August 26, 2010 in Idaho

Conoco appeals Highway 12 ruling on big rigs

By The Spokesman-Review
 

BOISE - ConocoPhillips is appealing to the Idaho Supreme Court 2nd District Judge John Bradbury’s ruling revoking its Idaho state permits to move four giant loads over Highway 12 from Lewiston to Montana.

In its notice of appeal, the oil company says the three Highway 12 river canyon residents and business owners who sued over the shipments don’t really have standing to sue, because “their alleged injuries are speculative, hypothetical, abstract, and are not causally related to the four shipments that are at issue.”

The firm also questions the judge’s decision that the Idaho Transportation Department acted in an an arbitrary and capricious manner in its application of state regulations requiring a “reasonable determination of necessity” before approving such oversize loads; and charged that the court considered some evidence it shouldn’t have and ignored other evidence it should have examined.

“ConocoPhillip has a right to appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court, and the Order … is appealable,” the firm wrote in its filing.

The firm had hoped to have already started moving the four giant loads, which were shipped by barge from Japan to the Port of Lewiston in May. They’re the first of more than 200 oversized loads proposed for the winding route - which is designated as both a state and federal scenic byway, and runs along the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers.

The appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court includes notice that the oil company will file a motion to “expedite,” or speed up, the high court appeal.

The loads are so large that they’ll take up both lanes of the two-lane highway, blocking traffic. ITD’s permit required them to travel at night and pull over every 15 minutes to let traffic pass, but its own regulations prevent more than 10-minute delays and require “public safety and convenience” to be a top concern in granting such permits.


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