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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Big loads not rolling yet…

The permits that ITD issued this week for the first four mega-loads on U.S. Highway 12 may say they're valid as of 10 p.m. tonight, but at this point ITD says the ConocoPhillips loads won’t be moving tonight. The permits were stayed while a hearing officer determines whether ITD should hold a contested case hearing; that hearing officer, attorney and former Idaho State Bar President Merlyn Clark, hasn’t yet issued a ruling and it’s not clear how long that process will take. Plus, ITD’s permits are contingent on Montana also issuing permits for the giant truckloads – which will take up both lanes of the two-lane highway – to travel in that state as well. That hasn’t yet happened.

“We will only issue a permit to Conoco when we are convinced that Montana is ready to issue one as well,” said Jeff Stratten, ITD spokesman. Montana officials were notified when ITD issued but stayed its four permits this week, Stratten said; “They were aware of what we were doing.”  At that point, he said, there was “no need” for Montana to issue permits because ITD’s permits were stayed and weren’t going into effect.

Stratten said the next step in the process is setting briefing and hearing schedules for the arguments on whether or not to allow parties to intervene and participate in hearings; both should take place within the next week to 10 days, he said."The hearing officer could rule at the conclusion of the oral arguments or could issue a ruling later," Stratten said.

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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