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Posts tagged: mega-loads

Mega-load opponents: ‘Very encouraged’ by ITD decision to issue, but stay, permits

Here’s a link to the permits that ITD issued today to ConocoPhillips for the first four proposed Highway 12 mega-loads, and here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on ITD’s action today, issuing permits for the first four mega-loads proposed for U.S. Highway 12, but staying the loads for a ruling on whether or not hearings must be held first. Laird Lucas, attorney for the residents and businesses along the route who sued to block the mega-loads, said, “We’re very encouraged that ITD is staying the permits.” He said, “There’s been a flurry of activity and Conoco, I think, was expecting to be able to throw its weight around and get those shipments out of the Port of Lewiston tonight.” Lucas said he was encouraged that that didn’t happen. “The public is entitled to a full and fair hearing,” he said.

ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten said the new permits become valid on Friday at 10 p.m., but can’t be used until the department lifts the stay it’s placed on them pending a ruling on whether to allow intervention by interested parties and hold contested case hearings. “The department’s suspension of travel means the permits cannot be used,” Stratten said in an email. “The permits would need to be amended or possibly reissued in the future if the loads are allowed.”

More mega-loads proposed for Hwy 12, ITD quietly met with Korean firm Sept. 15

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.

First Exxon loads arriving from Korea

The first shipments of oil field equipment for Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil’s Kearl oil sands project in Canada will arrive at the Port of Vancouver from Korea on Monday, the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. reports; those are the mega-loads that ExxonMobil hopes to truck through Idaho along scenic U.S. Highway 12 from the Port of Lewiston, then through Montana and up to Canada, starting in November and lasting for a year, though the company doesn’t have permits yet from either Idaho or Montana. You can read the Columbian’s report here. The Port of Vancouver is expecting to make $1 million from having the oversized loads pass through its port.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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