The Idaho Transportation Department met with a Korean firm in September that wants to move another 40 to 60 giant truckloads of oil equipment across scenic U.S. Highway 12, and local residents who are suing over four other shipments didn’t find out until their attorney filed a public records request. ITD officials met with half a dozen representatives of Harvest Energy and its associates on Sept. 15 to discuss the additional oversized truckloads, proposed to start in June of 2011 and travel through Idaho and Montana on the way to the Alberta oil sands project in Canada. The loads would travel from the Port of Vancouver to the Port of Lewiston by barge; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
“A single state agency is in the process of changing forever the character of Idaho’s Clearwater-Lochsa corridor,” Highway 12 residents Borg Hendrickson and Linwood Laughy said in an email. They decried “closed-door meetings” and a lack of input. Adam Rush, ITD spokesman, said, “The transportation department and Harvest Energy discussed load dimensions, bridges on U.S. 12, clearances, traffic control plans and the weight of shipments. No proposals were submitted to ITD by Harvest Energy. June of 2011 was mentioned as a preliminary start date to move equipment.” He added, “The department meets routinely with haulers who have questions about permits.”
The Idaho Supreme Court is currently weighing an appeal by ITD and ConocoPhillips of a lower court decision to revoke permits for four mega-loads to travel the route right away. Laughy is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that blocked the permits, charging that ITD violated its own regulations in granting them.