The controversy over shipping oversize loads to Alberta’s oil patch through an Idaho river corridor took another turn last week, reports Spokesman-Review reporter Becky Kramer. Two giant water-purification units arrived at the Port of Wilma in Clarkston, but it remains unclear when, or if, the equipment will get clearance to travel through Idaho on U.S. Highway 12.
The units would take up both sides of the two-lane highway, creatinga rolling roadblock. A subcontractor for Omega Morgan, a heavy equipment hauler, has submitted a plan to the Idaho Transportation Department for moving the units through Idaho at night. However, the U.S. Forest Service is still in negotiations with ITD over the agency’s oversight role in the permitting process, pursuant to a federal court decision.
About 100 miles of the U.S. 12 route pass through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, encompassing a number of protected areas. The route is part of a Wild and Scenic River corridor, lies adjacent to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area and crosses the Lolo Trail National Historic Monument. In response to a lawsuit brought by Idaho Rivers United, a federal judge ruled earlier this year that the Forest Service has the authority to review the state’s permitting process. You can read Kramer’s full story here at spokesman.com.