The Moscow City Council has voted to welcome megaloads to travel through town - and invite them to stop off to patronize the city's motels, stores and gas stations along the way. The vote Monday came after Mayor Nancy Chaney had submitted a draft resolution to the council calling on the Idaho Transportation Department to deny permits for Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil's proposed 207 megaloads of oil equipment; the company wants to haul the giant loads from Lewiston to Montana across U.S. Highway 12, but is cutting 33 of them in half so they could instead travel north from Lewiston through Moscow to Coeur d'Alene before heading to Montana on I-90, then up to Canada. Click below for a full report from Moscow-Pullman Daily News reporter Christina Lords.
Council invites megaloads through Moscow
By Christina Lords
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
(MCT Regional News)
May 17--The Moscow City Council voted Monday to support Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil in its proposal to haul about 60 oversized loads of equipment for Canadian oil fields through the city's downtown via U.S. Highway 95.
The council "does not believe the movement of the proposed megaloads in the city of Moscow will have any inordinate impact on infrastructure or community," the position statement reads. "Furthermore, we invite and encourage ExxonMobil and their hauler to utilize Moscow as their stopover for motels and the purchase of food, fuel and other supplies" when they haul loads through Latah and Benewah counties.
The vote and a heated discussion on the issue came after council member Walter Steed made a motion to ask the council to state its position on the oversized loads. This came at the conclusion of City Supervisor Gary Riedner's overview of two city-sponsored meetings on the issue held last week.
Mayor Nancy Chaney submitted a draft resolution of her own to the council, which asked the Idaho Transportation Department to deny the permits needed for Imperial Oil to haul the loads through Latah County.
Council members Steed, Wayne Krauss, Tim Brown and Dan Carscallen voted in favor of shipping the loads through Latah County, while Sue Scott abstained. Council member Tom Lamar was absent.
The council reserves the right to change its position at any time, Steed said.
"I wonder if there would be as much discussion about these loads if they were 24-foot-wide, 210-feet-long, and 30-foot-high solar panels or wind turbine blades," Carscallen said. "I have seen people that are honest that the Kearl Oil Sands are the reason they're against it."
Chaney said she had begun drafting a resolution opposing the permits for the oversized loads to be considered by the council at its June 6 meeting. She said it was based on a similar resolution put forward by the Missoula City Council. She said she wanted the council to be able to view the minutes from the city-sponsored meetings and to allow the city's Sustainable Environment Committee to make a recommendation before taking a position on the issue.
Her resolution stated the project would not "substantially benefit Idaho citizens or businesses through employment, fees, investments in infrastructure, or expenditures by haulers."
Chaney said she solicited input on the loads from the city of Coeur d'Alene and was told a presentation on the loads will go before its city council June 7.
"It comes to us as local elected officials to be interested at the prospect of the creation of what could become, realistically become, a permanent corridor for serving oversized trucking for an undetermined, perpetual amount of time," she said.
Chaney said consideration must be given to Moscow's stakeholders, including Moscow businesses and property owners along the route, as well as how the loads will affect the city's economic development.
The largest proposed shipment is 208 feet long, 24 feet wide and nearly 16 feet tall, including the transport truck, trailer and module, while the heaviest shipment weighs about 378,000 pounds. The shipments would travel in two nights from the Port of Lewiston north through Latah County to Interstate 90 in Coeur d'Alene, stopping for the day just south of the Latah/Benewah county line.
Christina Lords can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 301, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(c) 2011, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
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