The three Highway 12 residents who sued over permits for four giant oversized loads of oil refinery equipment scheduled to travel along the scenic river-canyon route won on both points in their lawsuit today: That the ITD, in issuing permits for the loads, violated its own regulations that require traffic not to be held up for more than 10 minutes; and that it violated its regulations requiring that it make a “reasonable determination” that the oversize shipments are necessary and feasible, and make public safety and convenience a primary consideration. “We won on both the claims we presented,” said Laird Lucas of Advocates for the West.
Both sides in the case - the residents, and the ITD and ConocoPhillips - argued the full merits of the case yesterday, and today’s decision from 2nd District Judge John Bradbury is a final ruling revoking the permits as unlawful; that means there’s no need for an injunction, as had originally been sought to block the shipments. “The permits are thrown out and they can’t move the shipments,” Lucas said. “It’s going to be a real problem for Exxon as well, because those loads are just as large and also cannot make a 10-minute delay rule.”
Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil plans more than 200 oversized shipments of equipment for its Alberta oil sands project over the same route starting in November; half of those 200 loads would be so wide they’d take up both lanes of the two-lane highway. No permits have yet been issued for those, though the company has spent $440,000 to improve turnouts along the route. Click here for the latest report from the Lewiston Tribune on today’s ruling in Lewiston.