Missoula Women Arrested During Megaload Protest

Three Missoula women were arrested early Friday while protesting a megaload of oilfield equipment on Reserve Street, an activist group said.

The women – Carol Marsh, Debbie Florence and Gail Gilman – joined members of Indian Peoples Action, Northern Rockies Rising Tide and the Blue Skies Campaign in protesting as the megaload made its way through Missoula.

The arrests came after protesters blocked Reserve Street in front of the trucks, bringing the shipment to a stop for about 20 minutes, according to a statement from Northern Rockies Rising Tide.

The members of Indian People’s Action also released a statement saying, “We are standing in solidarity with our cousins of the Nez Perce tribe, the Umatilla and the cousins to the north whose lives are being drastically affected by the destructive nature of the needless extraction of tar sands. This is leaving the land uninhabitable and our people with no place to go.”

Friday morning’s megaload weighed close to 750,000 pounds, and is moving through Oregon, southern Idaho and Montana to Alberta, Canada, to be used for oilfield work. It advanced to the former Stimson mill site in Bonner, where it is reconfigured for Canadian highways.

The megaload is the last of three controversial pieces of massive tar sands mining equipment, originating from the Port of Umatilla, Ore., to make their way through Montana this year.

About 80 people joined the protest in Missoula.

“We are at a critical point where there is no turning back. The land and water are being destroyed for a dwindling fuel source, we need to work now to transition into renewable energy sources that are already available to us and could create good jobs that can sustain and boost our economy, while also saving our agricultural land and diminishing water supplies” said, Naomi Odermann, media liason with Indian Peoples Action

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