Groups Block Megaload Delivery of Tar Sands Equipment in Idaho
Nearly 150 members of the Nez Perce Nation were joined by Idle No More, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and others in a blockade of Highway 12 in Idaho late last night to stop a megaload carrying tar sands equipment.
While most people stood on the edges of the road to support the blockaders, the manifestation included about 50 people on the highway physically stopping traffic, and was the longest blockade—at three hours—since the beginning of the megaloads shipments.
The oversized water evaporator carried in the megaload had received one permit, but bypassed approval by the U.S. Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration. The Forest Service even raised objections, but the Oregon-based shipper Omega Morgan tried to slip the megaload through unnoticed.
Judging by its position, the megaload is set to travel across Nez Perce ancestral land and a Wild and Scenic Corridor soon, so the tribal members decided to take direct action rather than wait for an injunction. Along with Idle No More and WIRT, the megaload was easily located, tracked and blocked.
In a news release, the Nez Perce stated their opposition “based on impacts to treaty-reserved resources, tribal commerce and governmental functions, federally-protected historic and cultural resources and Nez Perce national landmarks located along U.S. 12, and tribal member health and welfare.”
“I don’t look at this as a symbolic issue,” explained Silas Whitman, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe. “Otherwise, we’d just issue a press statement, put up a few signs and just let it go. No. We’ve run out of time and initiatives. So that leaves us with disobedience, civil disobedience.”
Whitman was arrested along with more than a dozen blockaders from Idle No More and WIRT after police broke through the blockade by driving a police car through the group of people. Police used the usual tactics to break up the blockade, threatening mace, pushing activists, separating parents from children, and so on.
According to WIRT’s Facebook page, “This blockade lasted longer than any other regional megaload obstruction since the first tar sands extraction modules rolled from Lewiston area ports on Feb. 1, 2011. People are talking about further blockades on upcoming nights, perhaps in Kamiah.”
Visit EcoWatch’s TAR SANDS page for more related news on this topic.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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