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Eye On Boise archive for Nov. 2010

FRIDAY, NOV. 19, 2010

There was a big crowd at today's megaloads hearing at the Idaho Transportation Department. In the front row are the parties and attorneys; the audience behind includes more than 50 employees of ConocoPhillips' Billings refinery, who came on a bus to support the project and wore T-shirts touting it. (Betsy Russell)

Today's megaloads hearing...

Lawyers for opponents and backers of the first four mega-loads of oil equipment proposed to travel north-central Idaho's U.S. Highway 12 faced off in a crowded Idaho Transportation Department auditorium today, sparring over whether more hearings must be held before the four loads can roll;…

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Conoco hearing concludes, decision next week

The hearing has wrapped up on the ConocoPhillips megaloads and whether to allow opponents to intervene in the permit case. "I will take this matter under advisement," said hearing officer Merlyn Clark. "I will issue a decision before Thanksgiving, it will be a written recommendation…

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Conoco attorney: 'They're in a bind'

ConocoPhillips' Billings oil refinery is "intertwined with the Idaho economy and the Montana economy," Conoco attorney Erik Stidham said as he wrapped up his legal arguments. "There's no assurance that they will not have to have an unplanned stop if they are not allowed to…

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ConocoPhillips Billings refinery manager Steven Steach is at right, and to his right is Erik Stidham, attorney for ConocoPhillips. (Betsy Russell)

Conoco: 'Really is about politics' 

"Going back to what is really at issue here," ConocoPhillips attorney Erik Stidham told an ITD hearing officer this morning, "we're facing a situation that really is about politics and not about this refinery in Bilings."He displayed a protest website that referred to "Axles of…

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Conoco attorney: 'Plenty of safety precautions'

Erik Stidham, attorney for ConocoPhillips, has begun his arguments. "They want to talk about things beyond the four permits," he said of the opponents of the four ConocoPhillips megaloads, things "that don't relate to four shipments traveling in the middle of the night with plenty…

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'Believe they're going to set a precedent'

The hearing today on whether to allow full contested-case hearings on the four proposed ConocoPhillips megaloads on Highway 12 will focus just on those four loads, hearing officer Merlyn Clark warned. "I am limiting my scope of examination today to the four loads that are…

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Crowd at ITD hearing Friday on ConocoPhillips megaloads (Betsy Russell)

Big crowd for ITD hearing today 

Today is the day that an ITD hearing officer will hear arguments from all sides on the proposed four mega-loads of oil refinery equipment that ConocoPhillips wants to send across U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho. ITD's auditorium is quite full; among the crowd are…

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THURSDAY, NOV. 18, 2010

Kelly joins EPA in Seattle 

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's outgoing Senate minority leader is taking a job with the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle. Sen. Kate Kelly, a Democratic senator since 2004, will be director of the Office of Ecosystems, Tribal…

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Rep. Lake backs cig tax hike 

Idaho House Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, said he supports a big hike in the state's cigarette tax in the coming year, and may co-sponsor the legislation. "I do support it," he said. "They wanted to bring a bill to raise cigarette taxes last year…

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 17, 2010

Allred amending campaign disclosure

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Keith Allred is amending his campaign's disclosures to include an in-kind contribution worth $3,000 to $4,000 for work done by the Boise-based business consulting firm he joined this week as…

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Official turnout: Lowest since '78 

Idaho's state Board of Canvassers met today to certify the results of the Nov. 2 election, and here's the news: Just 58.1 percent of Idaho's registered voters cast ballots. That's the lowest turnout for a midterm election since 1978 (that year it was 56.51 percent),…

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Trend shows fewer eligible Idahoans voting 

The "Interstices" blog crunched some numbers and found that the Nov. 2 election marked the lowest turnout as a percentage of Idaho's voting age population in a gubernatorial election in the past 50 years. That measure, as opposed to the percentage of registered voters who…

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