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The citizens against the oversized oil equipment loads on Highway 12 in northern Idaho are back in the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) auditorium in Boise again today for the start of a contested case hearing against ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Imperial Oil. In December, ITD-appointed hearing officer Merlyn Clark allowed ConocoPhillips to transport four so-called megaloads of equipment from Lewiston to Billings. This time, several key circumstances have changed. Perhaps the most important difference is that the Conoco hearing concerned only four Conoco loads, and Clark repeatedly said he would not consider any issue concerning future loads on the road. Imperial Oil, on the other hand, intends to truck more than 200 loads to the Kearl Oil Sands development in Alberta, Canada. The outcome of this case will likely determine whether the state government and oil companies will be allowed to transform the highway into an industrial corridor for many oversized loads of mining equipment that several oil companies want to transport to the Canadian oil sands over the next years.

New Idaho Megaloads Hearings Address More Than 200 Shipments

The citizens against the oversized oil equipment loads on Highway 12 in northern Idaho are back in the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) auditorium in Boise again today for the start of a contested case hearing against ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Imperial Oil.

In December, ITD-appointed hearing officer Merlyn Clark allowed ConocoPhillips to transport four so-called megaloads of equipment from Lewiston to Billings. This time, several key circumstances have changed.

Perhaps the most important difference is that the Conoco hearing concerned only four Conoco loads, and Clark repeatedly said he would not consider any issue concerning future loads on the road. Imperial Oil, on the other hand, intends to truck more than 200 loads to the Kearl Oil Sands development in Alberta, Canada.

The outcome of this case will likely determine whether the state government and oil companies will be allowed to transform the highway into an industrial corridor for many oversized loads of mining equipment that several oil companies want to transport to the Canadian oil sands over the next years.

The potential for this transformation was made apparent by the first witness at today’s hearing. Ruth May, who owns a bed-and-breakfast inn on Highway 12, and is one of the official complainants or “intervenors” in the case, took a photo on Friday that was entered in evidence. It shows a tree-trimming crew shaving all the branches facing Highway 12 to their stumps on a big pine outside her inn. She said the crews had been cutting back all the extended branches up and down the road.

The reason for the pruning is that a test run of an oversized load for Imperial Oil left Lewiston on April 11, but knocked a 20-foot branch off a tree, and later hit a guy wire that closed the road for an hour and caused a power outage for five hours. The load has been stalled since then, as the subcontracted transport company, Mammoet, has worked on the clearance problems.

May testified that she believed the aesthetic attraction of her inn to tourists was damaged by the defacement of the trees. “I feel that the Wild and Scenic easement on that corridor was the asset I needed to sustain my business.” She said the inn is marketed as a quiet and beautiful getaway.

Another major difference between the Imperial hearing and Conoco’s hearing last year is the two Conoco loads that have gotten on the highway so far and the one Imperial test load have all experienced delays and difficulties in traversing the narrow, twisting road.

May testified that the Conoco loads—the only megaloads to reach her inn thus far—passed by her place within perhaps two minutes, but the entourage of police and other support vehicles began arriving about an hour and twenty minutes before the actual modules came. She said local traffic was held up for about 45 minutes near her place, 11 miles east of Kooskia, Idaho.

Before this hearing, lawyers for the citizens’ group requested the replacement of Clark, who was appointed by ITD Director Brian Ness. The intervenors charged that Clark’s written decision indicated he had not understood key facts of the case, including the length of time the loads would be on the road, and several safety issues. After consultation with lawyers on both sides, Ness appointed retired Idaho District Court Judge Duff McKee.

Yet another difference is that this hearing was not expedited as quickly as was the Conoco case, giving both sides more time to prepare. Also, it will last all week and probably into next week, compared to only two days for the Conoco hearing, allowing both sides to fully develop their cases and call more witnesses. Indeed, May’s testimony alone went for an hour and a half.

Another issue sure to be raised is that in negotiations with ITD, Imperial Oil personnel had insisted that Highway 12 was the only feasible route across Idaho, because the equipment could not be reduced in size, and the loads would be too high for overpasses on all other roads. In recent weeks, however, Imperial has been cutting down oversized modules and shipping them on another highway.

Meanwhile, legal opposition to the megaloads has escalated, with two other cases now pending. A federal court case is being brought by Idaho Rivers United against the U.S. Forest Service for allegedly abrogating its duty to protect the environmental integrity of the Wild and Scenic River corridor. Another suit has been mounted by the National Wildlife Federation, the Montana Environmental Information Center, the Montana chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Missoula County Commission against the Montana State Department of Transportation for allegedly failing to make a thorough analysis of the potential environmental and economic impacts of the megaloads traveling through that state.

Last Friday, as the Idaho leaders of the people’s movement against the megaloads, Lin Laughy and Karen “Borg” Hendrickson, made their final preparations for the hearing, they were feeling downbeat. Like Ruth May, they had watched crews “chopping hell out of the trees,” Laughy said in a telephone interview. “They’re cutting everything back at least three feet off the fog line on both sides.”

“In part, it’s been depressing to us because the Forest Service has been just sitting there, letting them do all this stuff,” Hendrickson said. “Everyone in the Wild and Scenic River corridor is obligated to abide by public property easements enforced by the Forest Service. We can’t trim branches off a tree. For us, it would be stopped. But here is big oil on the highway doing it, and the Forest Service is turning the other way.”

Hendrickson added that not only trees, but electrical lines have been affected. “Yesterday, we were watching new poles go up about six feet farther away from the highway,” she said, “which gives greater credence to our argument that this is not just 207 loads, this is a permanent transformation of the Wild and Scenic River corridor into an industrial megaload truck route. They’re going to have a harder time saying that is not the case.”

After May’s testimony, another tourist accommodation owner and outfitter, Peter Grubb, testified about the damage to his businesses of the first megaloads and his concerns about the future. Laughy, who testified in the Conoco hearing, will give more lengthy testimony this time. Other witnesses to be called by the citizens’ group include: Gary Mcfarlane, ecosystem defense director of the nonprofit Friends of the Clearwater, and representatives of about three dozen citizens who have been monitoring and filming the megaloads and their mile-long convoys.

Among expert witnesses to be called by lawyers for the intervenors are: University of Montana economist Steven Seninger, to talk about the potential economic impact of the megaloads on the tourism industry; Pat Dobie of Dobie Engineering in Boise, to discuss potential road damage, traffic, and safety issues; Lt. Allen Oswald and Capt. Lonnie Richardson of the Idaho State Police; Kenneth Johnson, project manager of Imperial Oil’s transportation program to supply its oil sands development in Canada; and staff members of ITD.

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40 comments

  1. I sure hope these megaload giants get thrown off these beautiful roads. Thank you all for all the time your putting into this fight, I know it will be along one for you. I visit your great state of Montana, and I can only imagine what it must look like with all those beautiful trees all hacked up. What a horrible shame.
    God be with you during this battle.

  2. The real fact is that 4600 north central Idaho tourism jobs are at stake and the $166 million tourism industry upon which those jobs depend, an industry which is entirely enabled by north central Idaho’s greatest asset: it’s wild, pristine, scenic river corridors.

    Since routes other than U.S.12 ARE AVAILABLE to Big Oil, there is NO reason to destroy north central Idaho’s tourism industry and risk 4600 jobs.

  3. Yes, it will be so peaceful to be camped along the Lochsa River and in a forest service campground and be awakened every night by the megaloads and their entourage as they pass by. That will certainly draw the tourists to the area – right!

    What a loss and travesty to our state – this corridor is one of the last best places in Idaho and it will be gone forever. Those who support the transport are very short-sighted.

  4. I live in Maine where we struggle to preserve what’s left of our beautiful land and the creatures who live in it – people included. We are far from being wealthy, except when it comes to appreciation of what nature has given us. I’ve seen those areas in Idaho which are being destroyed to make way for big oil rigs, and what is happening there brings me to tears. We fight so hard to preserve what is worth preserving, only to be ground under the feet of ‘progress,’ also known as the fastest way to make a buck regardless of the consequences. The harder we resist, the longer our world will live.
    Thanks for your efforts, Idaho, and especially Borg and Lin.

  5. Butch Otter and many in his court have sold their souls to big money. He should be recalled. The ITD Board needs to be ousted with people who have Idaho’s best interest at heart. I sent an email to a head honcho at the US Forest Service telling him that his employer no longer cares about Idaho. All of this is sad, indeed. The big equipment needs to be put on a barge and sent back down river to the Pacific. Then a tug needs to push it North to British Columbia. Since its destination is Canada, let Canada deal with it.

  6. I concur with these last 2 comments and thank you for the courage and insight to post these comments.

  7. Nice job starting right out hiring Idahoans for the highway 12 slaughter. We will probably be getting crews from Mexico, China or Panama. What you people don’t realize that are for these shipments is that this isn’t just another highway. This is a reason to be alive. This is the spark of life. This is/was a very spiritual place. Destroy these few places left, destroy the beauty…OK, you folks can buy your resort island after you make your millions and retire in Colombia after you remove the natives there. You are right. There are lots of pretty places in the world for grabs if you have the money and the power. Not just many left for the average person…I never dreamed that it could be all taken away so easily…Not in the United States. This is so third world extractive disgusting.

  8. Can you imagine waking up to this monstrous, noisy, blinking, bright, creeping convoy of smelly diesel exhausting procession in the middle of the night as you lay in your quiet tent in your campground listening to the gentle flowing music of the river. What a outrageous intrusion into what otherwise would be a silent and dark night in the mountains!

  9. These loads are against the law. They are heavier, wider and longer than anything that’s ever been on Highway 12. Due to the slow speeds they move at they are not able to keep traffic delays to a 15 min. minimum therefore they shouldn’t receive a permit from ITD based on ITD’s own bylaws. The fact that a multi-national corporation is able to come in and run over the laws put in place to protect the public – the public who paid for the road and continues to pay for it’s maintainance through tax dollars – is deplorable. The fact that the individuals in charge of decision making at ITD have no concern for the very citizens they represent is even more deplorable.
    There are no real jobs for Idahoans in this projects – even the tree trimmers hired to cut the trees in the wild and scenic section are from out of state – and those trees were cut on Easter Sunday two weeks after the test module left Lewiston embarking on a 3 day journey to show how flawlessy and efficiently the test module can move.
    There are other routes available and other options available to Exxon. Highway 12 is not suitable for megaloads.

  10. All those commenters who care about the preservation of natural and roadside beauty are unequivocally right on this issue.
    The oil companies lied about not being able to downsize the loads, and we were asked to swallow their lies. This state is being run by greedy bastards who can only see one shade of green, money-green—-only these days it’s not even green any more. It’s yellow!!–just like the morality of the high and wide corridor facilitators, including those forest service so-called public servants. They could and should have stopped the chopping off of tree limbs along the road. This travesty on the citizens of Idaho has been and still is illegal. It must not be allowed to stand.

  11. Amen to that, Dave.

    Donate to the public interest law firm handling the case: Advocates for the West in BOI. They have a website.

  12. I’m here in Texas..but it even makes me angry what is happening to Hwy 12…I am appauled what they are doing to the trees !!!!

  13. Thank you to the commenters who get it that this is about both the environment and Idaho jobs– Idaho jobs that are dependent upon the natural beauty and the tourism industry that has grown up and which sustains the local economies. And thanks to those who comment on the corruptability of politicians-somthing which seems to be a distinct probability in this case.

  14. Now I’m no welder but I did blow up some photos of the loads and see that there are indeed beads in the body of those modules. I am just guessing that welders in just about any country could build those things and that the modules could easily be broken down and reassembled in Montana or Canada by local workers. Do you really think Korean welders/manufacturers are more talented and capable than those in the destination?

    The damage to the already marginal local economy along HW 12 by these loads, the damage to the social fabric of the small towns and, the symbolism of Idaho selling out to global interests will be irreparable. Those who signed off on this in Idaho, my home state, should be ashamed.

  15. The only time laughy lies is when his lips move! I was at the Boise Hearings and he made of fool out himself and the people he represented. He is all about $$$ they picked a loser from the start. I thought Idaho people were smarter than that!
    Now let the nay say’ers put up 4 MILLION $ PERFORMANCE BOND before they can complain.
    Read the LETTER TO EDITOR IN THE MISSOULIAN FROM;
    R.BENNET 4-27 ON THE EVIL OF MEGA LOADS.
    Quit complaining and get a job

  16. Jerr j,
    You are so right about the appearance of Idaho selling out for a few dollars. I’ve lived in several States and people think of Idaho as the Skin Heads’ State. Now Idaho has another claim to fame!

  17. To Mike M. If the people of Idaho were that “smart”, they would never let this travesty get this out of control. Big Oil’s long term goal has been to turn Hwy 12 into a permanent transportation corridor for Exxon/Mobil ever since they got a whiff of money from the Alberta tar sands. Remember…”you don’t what you had until it’s gone”. The scenic and wild corridor doomed if this continues. The short term gain is not worth the long term damage to parts of the eco-system between Hwy 12 and Alberta. This whole thing is not well conceived and looks to be the product madmen playing out their “Mad Max” fantasies. God help us.

  18. Voice of Reason

    The biggest traversty of this issue is the misinformation you are building it on.

    1. The ~200 loads will destroy the scenic corridor.
    Actually, since the port was established in Lewiston in 1970’s, there have been literally tens of thousands of loads coming through the “scenic corridor” ranging from shipping containers (from Asia ) to other oversized mining equipment destined for Canada. But to date was little to no opposition to them, and there have been no long term damage.

    2. These loads are stealing American/Canadian jobs.
    Where is the computer you are reading this on made? Where were your clothes made? Where was your car made? If you want to start complaining about losing local jobs, take a look at yourself first.

    3. It will destroy the tourism industry.
    These loads are no different than the thousands of semi loads that pass up and down highway 12 every week. When the permanent upgrades are completed (raising powerlines / turnouts), the loads will pass through with very little disruption to traffic. What percentage of tourists are driving down the road between 11pm and 3 am when the loads are running?

    4. The oilsands are dirty and we can’t support it.
    The oil you buy from the middle east was produced by people who do not have ANY environmental regulations or care for their workers. The oilsands is strictly regulated and has one of the best safety records in the world. The old “easy oil” is not available at the rate the US consumes it, if you are really against the way oil is produced, stop using all your petroleum based products including gas, plastics and all the food that is flown/shipped/trucked to your local market. FYI, the US uses 18,690,000 barrels of oil PER DAY, more than twice what China uses and they have 4 times the number of people. If you stop wasting so much oil, then we won’t produce it, and the environment would be alot better off.

  19. lol@hypocrites

    So one or two welders and metalworkers say they could have built these loads and you all think they know what they are talking about? It has nothing to do with skill. Koreans are no more skilled then Americans or Canadians. However at the height of the oil boom in Alberta, there were no welders, pipefitters, and ironworkers available to do the work. not to mention, fabrication facilities were charging unreal prices. So Exxon sourced out a state of the art fabrication facility in South Korea.

    How many of you would opt for the “made in USA” $200 shirt over the identical $20 shirt “made in China”?

  20. There have NEVER been loads this large in size and weight traveling this byway. They will travel this byway for years on end – every day one or more loads will be on the highway. The delay in traffic at night will impact those traveling for social reasons and work at night – and how about those trying to sleep in campgrounds along the HW? So much for tranquility along a Wild and Scenic river. tourists won’t come back so it is a loss of Idaho tourist dollars.

    The plan in place is a travesty and will result in a loss of one of Idaho’s last best places.

    Exxon has just reported $11 billion in first quarter earnings. They don’t care about Idaho. I care because future generations won’t experience this gem along the Lochsa corridor but will instead experience traffic delays, lack of space in pullouts, and see a high and wide industrial route.

    Some people just don’t get the big picture or understand the ongoing extent of this Imperial Oil plan.

  21. BJ near Boise makes a good point: $11 BILLION in ONE QUARTER! Hell, Exxon could afford to fly these loads from Korea to Canada!

  22. Voice of reason is misinformed. There have never been loads of this size on the road. These are rolling roadblocks which take up both lanes of the road. They impact even normal truck commerce. If you think that’s not true then why did Conoco Phillips ask 7 trucking outfits to hold off shipping while they sent their modules through. The most common local truck traffic consists of logging trucks. On the initial Conoco Phillips run 8 logging trucks sat waiting to go during one almost hour long delay. Logging trucks start work at 2, or 4 im the morning depending on where the haul is. The oil companies transporters are allowed to block off the pull off for up to 24 hours at a time i.e. including during the day. So that blocks access to the river for recreation users. Cutting tree limbs and changing the look of the road is illegal for anyone else without a permit because it is a wild and scenic river. So Exxon Mobile is not only more important than we poor reacreational users of the river but also more important than the local tourism and logging industry jobs. Not only that we Idaho tax payers get to pay for the increased long term upkeep on this road.

  23. Voice of Reason

    Actually, I have pictures of mining truck boxes ( over 20′ wide ) being transported through highway 12. There have been pieces of steam turbines that weighed more than these modules transported (have pictures of these as well).

    BJ near Boise, the trucks that pull these loads are no more noisy than the ones that pull a standard legal sized trailer, so how will the 20-30 trucks a month disrupt the vacationers more than the hundreds of other trucks that pass through each month? There have also been pull outs created specifically for these modules to that they do not create a significant delay, and they do not monopolize the other spaces.

    CH, the loads that Conoco Phillips moved are different than the ones that are destined for the Exxon job in Canada in a few important ways, the trailers are much more mobile, the loads are narrower, and they can move much faster creating less delays. Also, you are upset that the minor trimming is ruining the appearance of your forest, but in the same post defend the local logging companies that are clear cutting it? Also, the trees get trimmed every few years to preserve the legal sized transportation envelope there so this is not something new. As for the increased road maintenance costs being footed by the tax payers you are also a little off target, these loads will have the same load per tire as a standard transport trailer so there is no significant increase in wear, and the permits they have to pay for are also designed to cover some of the additional costs of maintenance.

  24. Voice of Reason – thank you for your input.

    I believe there will be much more noise as a large convoy moves through and along the river and the flaggers set up and leapfrog – and what about the intense lights from the load and convoy – our campgrounds are just off the highway.

    This is will be a major disruption from lights and noise – all in a place where we go for peace and quiet, away from the city.

  25. Voice, it was the more nimble Exxon/Mobile test load that tore off a a 20 foot limb from the Lewiston City tree near the rose garden. It was that same test module that took out a guy wire and then a light pole resulting in power outages to 2 small towns (they had already raised the height of the poles-that activity was what clued the locals in to start asking questions) The first Conoco Phillips load scraped rock and caused multiple delays over the 15 minute ITD rule. All have been impacted by weather. In the real world none of the three modules that have gone through have had smooth sailing or had things work well. Lest you say well that’s just the weather, remember that Exxon/Mobile’s travel plan as first presented last summer specified traveling in the winter.

    According to sources such as the Lewiston Tribune no new turnouts were built in Idaho but some were made bigger and/or graveled. Exxon Mobile did pay for that.

    Last summer in response to questions ITD personnel admitted that the permit fees of the planned loads would not cover the administrative costs incurred up to that time in preparing for the loads.

  26. Canadian Voice

    BJ near Boise, I agree that there are some minor distractions to be had when loads like this comes through, but when weighed against the 30 million dollars in upgrades to the route that has been pumped into the local business to prepare the route for these loads. Over the duration of the shipments, over 100 million will be invested into the area (Per interview with Chris Allard posted on http://www.buisnesswire.net). I think that an area that is still suffering from a high unemployment rate will benefit more from these moves happening, than suffer from the campers that would be disrupted by the very minor increase in noise.

    CH, there were 3 companies (2 local) that conducted independent route surveys and each verified that the load could pass. Mammoet, the transporter, has an outstanding record worldwide. I think they did all they could to try to ensure they passed without incident. The last thing they want is for incidents like those to happen.

    To both of you, I appreciate the candour and civility of our conversation, it is rare that it happens on this heated of a discussion.

  27. Not able to access the Chris Allard interiew. Do you have some other link to get there. From a cursory look Business wire seems to be a place for businesses to post press releases-at least they are very upfront about soliciting them.

    Are you sure that the figures you presented were just for Idaho rather than the total for Montana and Idaho ? Exxon/Mobile was spending much more in Montana and paying higher permit fees.

    And again ITD admitted that the fees would not recoup their costs.

  28. Canadian Voice –

    Oh yes let’s see: Korean-made megaloads, Oregon company trimming branches along scenic byway, Canadian Mammoet transport company, Kearle Project managers from Ontario, Canada.

    Idaho jobs? Where? Temporary flaggers? Or accessing rural communities such as motels and restaurants? You state the “30 million dollars in upgrades to the route that has been pumped into the local business to prepare the route for these loads.” Did we need these upgrades for this scenic area – were they necessary for we the people using this special place? No, it was done in secrecy since 2008 and only for the megaloads without any in-depth consideration of the effects on rural citizens and their economy. It will be “tourists beware” and we will lose tourist dollars. Who wants to visit an industrial highway?

    Shame on you for preaching to us, the ones who intimately know and love this special pristine place. How about the megaloads traveling everyday through your property or along one of your provincial parks or in your front yard?

  29. Canadian Voice do you by any chance work for the Kearl Oil Sands Project? If not I don’t understand why you would want to perpetuate these misconceptions.
    1st – 30 million dollars have not been “pumped” into the route as you state -nowhere even close- unless you are talking about back door political buyouts or something along those lines. Some of the money used to make highway 12 “megaload ready” came from US taxpayers – the same place where the money will come from to put it back together after the megaloads are done with it.
    2nd -Mammoet’s worldwide record might be good but they’ve had two accidents hauling megaloads in North America in the past year. Due to the nature of highway 12 and the number of accidents that take place there it’s no stretch of the imagination to think any hauler might run into problems on 12 – especially with a project of the size and scope of Imperial Oil’s.
    3rd -These loads aren’t helping the local unemployment rate because they aren’t employing locals with the exceptions of those locals that already have jobs – like ISP, ITD and utility workers. Most, if not all of the truck drivers, flaggers and security guards are out of state. Basically they want to use highway 12 and put at risk the very people who rely it without giving them anything back but a bunch of bs spin.
    4th- to belittle out concern about the impacts this project will have on our tourism industry by saying that campers would suffer a minor increase in noise shows a complete lack of understanding of our area and our economy. noise is the least of the problems associated with these loads.
    Canadian Voice -there are other routes available to these loads and of course they can be made right in your back yard where the steelworkers are in need of the work. Instead of trying to justify the take over of a U.S. highway with false propoganda I ask you to listen to the people who live here and tell your friends at Imperial/Exxon that highway 12 is not a suitable route for megaloads.

  30. highway12girl – yes, you have hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

    On both sides, we need to listen to and hear your clear voice.

  31. Re-load all the mega machines back onto barges, send them down the river and up to Canada. Let the country that will benefit from these machines deal with getting them there.

  32. big sky – highway 12 and it’s bridges were not built for international megaloads but for interstate commerce. for one thing the highway wasn’t even wide enough until they modified it in 2009 with tax payer dollars – loads of this size were not in consideration for the route in 1964. these megaloads disrupt current in-state and interstate semi-trucking especially between idaho and montana.

    these loads are larger than anything ever hauled on any idaho highway. if there was only one or two of them it wouldn’t be much of an issue but due there being 200+ they will be stressing the road bed and bridges well beyond what they were built for.

    we grow wheat over here too and have no problem with the minor inconvenience of farm equipment on the highway, nor do we complain when the occassional oversize load passes through our area but to insinuate that we should allow an illegal use of highway 12 that puts both the residents and the taxpayers at risk so a multi-national corporation can cut corners on their way to canada is downright wrong.

  33. I am wondering how so many can be so mis informed. These loads are not noisy, they have no more noise than a normal semi truck that traverses this corridor daily. I live on US 12, I have property on the highway frontage. I don’t get all the stories that are untrue filtering into such publications. Those loads have brought thousands of dollars into a troubled economy.
    Only time will tell if they will be allowed to come Hwy 12 or US 95. For pity sakes, these roads were built for commerce not tourists. I have over a million dollars in property on US 12, show me one REAL reason to be against them.

  34. Greenie lover,
    you are welcome to your feeling that it doesn’t bother you. But where did you get the idea that lots of money is flowing into Idaho because of the megaloads. Except for the paying of the police and a few flaggers the other jobs associated with this are all out of state. We really are not getting that much in new jobs or help to the economy.

  35. by greenie lover i’m guessing you mean you love the money.
    the article doesn’t mention anything about the noise of the loads so i’m not sure why you bring it up.
    highway 12 was built for commerce and travel. tourism combines both. commerce doesn’t just mean moving material – people traveling to lewiston or missoula on highway 12 partake in commerce too.
    megaloads put at risk the current commerce. itd had to ask 7 trucking companies to stay off the hwy while the megaload traveled. megaloads don’t bring enough money into our area in order to off-set the economic losses to our area or long term problems related to them. maybe you are one of the few people in the area who are benefitting finacially from these loads. i’m happy for your increase in “green” but am concerned about the precedent that is being set and about the potential more serious problems to happen down the road.
    highway 12 and it’s bridges were not built for loads of this size – it will be taxpayers who end up fitting the bill when all is said and down and it will be locals who suffer the inconvenience and take the risks.

  36. I mentioned the noise because the comments on this site brought it up. The money has nothing to do with my not seeing any problems with using Hwy 12 for large, oversized loads. I feel that the road was built for commerce and we should not keep anyone off of it. I am a 6th generation Idahoan, I am proud to be from here. My grandmother was born on the banks of this very river in 1897. I love this area, I live next to the river, I still don’t see your heartburn over these shipments. I think that the underlying reasons may be that the shipments are going to produce more oil and that the oil companies have made too much money. Maybe you feel they are running over us. I am not sure. I just am stating my opinion. I do not have a problem with them. Most of the folks that live on this corridor don’t either. It is just a hand full of out of staters that are causing all the problems.

  37. Greenie Lover – I am not an “out of stater” as you mentioned. And there is not a handful of people against this but rather a majority of Idaho people who are against this project. There are non-supporters monitoring the news of this project throughout the region and West and across to the East Coast.

    Just to clarify – non-supporters want to preserve the river corridor from damage and losses from transporting big equipment on his highway.

    After attending the mega-load hearings in Boise for 2 weeks, I have seen how the oil and transport companies have already “run over” the ITD and governor whose attitudes have been = “whatever Exxon or Conoco or Mommoet says should be done is fine with Idaho”.

    Now we find out that in estimating damages to one section of the highway, Idaho’s expected revenue generated by this project will only be 23% of the estimated cost of the damage to the highway. The damage is projected to be $550,000 for this one section. So, Idaho taxpayers, get ready to pay big – 67% of $550,000 is $368,500 for just one stretch of the highway! Idaho is being run over!!

    If you have grown up in this river canyon, I am surprised that you “do not have a problem with this”. As you read this blog and news reports, you will get a better understanding of the impacts of the megaloads on Idaho and its people. That is the main point.

    Stating your opinion is respected.

  38. Communicating is a good thing but I’m not sure that bantering back and forth on this site is doing much good.

    I assume that Dr. Laughy and Ms. Berg have contacted Governor Andrus and asked for his support, but I don’t know this for certain. Has anyone contacted the Federal Government regarding the cost to Highway 12? (Go around ITD. It has sold it’s soul) A few calls to Washington, DC, may help. Identify Congressmen/women who are in tune with environmental issues. And now that it’s been divulged that the cost to repair Idaho’s highways will be far greater than money taken in, Idaho’s voters should be the biggest supporters of not allowing megaloads on Idaho highways. The majority of Idahoans are very committed to not paying taxes. Look up Idaho Press Club on the internet and send letters to all newspapers in the state. Report the real cost of the long-term effect of using Idaho highways and the result should cause the megaloads to be sent back to the Pacific Ocean. Big oil will then float the equipment to Canada, the country that should be dealing with the transport to Alberta.

  39. I can see that your minds are set. So this shall be my last blog on this site. The roads according to the “plan” are to fixed by the oil companies. I believe that was part of the agreement.
    I have a neighbor that worked with the big oil companies for years, he says they will buy their way up this road.
    So I guess the bottom line is for everyone, they will come whether you like it not. It probably was decided long before anyone in the public was aware.

  40. greenie lover I think that’s what concerns us the most – that this was decided long ago, without any public input and without a thorough understanding of the impacts such a change will have on our area and without a comprehensive understanding of the highway itself and the role it plays in keeping commerce flowing to our area.
    not to mention the role mother nature plays in keeping the highway unpredictable.
    from the way that the laws are being bent you’re probably right that they will come whether we like it or not but that’s why it’s more important than ever to hold them accountable – both the oil companies and our state officials – and make sure that our individual rights don’t get trampled in the rush to exploit highway 12. this is a public highway. we are the public and have every right to express our concern in the face of public officials and corporate spokesmen who say one thing but do another.