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.
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.
More on the attempt to make U.S. Highway 12 an oil industry corridor-
This from the new group, the Rural People of Highway 12.
U.S. Highway 12: Idaho’s Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road
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Big Oil: One-Time Deal or Permanent Takeover?
Promoters of turning Idaho’s Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road into an industrial truck route for gargantuan loads argue that currently planned and pending ConocoPhillips and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Canada mega-load shipments are a “one-off deal;” a one time event. Actually, the ExxonMobil Canada shipments alone number 207, and for successive 15+ minute segments, will close the highway to all traffic five nights a week for an estimated 9 months. But the truth about the oil companies’ intentions lies well beyond those 207 loads……
• The Port of Lewiston, both on their website and in grant applications for port expansion with taxpayer money, states, “If one oil company is successful with this alternative transportation route, many other companies will follow their lead.”
• The CEO of Sungjin Geotec, the Korean company that manufactured the 207 ExxonMobil Canada modules, told a Korean news agency his company expects to receive future orders for additional modules from Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Canada totaling $1.5 billion. The 207 loads now scheduled for U. S. 12 cost $250 million, suggesting that $1.5 billion would pay for about 1200 modules. The Edmonton Journal of Alberta, Canada, recently reported that a Sungjin representative in Calgary confirmed that his company expects to build hundreds of additional modules.
Over 200 trips of these giant oil equipment pieces to go through U.S. 12 in Idaho and NW Montana-
I think perhaps there has been too much attention in this forum on elk in Lolo. Elk are important, but fishing, scenery, wilderness, and property of local people are more important. U.S.Highway 12 is one of Idaho’s most scenic highways. It goes through scenic canyon and between wild country following the Clearwater River, then the Lochsa River up and over Lolo Pass into Montana.
The exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands are well known as perhaps the single most environmentally destructive project on the planet (at least until the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico). Now that destruction has spread to Idaho and Montana with these massive loads which require “improving” Highway 12 and other highways in Montana.
Some of the good folks in Missoula are fed up with oil company damages and protested. Protest rally. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian.
Let’s analyze the graph. This decline was predicted, but not its depth. Wolves were reintroduced in 1995, but their number was trivial in the area until about 2000 or so. Therefore, the big drop between 1998 to 2002 could not be due to wolves. Then elk numbers rose. It seems possible to me that the decline than began anew in about 2006 could be strongly influenced by wolves.
My view is that no single factor can explain the collapse of the Lolo Zone elk herd, although a big decline was predicted as early as the 1970s due to habitat changes that were obviously going to happen (the confer forest maturing to a condition similar to when Lewis and Clark came through the area and almost starved).
More data is promised and might already be out there. Wolves might well play a role here, but the huge drop from 1989 to 1998 is logically impossible to pin on wolves.Read the rest of this entry »
Wolf quota is met in the Palouse-Hells Canyon zone on the Idaho/Oregon border-
The fourth Idaho wolf hunt zone has its quota of wolves killed. Eight zones are still open and four are now closed. The quota for the newly closed zone was 5 wolves. So far the reported kill overall is 129 131 wolves with 91 89 more to go, although it is likely that the fulfillment of sub-quotas, as just happened, will make the full quota of 91 more unattainable.
The Middle Fork Zone and the Southern Mountains will probably be the next zones to close because their quotas will be filled when one or two more wolves are killed in each of the zones.
12-22. More. Several hunting zones continue to lag in the number of wolves killed compared to their quotas. They are Panhandle where 14 of 30 tags have been filled, Lolo 7 of 27, and Salmon where only 4 of 16 have been killed.
Most interesting is the Lolo. This is the area where we have been told time and time again there are incredible number of wolves feasting on the chronically depressed elk herd. If so, why not more tags filled? Mark Gamlin has already pointed out that the hunting unit is rugged and remote. That is mostly true. However, it does have motorized access and a number of roads. It is not designated Wilderness. Units actually inside designated Wilderness, Selway 6 out of 17 and Middle Fork, 15 out of 17 are having better hunting success. By law these have no roads. I suspect the answer is that they have more wolves. I don’t know how wolves can persist in any great number in the Lolo year after year when the elk herd is so depressed (and I don’t doubt that the herd is depressed). In other words, I don’t think there are all that many wolves in the Lolo.
The Salmon hunting unit has been controversial. From the very beginning we have been told that wolves are all over the place just west and northwest of the town of Salmon. This unit has a lot of road access. It also has a lot of deer, elk, moose that winter in the Salmon River Canyon and its tributaries. Salmon City has always had an excitable element in its population — quick to speak loudly about all natural resources/environmental issues. I think he Lolo and Salmon unit quotas are most likely political quotas rather than quotas based on wolf abundance.
250 to 300 Idaho wolves could be killed if delisting occurs.
On May 2nd wolves will be delisted leaving a window of at least 30 days before the decision could be enjoined by a judge. During this time, assuming an injunction, a number of things could happen at the hands of the Idaho Fish and Game Department and Wildlife Services.
Based on what is in the written record it appears that anywhere from 250 to 300 wolves could be killed in a very short period of time through means other than hunting by individual hunters. Earlier I reported that Wildlife Services was seeking the flexibility to kill 26 packs for “chronic” depredations and now it appears that Idaho Fish and Game is on board with this plan. In the event of delisting, these plans will likely go forward and the result will be the death of 30% to 35% of Idaho’s 846 wolves.
To develop and aggressively utilize all available tools and methods to control wolf-caused depredation of domestic livestock.
• Staff have worked with Wildlife Services to identify 25 wolf pack territories with chronic livestock conflicts (>3 occurrences in 2008)
• Staff will implement aggressive and efficient control measures, including entire pack removal, for wolf packs with chronic histories of livestock depredation
• Staff will work with the Office of Species Conservation to request a Department of Interior Solicitor’s opinion on the 45-day window
Idaho Fish and Game Department commonly states that it will manage wolves in the same way that it manages bears and mountain lions but this seems to be a falsehood. There are no plans underway to reduce the number of Idaho’s 3000 mountain lions or 20,000 bears by a third nor is there the hysteria surrounding those species. The State legislature has not stepped in with crazy legislation regarding bears and mountain lions either, and the director of the Idaho Fish and Game has not attended meetings where illegal activities are promoted to exterminate wolves from the state as happened this weekend.
The Idaho Fish and Game also continues to perpetuate false information. In this video you will see that IDFG claims that the growth rate of the wolf population in Idaho is 20%. This is incorrect. Their own report shows that the rate is actually 16%, which is higher than last year’s 9%, but in line with trends showing that the growth rate is declining. This is a strong indication that wolves have filled the available habitat and natural regulation is taking place as anyone with a biology background would expect.
Officials will seek federal permission to kill wolves to protect Clearwater elk herd-
Storyby Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.
The story says this will be a multi-year effort because new wolves will quickly move in to replace the wolves killed. This raises the question, why would this happen if wolves have killed most of the elk? Wolves are not vegetarians.
I notice the story refers to “Idaho could be losing as much as $24 million annually in hunting-related revenue due to wolves’ killing deer and elk, the report states.”
This is only one part of Idaho. Earlier I wrote the following comments about the report mentioned above.
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This is the most simplistic analysis. Idaho Fish and Game assumes that every elk killed by a wolf is 1/5 fewer elk for hunters (they assume a 20% hunter success rate). Read the rest of this entry »