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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Megaloads opponents file ‘exceptions’ to Highway 12 permits ruling

Opponents of giant megaloads of oil equipment traveling on north-central Idaho's scenic U.S. Highway 12 have filed "exceptions" with the Idaho Transportation Department to the decision of a state hearing officer recommending issuing permits for 200-plus loads. "The director should reject the hearing officer's proposed findings, conclusions and recommendations because the hearing officer applied an improper legal standard, erroneously assumed the petitioners had stipulated to certain facts, and reached conclusions contradicted by the record," argue the opponents, who include residents and business owners along the route.

The "exceptions" filing, which followed the hearing officer's rejection of the opponents' motion for reconsideration of his decision, goes to ITD chief Brian Ness, who then decides whether or not to grant the exceptions and makes a final decision; that final decision would be appealable in court. The prospect of megaloads on Highway 12 also is facing obstacles in Montana, where a judge partially granted a preliminary injunction against permits for the Montana portion of the route. In the meantime, Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has reduced some of the loads in size to send them by freeway instead, and proposed a new route from the Port of Pasco through Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and Butte on U.S. Highway 395, I-90 and I-15 to get the equipment up to Canada. You can read the exceptions filing here; it asks Ness to reverse and remand the contested case for a new hearing.

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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