Megaloads video: Giant rig opponents say its your land, water and air versus Exxon

Exxon Mobil is the world’s most profitable corporation-
A new video about their megaloads through Idaho and Montana to their vast toxic pits in Alberta-

Oil companies have colluded with the Idaho’s and Montana’s governors so they can make even more profits than if they built the machinery for the toxic Alberta tar sands mining in Canada.

20 most profitable companies. CNN Money.

Idaho megaload foes win Dalton Open Government Award

Credit to two local citizens who have taken on the world’s most profitable corporation, oil octopus Exxon-Mobil and others-

Ah, some credit to two average folks fighting the international oil companies to try to save the economy, scenery, fish and wildlife of the area around U.S. Highway 12.

Idaho megaload foes win Dalton Open Government Award. By Dan Popkey. Idaho Statesman

“The Max Dalton Open Government Award has been given each year since 1999 to a citizen or group judged to be an outspoken advocate of openness in either public records or public meetings on the state or local level.”

Among many other activities trying to kill the megaload shipments across the scenic, narrow, north central Idaho highway, the Daltons exposed Butch Otter’s secret deal with the oil companies to turn Highway 12 into an industrial corridor on the way to the Alberta tar sand pits.

The Daltons

Megaloads hearing to enter third week

Folks continue to have plenty to say-

Here is the story on the coming third week of testimony, from the Spokesman-Review.

It seems to me that local folks willing to testify are mostly unhappy.  Here is a detailed story about past testimony in New West. New Idaho Megaloads Hearings Address More Than 200 Shipments. By Steve Bunk.

Despite efforts by the Idaho legislature to prevent people from suing over the plans of the lovable oil companies, two new lawsuits on the issue were recently filed.  One is 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. The other is by Idaho Rivers United. IRU is against the Forest Service. The Lochsa River and a corridor 1/4 mile on either side is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and most of it is public national forest land. In fact the Lochsa was one of very first rivers protected, but the Forest Services is just standing by while the road right-of-way is being heavily chopped up for the wide and long loads.

Fate of ExxonMobil megaloads at stake in Boise hearings

Four day hearing on the future of the tar sands equipment megaloads are underway in Idaho’s capital city-

Residents on Highway 12 and recreation businesses are rallying against the megaloads.

Fate of ExxonMobil megaloads at stake in Boise hearings. By John Miller. AP in the Missoulian.

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

Megaloads have no place in Idaho

Idaho Rivers United editorial in the Idaho Statesman-

Megaloads have no place in Idaho. By Bill Sedivy. Idaho Statesman.

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.

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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.

Megaloads tread on Idaho values

A good op ed from Idaho Rivers United-

Megaloads tread on Idaho values. By Kevin Lewis. Idaho Mountain Express.

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.

Idaho lawmaker hopes to make justice on Megaloads unaffordable

Idaho lawmakers hope to dissuade public access to judicial review of state megaload approvals by forcing them to post huge sums of money before access to court is granted.

Idaho bill targets anti-megaload lawsuitsSpokesman Review

BOISE – Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, has introduced legislation requiring anyone who files a lawsuit against a transportation project on state highways to post a bond equal to 5 percent of the value of the items being hauled, and if the plaintiffs lose the lawsuit, the whole bond would go to the Idaho Transportation Department.

Requiring potential litigants to post bonds jams up the gears of justice, making those with financial resources ‘more equal’ in their access to justice than those without wealth.  Whatever one thinks about the merits of the megaload controversy, state laws that have the effect of erecting economic prohibitions on justice are not a good idea.

Idaho lawmakers reject bill to let public comment on megaloads

Public Comment on them? We won’t even consider the bill, says Idaho legislative committee-

House panel rejects megaloads hearing requirement, won’t introduce bill. Spokesman-Review

Representative JoAn Wood is quoted in the article. According to Ballotpedia, “Wood is a business partner in a trucking/farming company.”

You can see the company in Eastern Idaho on your way St. Anthony. Government by conflict of interest; it is a principle of Idaho government.

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

Imperial Oil/Exxon big rigs EA gets unfriendly reception at meeting

A University of Montana economist and others tear EA apart-

It’s amazing to me that they think they can get approval by doing a mere environmental analysis report (EA) for over 200 megaloads on Montana’s highways.*

At any rate, University of Montana economist Steve Seninger and others showed the huge defect in the EA’s claim that the megaloads would give a $67.8 million benefit to Montana’s economy. There was no discussion of monetary and other costs.  In other words, the EA writes of gross benefits, when it is net benefits (if there are any) that matters.

The costs are  revenue losses in the travel/outdoor recreation industry, costs to taxpayers from accidents, traffic delays and disruptions of emergency services, premature wear of Montana’s highways and harm to wildlife, water, agriculture and timber in Western Montana.

In Idaho, Butch Otter, the Farm Bureau and others, and in Montana, a similar bunch of people speak of the job benefits, but “What you end up with is basically something less than 82 jobs for the ExxonMobil transportation project, and those jobs are primarily lower wage, lower skilled jobs in terms of flagholders and driving some of the advance cars and rear cars,”[economist] Seninger said. “In my mind, you don’t have to be an economist to say that’s really not an employment machine.”

The fact that these are low wage, low skill jobs to move sophisticated oil equipment from the far east to Alberta is why I have been calling them “jobs for peasants.”

Story: Imperial Oil/Exxon big rigs EA draws ire. By Kim Briggeman. The Missoulian.

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*To understand the controversy, folks need to mentally separate the first, 4 megaloads that are bound for the oil refinery in Billings, Montana from the 200+ bound for Alberta’s tar sand pits.

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.”