The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Yoko Silk -; 541-517-7766
Caroline Hudson -; 971-255-3679
Trip Jennings -; 541-729-3294

Third Tar Sands Megaload Fuels Ongoing Controversy; Citizens to Confront Shipment

Umatilla, OR

On Wednesday evening Feb 10th, at 7PM members of Rising Tide and other concerned citizens will gather at the Port of Umatilla for a rally to confront the third megaload moving through Oregon bound for the Alberta tar sands. This is the last load of three which were shipped to the port late last year and have been waiting for shipment since November. The first two megaloads sparked large controversy and protest from climate justice groups and the Umatilla Confederated tribes due to tar sands contribution to climate change and lack consultation with the tribal government.

This action is the most recent in a string of over 10 regional actions against megaloads and tar sands extraction in the past two months. The actions started December 1st, when two activists were arrested for successfully blocking the megaload from leaving the Port of Umatilla. Two weeks later, resistance continued when activists locked themselves to two disabled vehicles in front of the 450 ton, 376 foot long megaload, blocking its route along highway 26 outside of John Day. Police arrested 16 activists that evening, forcibly extracting them from the blockade and arresting all present.

Equipment shipped in these loads would be used to extract tar sands bitumen which would supply oil for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and facilitate the expansion of what many have called the most destructive industrial project on Earth. Portland Rising Tide publicly urges Governor Kitzhaber to prevent the Northwest from becoming a fossil fuel corridor including coal, oil and gas export and tar sand equipment transport. In December protesters filled the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) office with the message that megaload transport is not in the public interest as needed for a special use permit.

According to Rising Tide Organizer Marguerite Hall, a major concern for activists is that Oregon could become a long term corridor for heavy haul equipment bound for the the tar sands and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects. Because the megaloads travel on public roads, Omega Morgan is required to obtain a special use permit from ODOT. Oregon law requires that special use permits only be issued if they are deemed to be in the public interest. "How can facilitating the expansion of the most destructive industrial project on earth and causing catastrophic climate change be in the public interest? It simply can't" said Hall.