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Posts tagged: megaloads

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?

Marty: Jeers To Rep. Dick Harwood

JEERS … to Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St.Maries. Bet you expected public officials to look after your rights. Not so. Harwood would rather defend multinational oil companies. Case in point: the megaloads. There's every reason to question unprecedented large, wide, tall and heavy rolling roadblocks of oil and mining equipment bottling up segments of U.S. Highway 12. But Harwood would block megaload skeptics from petitioning their government for redress of grievances. He'd do it by pricing them right out of the courtroom. Introduced Wednesday, Harwood's bill says anyone who sues to block a megaload must post a bond equal to 5 percent of the shipment's value. If a megaload is worth $10 million, for example, that's $500,000. And if the lawsuit fails, the Idaho Transportation Department gets a payday. Rather a big gamble just to exercise your legal rights, don't you think?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Should private citizens have to post a bond of up to $500,000 to sue to stop ConocoPhillips megaloads?

Harwood Targets Megaload Lawsuits

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, has introduced legislation requiring anyone who files a lawsuit against a transportation project on state highways to post a bond equal to 5 percent of the value of the items being hauled, and if the plaintiffs lose the lawsuit, the whole bond would go to the Idaho Transportation Department. Plus, the bill would authorize the court to award damages to the hauler in the amount of its loss for delays related to the lawsuit. Harwood said, “This has been brought because of the megaloads. Any time an individual group can stop our commerce from flowing, it's not a good thing, and that's what happened”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support Rep. Dick Harwood's attempt to price megaloads protesters out of a judicial remedy in the fight over megaloads?

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?

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?

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

Montana Governor Backs Megaloads

Item: Several groups – and Montana governor – contend mega-loads mean mega-dollars/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter

More Info: Schweitzer says that those who are worried about the shipments leaking or spilling have no need to fear because the drums are only constructed of steel and contain no fluids.  Speaking on a Montana radio show, Schweitzer said he supports the plan and his state will work to make load transportation easy and simple while following state law.   The Montana governor has also said that if permits are denied for the large loads, it would be a “job killer” for his state.

Question: If there’s no real danger to the environment, since no liquids will be transported, is there a real reason to protest the mega-loads when so many jobs are on the line?

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?

Idaho Court Allows 1st 4 Mega-Loads

The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled in favor of allowing four mega-loads of oil refinery equipment to travel scenic U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho, overturning a lower-court judge who revoked the permits for the four giant truckloads. The court, in a 21-page ruling, found that it didn’t have jurisdiction to revoke the permits for the loads, and neither did the district court. “It is entirely possible that Respondents have real grievances with ITD’s decision in this case,” the court held. “Even so, the Constitution and the Legislature have limited the Court’s power to act here. … The Court’s only choice is to remand with instructions to dismiss without prejudice”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP File Photo)

Question: Do you think this split 3-2 decision stinks as much as I do?

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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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