ConocoPhillips says if it can’t get its four huge loads across U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston into Montana in the coming days, it won’t be able to make needed repairs at its Billings refinery until next summer and will lose $9 million. In a motion to the Idaho Supreme Court to expedite its appeal of a judge’s decision revoking the permits, Conoco argues, “The delay will impose millions of dollars of loss and will disrupt and compromise the production of the Billings refinery - all before the merits of the appeal are addressed.”
The average civil appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court takes 450 days from filing to opinion. An expedited case can move much more quickly, and Conoco argues that the record is complete in its case and the court can take it up right away with only minimal additional briefing. “Preparations have taken years to put into place” for the trucking of two gigantic new 350-ton coker drums from the Port of Lewiston to Billings, Conoco said in its filings, including scheduling the transport around repairs on the Arrow Bridge. Each drum is cut in half, making four giant loads that are so wide they take up both lanes of the two-lane highway and bridge. You can read Conoco’s filings here, which include a copy of the ITD’s Aug. 20 decision to grant the permits. And here’s a link to the plaintiffs’ response to the motion.