Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness has decided to hold full contested-case hearings on the ConocoPhillips proposal to haul four megaloads of oil refinery equipment across U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho, as recommended by a state hearing officer. "I have reviewed and accept the decision of hearing officer Merlyn Clark that we should proceed with a contested case hearing on the issue. We intend to move forward with scheduling a hearing as quickly as possible," Ness said. He appointed Clark to preside over the hearings; the schedule has not yet been set. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Meanwhile, here's some more news on the megaloads issue: The Missoulian reported Friday that an ironworkers union in Edmonton, Alberta is upset that 200 giant modules of oil field equipment that Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil plans to truck in giant loads across Idaho and up into Canada were manufactured in Korea, when 400 more of the modules are being or were manufactured in Alberta. "We have a lot of module facilities in the Edmonton area that are stone-cold quiet right now," Harry Tostowaryk, business manager for Ironworkers Local 720 in Edmonton, told the newspaper. "We have capacity for an immense number, and it's interesting that they've chosen to build a third of them overseas."
The ExxonMobil megaloads are waiting in wings as ITD considers permits for the four giant loads proposed by ConocoPhillips, which are headed to the firm's Billings refinery; you can read the Missoulian's full story here.