Idahoans plan next moves against big oil’s megaloads

With first, 4 megaloads likely to get go ahead, how can the next 200+ be stopped?

” ‘In some respects it would be nice to get the four loads off the table so we could talk about the real issues,’ said [Linwood] Laughy, who lives along the federal scenic byway in Kooskia, Idaho.”

Laughy is saying movement of the first 4, the only America- bound loads up Highway 12, will show how accurate the objections to and promises being made are.

Read the rest of the AP story in the Idaho Statesman.Foes of megaloads to decide on path forward.”

Of course, the loads are still sitting in the port of Lewiston, ID and central Idaho is locked in deep winter. Weather, courts could stall Idaho megaloads. Dec 29, 2010. By The Associated Press.

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While the usual international corporation supporters back the megaloads, the major group opposing them is the Idaho-based public interest law firm, Advocates for the West.

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Earlier NYT story on local residents opposing megaloads. Oil Sands Effort Turns on a Fight Over a Road. By Tom Zeller

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From New West: Megaloads Court Battle Looks Like A Close Call

Report on last week’s hearing predicts the decision on the megaloads will be close-

Having won a hard fought battle to intervene on the decision whether to allow the first megaloads of oil equipment up Highway 12 and over Lolo Pass, the full hearing last week pitted local residents and the Boise based law firm, Advocates for the West against ConocoPhillips oil.

Steve Bunk has a lengthy article about the hearing in New West. Dec. 10

Here’s an interesting tidbit from the hearing: “It . . . was confirmed during questioning that the Conoco employees at the hearing were being paid by the company to attend in lieu of going to work. Moreover, Conoco had hired lobbyists in Washington, D.C., and for Idaho and Montana, and was placing newspaper advertisements about the loads to counteract the public outcry and interviews [intervenor’s  attorney Laird] Lucas had given.”

Idaho judge halts wide loads on Highway 12

Well, at least a delay on the oil company monopolization of U.S. Highway 12 across north central Idaho. The suit was brought by aggrieved local residents such as Peter Grubb, a guide and lodge owner on Highway 12. Advocates for the West represented the plaintiffs.

IDOT was clearly violating its own regulations in issuing these permits to the oil companies, probably under intense pressure from Governor Otter who thinks this is the route to economic improvement in the state’s pathetic economy.

Idaho judge halts wide loads on Highway 12. By Todd Dvorak. Bloomberg/Business Week

Judge Orders Pygmy Rabbit Endangered Species Consideration

This is pretty amazing because federal judge Edward Lodge of Idaho rarely rules in favor of conservation groups. Once again this shows how compromised the Bush/Kempthorne USFWS is.

News Release

For more information

Katie Fite, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 871-5738
Todd Tucci, Advocates for the West, (208) 342-7024
Duane Short, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, (307) 742-7978 or (270) 366-3415
Josh Pollock, Center for Native Ecosystems, (303) 546-0214
Bill Marlett, Oregon Natural Desert Association, (541) 330-2638
Mark Salvo, Sagebrush Sea Campaign, (503) 757-4221


BOISE, ID – Wednesday September 26 Federal District Judge Edward Lodge of the District of Idaho struck down a decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the agency lacked sufficient scientific information to warrant Endangered Species Act listing consideration. The judge ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider this small sagebrush mammal for listing and to issue a new 90-day finding.

“Under this decision, the FWS can no longer ignore the plummeting pygmy rabbit populations”, said Todd Tucci, attorney with Advocates for the West. “The Service must put politics aside, and let science dictate the outcome of its review.”

The pygmy rabbit weighs about a pound and a half and can fit in the palm of a hand. This unique rabbit climbs high into the branches of sagebrush to browse on the leaves, making it the only arboreal rabbit in North America. Pygmy rabbits require areas of tall, old sagebrush, typically found in valley bottoms.

“The BLM in 2007 is still relentlessly mowing, chopping, burning and herbiciding pygmy rabbit habitats, said Katie Fite of Western Watersheds Project. “Remnant thick and old growth sagebrush is being destroyed in BLM and Forest Service projects dubbed ‘hazardous fuels reduction’ or wildlife habitat projects. In reality, these are the same as the old livestock forage projects that have already obliterated so much of the Sagebrush Sea.”

“Sagebrush dependent wildlife, from pygmy rabbits to sage grouse, are under siege from the dual forces of livestock grazing and cheatgrass-driven fires, turning thousands of acres of the West into a barren moonscape,” said Bill Marlett, Executive Director of the Oregon Natural Desert Association. Read the rest of this entry »