Montana judge halts the building of megaload turnouts in Western Montana

Another roadblock to the use of Idaho Highway 12 and Montana highways as corridors for moving Alberta bound tar sand equipment-

This is good news, although likely temporary.

The turnouts constructed on the Montana side of Lolo Pass appear to be larger than the oil giant said and closer to Lolo Creek which already suffers from highway runoff.

Judge stops construction of big-rig turnouts in western Montana
.  By Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian

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.

Snowy roads, traffic delay violations stall ConocoPhillips megaloads

As predicted there have been lots of problems, though they will most certainly get the first load through eventually-

Snowy roads, traffic delay violations stall ConocoPhillips megaloads. By Kim Briggeman. Missoulian.

There is a rumor that future loads might be routed to use Interstate 90 and 15 which would present far fewer technical, congestion, and environmental problems.  However, being an Interstate highway the loads would have to first be broken down to a much lower height because of the overpasses.

Crowds follow megaload along U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho

If all went well, it should stopped at the town of Kooskia now-

Crowds follow [first] megaload along U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho. By Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian missoulian.com

Local megaload opposition relents on first 4 megaloads

Opponents of the megaloads drop fight on the first four-

Having lost before the Idaho Department of Transportation, opponents of the oil megaloads will no longer try to stop the first four of them.  These are bound for the existing oil refinery in Billings, Montana. The next 200 megaloads (not approved for now) are for what many see as the tar sand pits from hell in Alberta, Canada.

Movement of the first four should reveal much about who is right about them?  Will the loads have great difficulty getting up the highway and over Lolo Pass?  Will there be an accident?  Will they be safely parked during the day, or will they end up blocking traffic? Will the megaloads harm the highway surface or warp the bridges?  Will the megaloads generate any local employment beyond a few people holding signs and public revenues going to pay for highway patrol escorts?

Idaho megaload opponents: Let big rigs roll to Billings. By Kim Briggeman of Missoulian. missoulian.com

– – – – –

Feb. 1, 2011 update. As Megaloads Roll, What Two of Three Plaintiffs Learned About Opposition. New West (feature article). By Steve Bunk.  New West has done an outstanding job covering the megaloads issue. This is their latest feature article.

I was particularly impressed with this quote in the article, “Referring to state troopers who accompany megaloads through Idaho, Laughy remarked, ‘I find it particularly interesting that our state could be contracting out our police to the South Korean government.’ ”  I say it’s a good example what happens when we (the United States) are well on our way to being a colony of the corporations of other parts of the world (thanks to the work of people like provincial governor Butch Otter).

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.

– – – – –

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.

– – – – –

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

Posted in politics. Tags: , , , , , , , . Comments Off on Idahoans plan next moves against big oil’s megaloads

Hearing officer says “yes” to first 4 oil megaloads

The next 200 or so loads are still on the table-

Boise attorney Merlyn Clark, hearing officer on the oil megaloads that will use U.S. Highway 12 across north central Idaho into Montana has ruled that the first 4 megaloads could be transported safely with “minimum inconvenience” up narrow U.S. Highway 12 to the Montana border (Lolo Pass).

These giant loads have been sitting at Idaho’s sea port of Lewiston for a month now. There is still some paperwork before their transport can begin, but little doubt we will see what actually happens as they take them up along the Clearwater and Lochsa River to the Bitterroot Divide and down into Montana.  The first 4 loads are for the Billings, MT oil refinery, not the Alberta tar sand pits.

The usual groups, such as the Idaho Farm Bureau (how is this a farm issue?), have been promoting the idea that moving this equipment along Highway 12 at night will be some kind of boom for business, although no explanation how that will happen.

There will be a big difference between the transport of 4 megaloads versus the next 200 (which are not included in this hearing officer’s decision).

Idaho agency advised to issue megaload permits. By John Miller. The Associated Press (in Bloomberg).