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Eye On Boise

Opponents: ‘Where is the concern for the public?’

Laird Lucas, attorney for the megaloads opponents, arguing against Conoco's motion for a directed verdict, asked, "Where is the concern for the public? It is not in the record. ... To this day there has not been a public meeting on the Conoco loads." He noted that ITD held three public meetings on the larger ExxonMobil proposal for more megaloads on the same route. "The department knows full well that a precedent is being set here," Lucas said. Yet, it's maintained throughout the contested case hearing that the Conoco proposal has nothing to do with the Exxon one.

Lucas said, "We've had frankly some games played. ITD's saying it's speculative to talk about other permits, and we know Highway 12 is available." But the only reason the route is available for the megaloads is because ExxonMobil paid to bury or raise large numbers of utility lines to accommodate extra-high loads, Lucas said. He also said the past two days of hearings showed "that ITD does not check Emmert's assertions about the road, about the travel time. ... We've shown that their assertions about the size of turnouts and things are not credible." He added, "In a case of this importance, they have not done the full homework. They have not gone out and checked. They relied upon the applicant."

Lucas said, "We have met our burden of proof, and we ask that you deny the motion."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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