Montana Wildlife Federation is going to sue over the oil megaloads

Idaho landowners and conservationists to get help from Montana allies-

National Wildlife Federation Prepared to Sue Montana Over Mega-loads. By George Prentice. Boise Weekly.

Exxon is now getting ready to test taking the megaloads up Highway 12 and through Montana. There could be as many as 200 gigantic loads from Exxon sent to Alberta. Some, however, are being broken down into smaller loads so they don’t have to travel on beautiful Highway 12.

– – – – – –
Here is some good news on the struggle fighting the tar sand oil. Ottawa fights EU’s dirty fuel label on oil sands. Climate Connections. The EU is going to label it as a dirty fuel.

Update on the oil megaloads on Highway 12

One megaload reaches Lolo; one stuck on Highway 12-

We haven’t covered this for a while, but as many predicted the movement is not going smoothly.

1 megaload reaches Lolo; 1 stuck on Highway 12. By Jamie Kelly. Missoulian.

First four oil megaloads get “go ahead” by Idaho Dept. of Transportation

If first four loads don’t go up and over smoothly, battle will likely last for a generation-

The megaloads for the Billings, MT oil refinery now have a go ahead from Idaho, and will probably get one quickly from Montana. Highway 12 itself has been slippery to very slippery except in its lower portion.  Parts of it have also been briefly closed to reduced to one lane due to rockslides.

Idaho official signs off on Highway 12 megaload permits. By Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian missoulian.com

Oil company megaloads to stay at port in Lewiston for Christmas

Idaho activists successfully delay megaloads into 2011-

Hearing officer does not issue a decision on the international oil company megaloads sitting at the Port of Lewiston, Idaho. Decision will be coming out at an undefined future date.

No ruling before Christmas on megaloads. Lewiston (ID) Tribune on-line

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.”

More Lolo Pass Megaloads Opponents Emerge

Impacts of giant oil machinery on roadside business and emergency medical care on Highway 12 questioned-

Imagine you live on Highway12 and have a medical emergency. It’s night. If you can get to Lewiston or Orofino for care, you will live. Your spouse gets you into the pickup and pulls out onto Highway12, but a giant oil rig from Korea or China blocks the entire highway including the borrow pit.

An American family, now reduced to the status of peasants, has their father or mother die as international oil plows its way to Albertan tar sand pits.

More Lolo Pass Megaloads Opponents Emerge. By Steve Bunk. New West

Posted in politics. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on More Lolo Pass Megaloads Opponents Emerge

Oil companies lose first round on Highway 12

Hearing judge recommends that Highway 12 residents should be allowed to intervene against movement of giant oil equipment-

What a pleasant Thanksgiving surprise!

Hearing officer sides with foes of megaloads. By Todd Dvorak. Associated Press.

Posted in politics. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Oil companies lose first round on Highway 12

Much awaited hearing: Oil companys says plaintiffs in Highway 12 suit lack standing

Hearing officer limits testimony he will consider to small matters-

The much awaited hearing on giant oil machinery on Highway 12 was held today in Boise. It sounds like the Idaho Dept. of Transportation hearing officer will oil the way for the movement of the giant oil modules.

The hearing officer said he would only consider the first 4 modules, not the hundreds more to follow. The first 4 go to the Billings, Montana refinery, not Alberta’s tar sand pits.

The oil company said the plaintiffs, 4 citizens along Highway 12, lack standing to because they weren’t singled out — the transport won’t affect them to any greater extent than other citizens along the highway. Happily for Conoco, the hearing officer also said he would limit his review to whether foes have a right to get involved at this stage of the process.”

Oil company says foes lack standing in US 12 case. By Todd Dvorak. AP (from Business Week)

Boise Weekly has a story giving more of the color of the hearing. Overflow Hearing on Oversized Loads. By George Prentice.

Conoco hires big Idaho lobbyist to speed their use of Highway 12

This is important, and there is a story.  Usually we don’t hear (read of) the really important stuff, and this is.

Idaho lobbyist to lead campaign for Conoco. AP in Magicvalley.com

Idaho issues oversized load permits, but stays shipments for now

Public input is required, but conditional permits are issued-

Note: the hearing will be on Friday, Nov. 19 in Boise. The hearing will be at ITD Headquarters in Boise, 3311 W. State Street. (208) 334-8000

Advocates for the West won a brief victory Friday on behalf of local residents of Highway 12. These temporarily block the first 4 shipments (which go to Billings not Canada). They are for ConocoPhillips. Later ExxonMobil seeks to move over 200 giant shipments over the highway, which parallels the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers, over Lolo Pass and through Montana to Alberta.

“Each of the Exxon loads would weigh 300 tons, stretch 227 feet long, reach 27 feet high and 29 feet in width – wide enough to take up both lanes of the highway. Trucks would move only at night and pull over in newly designed turnouts during the day.” Read more of this AP story by Todd Dvorak.

It has been discovered that oil companies plan to use scenic, narrow Highway 12 for at least a decade for hauling giant equipment, so this will be a continuing issue if big oil wins.

Idaho business group backs plan to move oversized loads on U.S. Highway 12

“Business Group?”  You can bet this group is pure astroturf!

Stung by grassroots opposition in North Idaho and Montana to turning U.S. Highway 12 into an industrial highway to haul oversized oil equipment to Canada, a so-called business group has been formed. If you go to their web site, it seems to be associated with the Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce (who reportedly funneled millions of foreign money in the recent congressional campaign).  It would seem appropriate that they now do the bidding of international oil companies who don’t care one bit about the jobs and lives of the people in Idaho and Montana.

You can bet this group itself is no more than a P. O. Box, but from somewhere right now, and the near future, the resources will come to flood inboxes of newspapers, and the electronic media with propaganda of how the movement of all this giant machinery over many years is some great economic benefit to the natives who will watch it roll past, blocking their access to the highway.

Idaho business group backs plan to move oversized loads on U.S. Highway 12. By the Associated Press in missoulian.com

Idaho Supreme Court ruling gives big hope to oil companies

Idaho’s highest court rules Judge John Bradbury lacked jurisdiction-

This is not an immediate go ahead for the oil companies to move up Highway 12, but hopes for a quick kill of the oil juggernaut are gone.

Update: I understand that this decision might allow the movement of 4 large coke drums up Highway 12. These are bound for Billings, not Alberta. Winter will soon be closing in, making movement soon before transportation becomes too difficult in the winter.

Idaho Court Tosses megaloads ruling. By JOHN MILLER – Associated Press.

Leading the fight against the international dirty oil consortium is the Idaho public interest law firm, Advocates for the West.

– – – – – – – –

There is a good update and analysis of the ruling in New West. Latest Ruling on Big Rigs and Highway 12 Not About Merits of the Case. The majority opinion for the Nov. 1 Idaho Supreme Court ruling cites jurisdiction questions in its overruling a lower-court decision in August that stopped the transport. By Steve Bunk, 11-02-10

Highway 12 promise to become industrial highway found hidden in Korean!

Promises to Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil to use scenic Highway 12 to haul huge oil modules for a decade discovered hidden on Korean, not in plain English-

Talk about lack of transparency in Montana and Idaho state governments!  It’s good this was revealed just before Butch Otter has to face reelection as governor of Idaho.

Korean Documents Show 10-Year Promise for Highway 12. Public News Service.

The first pieces of the Korean equipment are now sitting in Lewiston, Idaho, ready to haul up through the Lolo country on Highway 12 and over to Montana.

Cocker drum ready to go in Lewiston. Photo from Conoco-Philips

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

Put the brakes on massive trucks on the U.S. 12 corridor in N. Idaho

Most scenic highway in Idaho is not the place for an industrial transportation corridor for tar sands monster modules-

(opinion) Put the brakes on massive trucks on the U.S. 12 corridor in N. Idaho. Pete Zimowsky. Idaho Statesman. Link fixed

– – – –
My view.

Butch Otter thinks this is the way to perk up Idaho’s feeble economy. Is closing down Highway 12 the way to do it?

Am I going to visit the Selway, Lochsa, or Lolo this year? Not to spend a day stuck behind oil equipment moving at 5 mph.
– – – –
More on July 26. Idaho, Montana Groups Challenge Oil Equipment Transport. By Associated Press.