Locus Focus on 06/24/13
The Heavy Haul: Fighting Goliath
THIS PROGRAM WAS ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON MARCH 21, 2011
While we worry about melting nuclear reactor cores and fuel rods in Japan, another environmental crisis is brewing closer to home. On this episode of Locus Focus we find out why the Alberta Tar Sands endanger the world and how its industrialized tentacles are trying to creep across the United States.
For the several months in 2011 and 2012, a convoy of trucks carrying megaloads three stories high and weighing 650,000 pounds each, wended their way through the scenic corridors of the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers in Idaho, over Lolo Pass, and up the remote and pristine byways of Montana. These trucks were part of proposed 300-load "Heavy Haul" on its way to the Tar Sands pits of NE Alberta. The behemoth machines are manufactured in South Korea, shipped across the Pacific Ocean and then up the Columbia and Snake Rivers where they waited at the Port of Lewiston, Idaho, for permits to continue on narrow, twisty mountain roads to their destination: one of the largest and most polluting industrial operations in the world.
Many people living along this route are not only unhappy with the prospect of transforming the landscape of their pristine mountain homes into a permanent industrial corridor. They have organized and are fighting back. This route is one of the many proposed tentacles connecting the Tar Sands operations in Alberta with a petroleum-thirsty customer base in the lower 48 states. On this episode of Locus Focus we delve more deeply into the longterm consequences of industrializing the wildlands of the Pacific Northwest and Rockie Mountains. We talk with Zack Porter (campaign coordinator for All Against the Haul in Missoula) and Linwood Laughy (with Fighting Goliath), as we look at how the Heavy Haul is just one more in a myriad of reasons why the massive operation to extract petroleum from the Alberta Oil Sands is unsustainable and will cause permanent destruction to ecological and human systems, as it exacerbates the climate crisis.
The Heavy Haul corridor was stopped (for now) by court decisions and Imperial Oil's decision to withdraw their permit application in March 2012. But activists in Montana and Idaho are not letting down their guard.