Rising Tide Gearing Up to Confront Megaloads

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from Earth First! Newswire

After a patchy and confusing legal procedure, the Omega Morgan megaload will be moving through Eastern Oregon tomorrow—permits or no permits—and Rising Tide is heading out to meet them head-on.

According to Portland Rising Tide, “folks from Eugene, Corvalis, Albany, Portland and more are heading to Umatilla to meet the megaload of tar sands equipment coming through Oregon in its way to the Alberta tar sands. If you’re interested in going east or helping organize a solidarity demonstration near Portland, please message us”

The Omega load is scheduled to travel down Highway 395 from Umatilla, Oregon. The route will then take it through to Mt. Vernon, crossing onto the Highway 26 and pushing east into Idaho. The long haul may take as long as two weeks if weather is bad.

According to Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative, plans to raise power lines and move poles that may be in the way of the Omegaload have been scratched, and the schedule is to move forward with no delay. In the words of the OTEC spokesperson, “[Omega Morgan] think they can make it under all of our lines.”

Oregon’s All Against the Haul group disagrees: “There has been almost no advanced warning, nor any public comment process,” the group states in a press release. “Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been handling the expedited permitting process, ‘because of contractual terms between the contractor and his customer.’ ODOT should be representing the Oregon public not just corporate business interests. There has not been sufficient time to be sure this is a safe transportation process.”

Activists with Wild Idaho Rising Tide argue that the route poses unsafe risks for infrastructure and ecosystems: “Interstate 90 bridges cannot bear Idaho’s longest (376 feet) and heaviest (901,000 pounds) tar sands megaload, which must cross a third of the state to chance a span on the Snake River, the previous megaload conduit to Lewiston area ports. It then traverses Craters of the Moon National Monument.”

Eastern Washington Rising Tide has also pledged to protest the megaload.

ODOT will keep people updated on the megaloads at tripcheck.com.

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