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

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).