The Idaho Transportation Department today issued a permit for a giant megaload to travel across scenic Highway 12 in northern Idaho en route to the Canadian oil sands, even though the U.S. Forest Service has said the load cannot be allowed without extensive federal review and consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe, and a federal judge ruled that federal agencies have oversight in the wild and scenic river corridor. ITD issued the permit anyway, which it said is effective starting Monday at 10 p.m., but also told the shipper, Omega Morgan, that it'll have to deal with the Forest Service and the Federal Highway Administration. The load already has been barged up the Columbia River to the Port of Wilma.
“The shipper has met Idaho’s criteria to be issued an over-size permit," said Idaho Transportation Department Chief Deputy Scott Stokes. "We have issued that permit so that it now can be reviewed by the two federal agencies.”
The Forest Service had urged the ITD not to issue the permit, and took issue with ITD's position that it has no choice under state law.