Idaho Rivers United & Nez Perce Tribe joins forces against megaload transport

Idaho Rivers United & Nez Perce Tribe joins forces against megaload transport »Play Video
The ecological impact of the megaload is a concern.
SYRINGA, ID - Several groups of protesters voiced their dislike for the megaload all the way to the Montana border, as the big rig made a final push, out of the state of Idaho Thursday night.

Reporter Sophia Miraglio was on the scene and tells us about a new alliance that joined the protest.

Nez Perce tribal members stood side by side and shoulder to shoulder with environmentalists, who traveled from throughout the Northwest to share their similar concerns.

"The 3,500 members of my organization as well as tribal members are opposed to the idea of turning this river corridor into an industrial thru way and a parking lot for this equipment that's headed for the tar sands," said Idaho Rivers United Executive Director Bill Sedivy.

While much has been made about the economic benefits the megaloads bring to our region, those on the other side of the issue worry about the ecological impact.

"Even if you don't care about the environment there are people dying and that should be enough to want to stop this," said Pullman resident Alana Walker.

The tar sands is a region in Canada that has a substantial amount of oil, however getting to it has proven to be costly. Tribal members and environmentalists claim that the greatest cost comes at the expense of the planet, as well as the Natives living in that area.

"My family we have Nez Perce people up in Alberta Canada, and it's killing the land, the water, the air in Alberta," said Puyallup resident, Tracy Arthur.

Officials from Idaho Rivers United say their grateful for what the protests have achieved.

"The Nez Perce Tribe has done incredible, doing their part over the past three nights," said Sedivy.

Because of the protests, Idaho State Police provided an escort to the recent megaload. However they made it known that they weren't messing around.

"The State Police Officers stopped and got out of the car and told us that there would be a zero tolerance to any type of disturbance to the megaload," said Nez Perce Tribal member Judy Oatman. "And I think it really has people on edge and and pretty cautious on what we do tonight."

And for the first time no one was arrested.

"We've made multiple contacts tonight, but for the most part everybody has been cordial and quick to move out of the way if they are starting a problem," said Idaho State Police Sergeant Ken Yount.

One of the biggest difficulties along the trip occurred at mile marker 120. A bridge that is extremely hard for the megaload to cross, became more so due to the protest staged right there.

Reporting from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, Sophia Miraglio, KLEW News.

The megaload is in Montana near the Idaho border, and according to the Montana Department of Transportation the load won't be moving until Monday night. It's also worth noting that there were those who showed their support for the megaloads coming through in contrast to those who were there in protest.