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Posts tagged: ConocoPhillips

Billings Greets 1st Megaload

Donuts and coffee greet ConocoPhillips employees, public officials and members of Big Sky Economic Development as they gather to welcome the refinery's new coke drums to town today in Billings, Mont. Crews from Emmert International spent more than two months transporting the first two loads from a port in Lewiston, Idaho. The 300-ton loads contain coker drums to be installed at the ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings. Video here. (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Larry Mayer)

Question: Which doughnut concoction is most appropriate for greeting arrival of a megaload from the Port of Lewiston many weeks later?

Murf: Harwood Has A Future In Comedy

It's nice to have a good laugh now and then - a real guffaw can change your outlook from gloomy to upbeat. Politicians use comedy to get the attention of voters, to relieve tension during legislative debate or to insult an opponent a la Don Rickles. Rep. Dick Harwood is no exception. The St. Maries uber Republican, fresh from the squaw-is-not-an-insult tour a few sessions ago, is taking his latest act to the people. He's currently appearing on a double bill with Tom Luna and his education reform review. And they're taking the Statehouse by storm. Harwood on Wednesday kicked-off his latest salute to common sense by introducing a bill that would effectively eliminate lawsuits against the state and its megaload policy/Murf Raquet, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Question: Which North Idaho legislator do you consider to be the most off the wall?

Megaload=Disneyland Castle?

Parked between the Clearwater River and U.S. Highway 12 at Kooskia, Idaho, on Thursday, the first megaload of a ConocoPhillips half-drum awaits the next leg of its journey to Billings.

KOOSKIA, Idaho – Huckleberry sourdough pancakes, cigarettes and bulbs for strobe lights are among the purchases megaload crew members are making as the oversized cargo rolls through Idaho.

Kooskia was bustling on Thursday, just after the arrival of half a coke drum bound for a ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings. The first four days of a three-week journey are on U.S. Highway 12.

“The megaload is our Disneyland castle,” said Lara Smith, an owner of Three Rivers Resort in Lowell and the Western Motor Inn in Kooskia. “Everybody has a picture of their kids in front of the megaload.” Elaine Williams, Lewiston Tribune

Will the boost in Idaho businesses silence some critics of megaloads?

INW: Megaloads Roll Out Of Lewiston

Despite the freezing weather people gather to watch as the first of four ConocoPhillips megaloads maneuvers its way onto the frontage road along U.S. Highway 12 Tuesday night in Lewiston. The cargo along with the two trucks and trailer hauling it weigh almost 300 tons are en-route to Billings, Montana. Missoulian story here. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Kyle Mills)

AM: Megaloads To Roll Tuesday

A little rain didn't stop people walking through the Port of Lewiston with picket signs Saturday in Lewiston. People gathered to protest the Mega Loads that are being prepared to be shipped to Montana on Tuesday. The megaloads will begin rolling Tuesday. Story here. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Kyle Mills)

ITD Lets Megaloads Roll Next Monday

Idaho will let the four ConocoPhillips megaloads of oil equipment start traveling U.S. Highway 12 on Monday, Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness announced today. “I am convinced the record showed the loads can be moved safely, without damage to the roads and bridges and with minimal disruption to traffic and emergency services,” Ness said. “Every argument has been heard and considered. We can no longer delay this process”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Would you be yelling louder re: the megaloads, if they were going through a sensitive area in the five North Idaho counties, rather than scenic Highway 12 in north-central Idaho?

Yes to mega-loads

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Associated Press is reporting that a hearing officer has recommended the Idaho Transportation Department issue permits to ConocoPhillips to move four giant truckloads of equipment across U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho.

The permits were the subject of earlier hearings in Boise, in which opponents argued that the trucks would block the twisting, two-lane road entirely, creating safety concerns, in addition to possibly damaging the pristine river environment and harming tourism.

The transportation department previously had issued permits for the four loads, but they were suspended while the permits were contested. Full story.

Some folks are going to be mighty unhappy.  How about you?

INW: ‘We Ain’t Nuts’ — Megaload Foes

More than a dozen Idaho river advocates gathered in front of the Idaho Transportation Department’s headquarters today to deliver a 50-pound bag of peanuts to DMV administrator Alan Frew. “The people who oppose the megaloads are not ‘nuts,’ Mr. Frew,” declared Bill Sedivy, executive director of Idaho Rivers United. Betsy Russell’s Eye On Boise report here. And: Conoco says it’s looking ‘forward to decision’ here.

Contentious Megaload Hearing Ends

ConocoPhillips painted a picture of years of quiet, painstaking work to plan for the safe transport of four giant mega-loads of oil equipment across a winding, scenic north-central Idaho highway, while highway residents said they never knew what was coming and accused Idaho’s Transportation Department of failing even to check on the company’s claims, let alone involve the public. A two-day contested-case hearing on Conoco’s proposed mega-loads wrapped up Friday in Boise, and state hearing officer Merlyn Clark said he’ll take the issue under advisement. … Asked when he’s likely to rule, Clark said, “I’d like to say at least before Christmas, but just as soon as I can get it done”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP file photo of megaload at Port of Lewiston)

Question: How would you rule?

ITD Didn’t Seek Megaload Comment

ITD public involvement coordinator Adam Rush, under questioning from attorney Natalie Havlina, confirmed that ITD received a petition over the summer opposing the megaloads with signatures from about 3,000 people, opposing the granting of permits to ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips or any other corporation “to transport massively oversized road-obstructing industrial equipment on U.S. Highway 12.” Asked if he’d solicited public comments about the megaloads proposals, Rush said, “Comments weren’t officially solicited. We received many from folks and responded to them”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Exxon-Mobile Hauler Goofed Before

Residents of an eight by four block area in East Chicago, Ind., experienced water pressure so low, that in some instances, nothing came out when they turned on their faucets for about two days. The inconvenience  followed a July 21 accident where cargo being hauled by Mammoet to a BP Refinery fell.  Read a Tribune story about the accident here. Mammoet is the company ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil has hired to move its 207 megaloads across Idaho. BP supplied bottled water to those affected and placed portable restrooms and hand washing stations in parks and streets, said Brian Marciniak, director of operations for East Chicago’s water department/Elaine Williams, Our Business, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Would you trust these guys to haul megaloads for ConocoPhillips?

ConocoPhillips Fails To Block Evidence

As the hearing begins, ConocoPhillips and ITD moved to exclude an array of evidence, from anything about the larger plan from ExxonMobil for more than 200 megaloads to other information about Montana regulations, routes, accidents and more. “There has been no showing or evidence why those loads relate to these loads. … It’s simply not relevant,” said Erik Stidham, attorney for ConocoPhillips. Laird Lucas, attorney for the opponents of the loads, responded that some of that information may well be relevant, and he’d oppose any blanket exclusion. Hearing officer Merlyn Clark denied the motion/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

You can follow Betsy Russell’s blow-by-blow coverage of ConocoPhillips hearing here

Megaloads To Be ‘Size Of Office Buildings’

Laird Lucas, attorney for the megaloads opponents, said the loads will “be approximately the size of an office building going up along the Lochsa River, that curvy road that you know and that the rest of us know. … These will block both sides of the highway completely.” He said ITD and Conoco have been discussing the project since 2007, but “never was the public advised. In fact the public had to scratch and dig and scrape to find out these projects were even proposed”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you concerned about this issue since it doesn’t directly affect us in the Coeur d’Alene area?

Op-Ed: In Defense Of Mega-Loads

For more than 60 years, the Billings refinery has safely and reliably supplied fuels to the Rocky Mountain region. It directly supports more than 450 workers and contractors while indirectly supporting thousands of others. Many small businesses in the region are reliant upon it. It is an award-winning enterprise, whose honors have included two prestigious ENERGY STAR awards; recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency and National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, as well as a Montana Governors Cup for Workplace Health and Safety. Needless to say, I’m proud to be the refinery manager/Steve Steach, ConocoPhillips. More here.

Question: Is the short-term inconvenience of mega-loads traveling over Highway 12, worth the long-term gain of the refinery in Billings providing jobs & energy to the Inland NW?

Trillhaase: ConocoPhillips’ Bad Bet

Twice last week, 2nd District Judge John Bradbury asked what a lot of people would like to know: Why would ConocoPhillips spend $9 million barging massive oil processing equipment to the Port of Lewiston before getting the permits required to truck those mega loads up U.S. Highway 12? To make that kind of commitment without assurances would be, Bradbury said, “odd.” The judge didn’t get much of an answer. One lawyer said the oil company “had a sense” the permits would be issued. Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness said the department hadn’t prejudged the matter.Since Bradbury ultimately halted the truck shipments and his ruling won’t get to an expedited Idaho Supreme Court hearing for another month, it would appear ConocoPhillips made a bad bet/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Why do you think ConocoPhillips went ahead with massive project at Port of Lewiston without getting necessary permits to transport massive oil processing equipment?

EOB: Court Expedites Big Rig Appeal

The Idaho Transportation Department has joined ConocoPhillips in appealing to the Idaho Supreme Court a local judge’s decision to revoke its permits for four huge truckloads of oil refinery equipment to travel winding U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston to Montana, saying the decision could “end up restricting commerce and limiting business opportunities.”    Meanwhile, the high court granted a motion from ConocoPhillips to expedite the court appeal, rather than take the usual time - averaging 450 days - to hear a civil appeal. However, it set oral arguments for Oct. 1. That’s expedited for a Supreme Court appeal, but it’s not quick enough to allow Conoco to move the four giant shipments before paving starts on the second lane of the Arrow Bridge on Highway 12/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you pleased that the Idaho Department of Transportation has joined ConocoPhillips in appealing judge’s decision banning its rigs on scenic Highway 12?

Judge Revokes Permits For Huge Loads

An Idaho judge has revoked special permits issued by the state to allow ConocoPhillips to ship four oversized loads of oil refinery equipment along a highway that follows a winding, federally protected river corridor in northern Idaho. Second District Judge John Bradbury ordered the Idaho Transportation Department to study the permit request again and take action to ensure the safety and convenience of the public. Last week, Bradbury put a temporary halt to the oil company’s plans to ship the massive coke drums along the 175-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 12. He issued his opinion today, after hearing testimony on the case on Monday/Betsy Russell, SR. (Courtesy photo from Judge John Bradbury’s Supreme Court run)

Question: Did Judge John Bradbury make the right call?

LMT: What Did Butch Know? When?

From Otter’s description of the project, however, you wouldn’t know what happens once the equipment is shipped to Lewiston. You wouldn’t know that ConocoPhillips plans to move four massive truckloads up U.S. Highway 12, a project now on hold as a judge reviews a lawsuit blocking it. You wouldn’t know Imperial Oil plans to run more than 200 trucks, each as long as 210 feet, as wide as 24 feet, as tall as 30 feet and as heavy as 290 tons along the two-lane highway toward Missoula. But those shipments are at the heart of the controversy. Residents and business owners on the scenic highway say it undermines their personal safety, economy and the environment. Otter’s letter doesn’t mention the shipments - nor, of course, his own plan to impose a $10 million bond on both ConocoPhillips and Imperial Oil/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Did Butch Otter ignore the transportation impact of the economic project he enthusiastic supported for the Port of Lewiston?

ITD Will Comply w/Judge’s Order

The Idaho Transportation Department, through spokesman Jeff Stratten, issued the following statement today in response to 2nd District Judge John Bradbury issuing a temporary restraining order against four oversize truck shipments on U.S. Highway 12 proposed by ConocoPhillips: “The transportation department will fully comply with Idaho law in reviewing over-legal permit requests on any state highway. No permits have been issued to ConocoPhillips to haul over legal loads on U.S. 12. The transportation department is continuing its analysis of the ConocoPhillips request. The hearing on Friday is part of that process.” The judge set a hearing for this Friday morning in Grangeville on a request for an injunction against the shipments/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: On Facebook, Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press states that this issue could blow up into a significant political problem for Gov. Butch Otter, adding: “Deserves to be — it’s about where priorities are.” Do you agree that the oversize shipments could hurt Otter?

Judge Temporarily Blocks Shipments

2nd District Judge John Bradbury has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Idaho Transportation Department from issuing permits to ConocoPhillips to haul four giant loads of oil refinery equipment over U.S. Highway 12 through the Clearwater/Lochsa river canyon. The judge set a hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction for this Friday at 9 a.m. in Grangeville. He found that the plaintiffs showed prima facie evidence “that they may suffer great damange that would not be recoverable from ConocoPhillips if the transportation of the equipment is permitted by the Department, and that by issuing permits for the transportation of the equipment the Department may be violating its own regulations”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should ConocoPhillips be allowed to haul four giant loads of refinery equipment over U.S. Highway 12 through the Clearwater/Lochsa river canyon?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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