild & Scenic Middlefork corridor.  They did that by breaking the stipulations of their permit & filed travel plan.  Instead of stopping regularly to let traffic pass, as required, they held all cars traveling east hostage behind 2 Idaho State Police vehicles, who led what was at one point 40+ personal vehicles and forced them to travel at 0-17 mph speeds for 51.2 miles.  In other words, corporate Canada 'owned' and controlled your highway last night, aided by state police.

According to their plan, Omega Morgan's target destination had been the Kooskia kiosk station.  However, apparently they felt they would be beyond more Nez Perce blockades if they could get farther up the highway.  They are parked in a large private lot owned by Terry & Becky Jackson.  Terry is the person who -- for pay -- lifts the tram cable that crosses the highway at Milepost 83 so megaloads can pass under it.

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