Posts tagged: megaloads
Friday U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill put a hold on General Electric's second evaporator, which was supposed to leave the Port of Lewiston today bound for the tar sands of Alberta. Then he stripped Idaho of its control over that and future megaload shipments along U.S. Highway 12 - and handed it over to the U.S. Forest Service and the Nez Perce Indian Tribe. Take a minute. Let it sink in. The state of Idaho no longer controls its only highway linking Lewiston to Lolo, Mont. You don't see that every day/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
A court hearing that could decide the future use of U.S. Highway 12 by shippers of megaloads has been set for Aug. 27 before Judge B. Lynn Winmill in Boise.
Last week, the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service for not stopping transport company Omega Morgan from hauling a 21-foot-wide, 255-foot-long, 644,000-pound evaporator across the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest via the twisting highway that also passes through the Middle Fork of the Clearwater-Lochsa Wild and Scenic River corridor.
The tribe and environmental group have asked Winmill to issue an emergency injunction that would compel the Forest Service to enforce its jurisdiction over megaload shipments across the forest and through the Wild and Scenic River corridor. Read more.
Any predictions as to the ultimate outcome?
Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has withdrawn its application to the state of Montana to haul more than 200 megaloads of oil sands equipment over Lolo Pass and through northwestern Montana into Canada. The company said it's already brought in all the loads it needs for the first phase of its oil sands project via other routes, the Associated Press reports. Imperial spokesman Pius Rolheiser told the AP that the company has contracted for the demolition of a huge test module that has been sitting in a parking lot at Lolo Hot Springs since May 4, 2011. The load will be removed in chunks that won't require oversized permits/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Lewiston Tribune file photo)
Question: Are you happy to see the megaloads go away?
The last megaloads have reportedly passed through downtown here, leaving behind 11 misdemeanor court cases against people who protested shipment of infrastructure equipment to Canadian oil fields. Last to plead innocent to two allegations was Helen Yost (pictured), 54, of Moscow. Yost, spokeswoman for Wild Idaho Rising Tide and an organizer of the months-long protests, appeared in Latah County Court here Wednesday morning. She is charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly throwing a sign at a megaload and attempted battery of a Moscow police officer. She and two other demonstrators, Cass Davis, 47, and James Prall, 67, both of Moscow, have pretrial conferences set for April 3, according to court records/David Johnson, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Lewiston Tribune photo)
Question: Would you call the megaloads protest successful or not?
This dismantling of two cranes in Lewiston last week and the dismantling of jobs make a fine metaphor for the state of the economy in the Age of Obama. Megaload opponents celebrated a victory last week, which is anotherway of saying that the local economy lost. The last megaload heading up U.S. Highway 95 passed through Moscow Tuesday. And environmentalist puritans were celebrating. Not so long ago, the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley was eagerly looking forward to handling hundreds of “megaloads,” that would be shipped up the Snake River, unloaded at the Port of Lewiston and transported over Lolo Pass on U.S. Highway 12. Today they're hoping for six. Regardless of what route the megaloads take, the ultimate destination of all this oil extraction equipment will be the Canadian tar sands. But who needs oil?/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are you glad/mad the megaloads have stopped for now?
The final two over-legal loads of oil field equipment at the Port of Lewiston in Idaho are scheduled to hit the road Tuesday night, weather permitting. Imperial Oil spokesman Pius Rolheiser says the company moved three loads on Sunday night and plan to move two more on Tuesday. The loads will travel from Lewiston north to Coeur d'Alene on Highway 95. They will travel to and through western Montana on Interstate 90 and Interstate 15 and into Canada for an oil sands project. Both shipments are 24 feet wide and 15 feet high/AP via Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: In the end was it much ado about nothing re: northern route?
Idaho has been losing $645,000 a year administering oversize-load permits including those for so-called megaloads, Lewiston Tribune reporter Bill Spence reported today; the news came out when an ITD official briefed a legislative committee on pending ITD rules, which include fee increases designed to try to wipe out that deficit. “We're required to recoup the administrative cost of running the program,” ITD official Regina Phipps told the Senate Transportation Committee/Bill Spence, Lewiston Tribune, via Eye On Boise. More here.
The city is discussing the idea of a megaload staging area that would be set up in the parking lot across from the visitor’s center. During a special city council meeting Thursday, members unanimously gave Mayor Dick Vester the authority to enter into a contract to use the space for megaload parking and maintenance for six months. “It’d be good for commerce in Wallace,” Vester said, because crews would utilize hotels, restaurants and stores in town/Kelsey Saintz, Shoshone News-Press. More here. (AP file photo: In February, the first ConocoPhillips megaload staged in Kooskia awaits the next leg of its journey to Billings)
Question: Wallace seems to be welcoming the megaloads with open arms, while they have triggered protestors in Moscow and indifference in Coeur d'Alene. What's the difference?
Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has applied to the Montana Department of Transportation to send all its remaining Canada-bound megaloads of oil equipment along freeway routes, rather than along scenic U.S. Highway 12, the Associated Press reports. The application covers about 300 reduced-size loads headed to Alberta via interstates 90 and 15; Exxon's original proposal to send more than 200 giant loads across the twisting scenic route's Idaho portion prompted protests and legal challenges. The firm then began reducing the height of the loads and sending them on freeway routes, including up Highway 95 from Lewiston to I-90 at Coeur d'Alene/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP/Lewiston Tribune photo: Kyle Mills)
Question: Anyone been stuck behind one of these megaloads?
Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has announced that some of its controversial megaloads, instead of traveling a scenic route in Idaho, may instead rumble through Spokane on U.S. Highway 395 and I-90. The company said “lengthy permitting delays” for the original route across scenic U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston, Idaho to Montana, then north through Montana to Canada, have forced it to look at alternative routes, though it still will pursue the Highway 12 route. “We have met or exceeded the requirements typically imposed on other oversize load shippers that have used the U.S. 12 route,” said Chris Allard, Kearl senior project manager for the oil company. “We will continue to pursue the permits for those full-sized modules through Idaho and Montana, which is more efficient and cost effective. However, we will also move forward with alternative routes to maintain project schedules”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP/Lewiston Tribune file photo)
Question: Do you expect residents of Eastern Washington & Spokane to squawk about megaloads?
This has not been a good week for the Lochsa River but it isn’t the familiar megaloads controversy that has grabbed the limelight. Officials are in the Kooskia area today trying to decide the best way to remove tons of unprocessed toilet paper that was dumped in the river when a semi-trailer overturned earlier this week. They are trying of finding a way to keep it from dissolving into a cloud of pulp that would clog the river in the height of whitewater season. Yes, a Montana judge has halted the shipments of giant loads of mining equipment bound for the tar sands region of northern Alberta. District Judge Ray Dayton’s order blocking the Montana Department of Transportation from transporting the loads Idaho courts allowed, presents Imperial Oil, a Canadian subsidiary of ExxonMobil, with an interesting decision/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here. (Lewiston Tribune/AP file photo/Barry Kough, of reduced megaload)
Question: Rocky sez ExxonMobile has a tough decision — modify megaloads or go back to court to fight Montana decision. What do you think the oil giant should do?
Imperial Oil has five days starting Friday to get a megaload and another smaller, oversized shipment from the Port of Lewiston to Idaho's border via the Palouse. The Idaho Transportation Department reissued the permits Wednesday for the moves, said Adam Rush, a spokesman for the agency in Boise. The 23-foot-wide, 208-foot-long, 131/2-foot-tall shipment will be inspected and weighed today, but its exact date of departure hasn't been set yet, according to Rush and Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman for Imperial Oil. … Two ISP officers working overtime paid for by Imperial Oil will accompany the larger rig which is supposed to pull over every 15 minutes to allow traffic to pass. Its travel will be limited to between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m./Elaine Williams, Lewiston Tribune (via Eye on Boise). More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Are you ready for the megaloads to roll through Coeur d'Alene?
Of course, the Western Legacy Alliance thought it perfectly OK to feature the Idaho flag and state seal in its newspaper advertising promoting megaloads. Why wouldn't it? Idaho's officialdom has stood firmly allied with plans to haul operating equipment along U.S. Highway 12 bound for the oil sands project of Alberta, Canada. When the pro-business group confiscated the state seal in ads that popped up in the June 14 Lewiston Tribune and every other daily newspaper across Idaho, many shrugged it off. But not everybody. Some began asking if using a state seal was appropriate. “The guidelines are that the seal be used in good taste, without alteration and without the intent to mistakenly convey state of Idaho sponsorship, endorsement or approval of a product or service,” Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's office responded/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Are you bothered that the Idaho flag and state seal were used to promote megaloads in newspaper advertising?
Item: Loads permitted for Coeur d'Alene: Alternate route uses U.S. Highway 95/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.
More Info: The Idaho Transportation Department has issued the first two permits for modified megaloads of oil field equipment to travel up U.S. Highway 95 to Coeur d’Alene, then turn onto Interstate 90 to Montana. The two loads could start moving as soon as June 27, destined for the Alberta oil sands in Canada. They’re among 33 giant loads of oil equipment that have been stalled in Lewiston for months, awaiting permits to travel on scenic, twisting U.S. Highway 12 to Montana. Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has been cutting those loads in half, reducing their height but not their length or width, to allow them to travel on the interstate.
Question: Is it fair that the Coeur d'Alene area is stuck with mini-megaloads without much input?
About a month ago the city of Moscow hosted a public forum to discuss the potential of moving ExxonMobil's megaloads through Moscow on U.S. Highway 95. The meeting was preceded by a good old-fashioned protest, demonstrating the true size of a megaload and decrying what it will do to Moscow's precious trees. It has been a long time since Moscow's hippies have dug out their leather vests, put on their Birkenstocks and readjusted their graying ponytails in an effort to rally “the movement” against “the man.” There's something about a protest to get the blood pumping and, as the Berkeley of north Idaho, Moscow really knows how to throw one. Quite frankly, I've missed it/Henry Johnston, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.
Question: Do you consider Moscow to be the “Berkeley of North Idaho”?
Nez Perce County this week became the sixth northern Idaho county to adopt a resolution in favor of oversize megaload transports; Nez Perce commissioners join the commissioners of Idaho, Clearwater, Lewis, Shoshone and Boundary counties in adopting such resolutions since December. “Our highways were built for commerce,” the Nez Perce county resolution declares/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Should Kootenai County commissioners take a position on megaloads?
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/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Lewiston Tribune file photo/Barry Kough: Mammoet Co. workers move a reduced-size megaload carried on 18-axles remotely controlled, into a new storage yard at the Port of Lewiston on May 9.)
Question: Are you bothered that megaloads now will go through Coeur d'Alene?
Idaho State Police Capt. Lonnie Richardson told a hearing officer at the Highway 12 megaloads contested-case hearing today that ISP has received “intel” about “people who may want to interfere with the loads.” He said, “There are organizations who would like to disrupt the movement of the load either by means of personnel or more severe.” Richardson declined to provide more information, saying the intelligence was “confidential information.” He said, “There have been threats,” and said, “Everybody has got a different definition of terrorism”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Do you think there's a legitimate domestic terrorism threat to megaload shipments … in Idaho?
Idaho Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, has introduced a bill that would require pestocrats seeking to block megaloads in court to post a bond that they would forfeit should they lose. The bond is big enough that they would have trouble raising it in the first place and would sting if they lost it. Up until now, only the plaintiffs has suffered any tangible harm from pestocrat lawsuits. This would level the playing field. In reality, this principle should be applied to all lawsuits, in which those initiating the lawsuit should bear some level of responsibility for wasting the court's time and peoples' money. Too many people look at the courts as a form of lottery, hoping that they will become the next person striking it rich after spilling hot coffee on themselves/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Should there be a bond required for filing most lawsuits, as Costello suggests?
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, is presenting his pro-megaloads bill, HB 193a, to the Senate Transportation Committee, and he's getting lots of questions; the bill would require a huge cash bond before anyone could file a lawsuit to block a transportation project on Idaho highways. Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, noted that Harwood spoke repeatedly of “frivolous lawsuits” and talked about the lawsuit that was filed in north-central Idaho against the proposed megaloads on Highway 12, but noted, “It's not my impression that the lawsuit that was brought in the megaloads case was considered to be frivolous by either the hearing officer or the judge.” Harwood responded, “I just used that term because sometimes that's how I feel they are.”
When Werk asked Harwood about his contention that people can find judges who'll rule any way they want, Harwood said, “Certain judges do lean in different directions. A lot of times maybe their … personal opinon, and I know in my case often my own personal opinion overrides the right thing to do.” Betsy Russell, EOB
Do you believe judges allow personal opinion to sway court rulings?