Eye On Boise

Lawyer: 'If we didn't get into court now, the shipments would be gone'

This photo shows oil equipment at the Port of Lewiston awaiting shipment by truck across scenic U.S. Highway 12 through the Clearwater/Lochsa river canyon. It's part of four shipments bound for a Billings refinery scheduled to start this week; a lawsuit Monday seeks to block the shipments, which would be followed by 207 more headed to the Alberta oil sands project in Canada. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune / Barry Kough)
This photo shows oil equipment at the Port of Lewiston awaiting shipment by truck across scenic U.S. Highway 12 through the Clearwater/Lochsa river canyon. It's part of four shipments bound for a Billings refinery scheduled to start this week; a lawsuit Monday seeks to block the shipments, which would be followed by 207 more headed to the Alberta oil sands project in Canada. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune / Barry Kough)

Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on how residents opposed to giant truck shipments of oil equipment through Idaho's scenic Clearwater/Lochsa river canyon filed suit today to block the shipments, just a day before Idaho planned to issue permits for the first four loads, and here's a link to the lawsuit. Meanwhile, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter announced that he'll impose a new requirement for a $10 million bond from each of the two oil companies that wants to move the giant equipment, and both agreed to put up the bonds. Without the new bonding requirement, the two would have paid state fees of just $1,000 per load for the oversize loads.

Laird Lucas, attorney for Advocates for the West, which is representing three river canyon residents pro-bono in the case, said the opponents scrambled to file the lawsuit before the shipments started. It was filed Monday in 2nd District Court in Grangeville, and seeks an immediate order blocking the shipments plus a declaration that they're illegal. Two violations of the Idaho Administrative Procedures Act are alleged: Allowing traffic delays of more than 10 minutes for the loads, and failing to determine that they're both necessary and feasible and to place a "primary concern" on public convenience and safety. "If we didn't get into court now, the shipments would be gone," Lucas said Monday. "Big oil, the oil industry, Exxon and now Conoco, has spent the last couple years very quietly making the preparations."




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Betsy Z. Russell




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