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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Conoco statement: ‘Look forward to decision’

After the conclusion yesterday of a two-day contested-case hearing on ConocoPhillips' proposed megaloads on Highway 12, the company issued this statement:

"ConocoPhillips appreciated the opportunity to reaffirm to ITD and the public our detailed plans to transport four shipments of equipment from Lewiston to the Billings Refinery. Our refinery has a daily workforce of about 450 people who operate an important regional supply of secure, North American energy.  This includes providing transportation fuel to Idaho, Montana and several other western states. Our experts clearly demonstrated that we have thoroughly anticipated and planned for every stretch of road along the route.  We are confident we can apply careful coordination by the road crew and state and local agencies, highly experienced drivers and state-of-the-art equipment to transport the shipments safely while keeping traffic flowing. We look forward to a decision that will allow us to move our equipment to the Billings refinery soon, so we can conduct our planned maintenance  and continue operating this important facility safely and reliably."

The hearing's final witness, Conoco Billings refinery manager Steven Steach, was asked during cross-examination if the firm was paying its busload of employees who traveled to Boise and attended the hearing, wearing matching T-shirts backing the project. "We said we wouldn't dock 'em if they were scheduled to work today," Steach responded; those who were scheduled to work but came to the hearings were paid for their regular shifts. The workers, he said, wanted "to show their support. They're very proud of the refinery."

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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