Wednesday, December 15, 2010


In the details of the ConocoPhillips' permit that ITD had issued on Nov. 12 was this line: "Emmert is authorized to barricade the approved turnouts for exclusive use for the wide loads up to 24 hours in advance for each move." And also this line: "Travel is allowed 7 days a week..."
The 4 shipments will each travel 4 days on U.S.12, and the permits for these 4 may well set the precedence for Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil's 207 shipments, Harvest Energy's 63 shipments, and others.
During the recent hearing in Boise regarding the CP shipments, Emmert International (the Conoco shipper) project manager Mark Albrecht said Emmert has already hired a barricade company to block turnouts throughout the scenic byway/All American Road U.S.12.

He further said that Emmert had not consulted the Nez Perce Tribe regarding ancestral fishing and hunting rights along the route nor the Clearwater National Forest regarding Emmert's blocking public access to the CNF at locations such as the Fish Creek turnout and from access to 2 of the nations' Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Lochsa and Middle Fork of the Clearwater. Barricaded turnouts will be unavailable to all vehicles: cars, pickups, motorcycles, bicycles, campers, motorhomes, delivery trucks, buses, logging trucks and other commercial trucks.

Each shipment, according to Emmert staff, will be escorted by 4 on-duty state police officers traveling in state police cruisers.

We urge you to send a note to Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell and USFS Regional Supervisor Leslie Weldon imploring them to demand that ITD maintain public access to the Clearwater National Forest and Wild and Scenic Lochsa River and Middle Fork of the Clearwater River at all times.

Send your note to:

Also send a note to the Idaho Dept. of Commerce's Tourism Division Administrator Karen Ballard imploring her to demand that ITD maintain public access to turnouts all along the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, 1 of the nation's 27 All-American Roads, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Nez Perce National Historic Trail and Idaho's segment of the Nez Perce National Historic Park -- that is, all along U.S. Highway 12. Remind her that north central Idaho business and community leaders have worked diligently throughout the last 2 decades to build north central Idaho's single growing industry -- the $150 million tourism industry that employs nearly 5000 people. Tell her that NOW is the time for her to stand up and defend that industry.

Send your note to:

Contested Case Hearing, MegaLoad Accidents & NYT

This past week's contested case hearing was scheduled so fast and kept so short for one reason: ConocoPhillips requested speed. With 13 intervenors, only 1 intervenor testified at the Boise hearing. There are 2 key reasons:
1) the limitation of time, as the hearings were condensed into only two days
2) the hearing's limited focus on 3 legal items:
a. the 10 and/or 15-minute traffic delay rule
b. the requirement that ITD make its "primary" consideration, when issuing permits, the "safety and convenience" of the public
c. the requirement that ITD make a reasonable determination of the "feasibility and necessity" of the route

While only one intervenor testified at the hearing, all 13 intervenors have submitted written affadavits to the hearing officer, which means, in effect, all 13 have testified, and hearing officer Merlyn Clark is considering their testimony. His opinion will be based upon all information that relates to the above 3 issues.

You can read more about the testimony here:
Critic, ConocoPhillips official dispute risks of megaloads on U.S.12

Megaloads Court Battle Looks Like a Close Call

Spokesman Review reporter Betsy Russell blogged regularly throughout the contested case hearing in Boise last week. She did an excellent job of keeping non-attendees updated. If you did not discover "Eye on Boise" during the hearing, and would now like a review of what happened, please go to Russell's blog ... she has 3 pages of posts that cover the hearing.
page 3:
page 2:
page 1:

Recent Accidents Involving Mega-Load Shipments by Mammoet
The following two stories report accidents involving mega-load transports by Mammoet, the Dutch trucking company hired by Imperial Oil to move the proposed 207 oversized shipments along Highway 12.

Both of these accidents happened on straight stretches of road in the summer time. With two accidents this year already reported how can Mammoet, Imperial Oil and ITD take such a nonchalant approach to transporting these massive loads up the narrow winding canyon of the Lochsa?

In case you missed the story below which first appeared in the Lewiston Tribune about a megaload accident in Indiana involving shipper Mammoet, you can read it in full at Trading Markets. Actually this is Mammoet's 2nd megaload accident during the past 5 months.
Hired transport company reported accident this year.... Read more:
The other accident took place in Canada on dry straight roads. Read the story from the Drayton Valley Western Review:
Minor Injury in Collision

Here are links to two stories highlighting potential accelerated road and bridge damage caused by the megaloads.
From the Missoulian:
Oilfield megaloads will exceed Idaho bridge's weight limits ... Read more:
From New West:
Conoco Permits Highlight Question of U.S. Highway 12 Damage

The Highway 12 Issue Made the New York Times Once Again:With this article the New York Times focuses on the Montana side of the megaload transportation project:
Along A Course of Purling Rivers, A Raw Divide
To read the original New York Times article about the issues concerning Idaho residents follow this link:
Oil Sands Effort Turns On A Fight Over A Road

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Date, Time & Place of Contested Case Hearing

The contested case hearing related to the ConocoPhillips' shipments will take place in Boise this coming week. Here are the details:

Date: Dec. 8-9th (not 8-10th, as earlier noted)

Time: 9:00 a.m. each day

Where: Grove Hotel, Evergreen Room, 2nd Floor
245 So. Capitol Boulevard, Boise
Testimony will be taken from called witnesses only, not from the audience.

More Lolo Pass Megaloads Opponents EmergeNew West
By Steve Bunk, 12-02-10 The three residents along US Highway 12 in northern Idaho who are involved in legal proceedings to halt proposed megaloads of oil ...
Read More:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Upcoming Dates

Idaho Transportation Director Schedules Highway 12 Hearings
The contested case hearings are scheduled for Boise, December 8th and 9th, time and place yet to be determined. Merlyn Clark will continue to serve as hearing officer. The hearing is open to the public. Both sides in the case will present arguments and call witnesses to testify. No public comments from the floor will be taken.

Read more:

Film about Highway 12 to be shown at Wilma Dec. 2nd, 7pm Local filmmaker Holly Schroeder will introduce "Big Rigs," her look at the nascent industrial corridor planned for the wild and scenic river corridor through Idaho and through Missoula all the way to Alberta's tar sands country. The film will be aired as part of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Dec 2, at 7 p.m., at the Wilma Theater in downtown Missoula. Read more:

Monday, November 29, 2010

End Of November Mega-Load Update

The latest news on the mega-load issue includes the ruling, by hearing officer Merlyn Clark, in favor of highway 12 residents, Candian Steel Workers Union upset about lost manufacturing jobs as well as the uncovering of a report backing the Kearl mega-loads that MDT denies is from their agency. Here are the links:

Ruling: ITD must hear from megaload opponents

MDT says 'ghost' report backing Kearl big rigs isn't from agency

Attorneys pour over state Department of Transportation big rig documents

Highway 12 megaloads: Union questions why oilfield modules were built in South Korea

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

News of Friday's Hearing and CBC Radio Program

Merlyn Clark, the hearing officer noted that the contested case before him was limited to the 4 ConocoPhillips' shipments and not the 207 Imperial Oil shipments or the "high and wide" corridor. This latter point was debated as the lawyers presented their arguments.

Clark said he would issue a "proposed" decision prior to Thanksgiving. That decision will serve, in effect, as a "recommendation." Then, there will likely be a response period prior to a final decision.

The CP coke drums will not leave the Port of Lewiston at least until that final decision is rendered.

For more information on the hearing that took place on Friday in Boise see New West’s article:

Attorneys square off in court over hauling massive refinery equipment from Lewiston to Billings by Steve Bunk, 11-19-10
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will be running a radio story on the U.S. 12 megaload issue by reporter Jennifer Keene this week. She came to Clearwater country about 3 weeks ago to interview, record and see for herself how the megaload issue fits into the larger oil sands issue. To listen, click here:
The megaload story is part of a series on the oil sands, Wednesday – Friday

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where We Stand

As you read articles covering the megaload shipping proposal on Highway 12 and the comments following those articles it’s important to remember a few things:

1. At the heart of opposition to the megaloads are thousands of individual Idahoans and Montanans.

2. Opponents of the megaloads oppose over-legal loads that weigh over half-a-million pounds and block both lanes of U.S. Highway 12. But these same opponents support commercial truck traffic on the highway, and they support the jobs of commercial and logging truck drivers who live and work in north central Idaho.

3. The megaload transport projects will harm - not help Idaho's (& Montana's) economy.

Current Articles:

Big Rigs Wouldn't Bring Jobs, They Would Take Them Away (Missoulian) --
Recent guest columns in the Missoulian argue that new jobs and spending created by the Kearl Module Transportation project (aka "big rigs") will be the economic salvation of Montana. The official impact analysis as well as in-depth, independent economic analysis does not support these claims of job and spending gains from the project. Exaggerated promises of economic gains to justify truck shipments of massive oil equipment loads through Montana only divert attention away from the very real costs to the state, its taxpayers and the state's natural resources.
Read more:

Proposed big rigs 9 feet longer than Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose (Missoulian)
We’ve read the dimensions of the very biggest rigs repeatedly: up to 227 feet long, 27 feet high and 29 feet wide, and seen the 300-ton weight as well. ... One day last week, the Missoulian searched the Internet to try to put into context the dimensions of the controversial big-rig shipments of oilfield and refinery equipment that want to roll through Idaho and Montana.
Read more ...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Help the Highway 12 Mega-Load Issue Reach the National TV Audience

A reader recently commented on the necessity of getting this story out to the wider National TV audience. If you’d like to recommend this story to your favorite news organization here are some links. Thanks!

ABC News
CBS – a menu lets you select 60 minutes, or CBS News, etc.
link for eye witness breaking news with the ability to upload pics
more general comment page
Fox News Contact Page,2933,77538,00.html
Democracy Now
Email Grit TV

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Idaho Supreme Court Decision

The Idaho Supreme Court issued its opinion on the ConocoPhillips - Idaho Transportation Dept. appeal of Judge John Bradbury's August district court decision.
In a 3-to-2 decision, the supreme court found that it -- and the district court -- did not have jurisdiction to revoke the CP permits that ITD had issued.

In rendering its opinion, the court did not address any of the key issues of the lawsuit regarding the CP permits -- such as the 10-minute-delay rule and the regulatory mandate that ITD first and foremost must consider public safety and convenience. So those issues remain open to review.

Here are links to some of the articles about the

Online at the New York Times:

As you read these articles keep in mind:

- Never before have loads the gargantuan size as these traveled on U.S.12.
The oversize loads now traveling on the highway are single-lane loads
and much smaller in size and weight.

- Including Harvest Energy shipments, the tally so far of shipments the oil
companies hope to launch totals 274 in 2010-'11. By spring, there could
be dozens more knocking on ITD's door, or as the Port of Lewiston put
it "hundreds more."

- In the United States, 65% of new jobs are created by small businesses.
If the people of north central Idaho are to economically survive, the more
than 150 small businesses that comprise the area's single growing
industry - tourism, and that currently provide employment for almost 5000
people, must be protected. As we pull out of the recession, those small
businesses will be the source of most of the area's new jobs ... unless
they are destroyed by Big Oil's turning the scenic byway into an industrial
megaload truck route.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Award-Winning Journalist Speaks up for Highway 12

NAOMI KLEIN, award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, speaks out against the use of Highway 12 by mega-loads shipments.

Other Highway News:
- As of yesterday, there was snow on Lolo Pass.
- As of Sunday both lanes in the Mile 136 diesel spill area were open to traffic.
- As of Tuesday a second ConocoPhillips drum had been set up on stands
(trailer removed) in a lot adjacent to the Port of Lewiston, while the other two
drums remained on trailers at the back of the port lot.
- A Journal of Commerce Oct. 27th report indicates that more Imperial Oil modules
will arrive at the port this week.
- No response to date from ITD regarding the request for a contested case hearing
prior to permitting of the Imperial Oil shipments

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More News on the Fight to Protect Highway 12

Imperial Oil Modules began stacking up at the Port of Lewiston last week, without receiving permits to transport their massive loads on Highway 12 and prior to the Idaho Supreme Court ruling on the issue at it relates to the ConocoPhillips oversized loads.

Lewiston Tribune Editorial on

New West story outlining the legal issues being decided on by the Idaho Supreme Court:

At the same time more light is being shed on the behind closed doors meetings and agreements that have been taking place in Idaho for well over a year concerning these proposed shipments.

Spokesman Review article about ISP deal to escort the shipments made in 2009 on

Local residents took to the streets with signs on Saturday to voice their opposition to the mega-load transportation proposals and to call attention to the fact that Imperial Oil is pressuring ITD and the Idaho Supreme Court by barging their equipment to Lewiston without permits to move it on Highway 12, nor any permits to enter Montana.

KLEW TV story on the Saturday morning protest on Lewiston’s Memorial Bridge:

Other stories of interest:

The Port of Lewiston is losing money:

In a recent story titled “Megaloads Bound for Alberta Arrive,” The Lewiston Tribune reported that a Portland based security firm was keeping watch over Imperial Oil’s giant loads waiting without permits at the Port of Lewiston:

“All the maneuvering took place under recently added security. A uniformed attendant of a Portland security company with a clipboard kept track of vehicles entering the port's container yard. Newly constructed fencing as well as empty containers made it difficult for anyone outside the yard to view the activity.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peaceful Protest in Lewiston Saturday Morning

With ConocoPhillips urging the Idaho Supreme Court to expedite their decision and Imperial Oil already moving their massive modules to the Port of Lewiston even though they do not have a permit-it's time to let all parties involved know that we're serious about protecting Highway 12 - it's infrastructure, residents, business people and travelers who rely on it daily.

The time has come for action. Your chance to make your voice heard has arrived.

Here are the details:


When: This Saturday, Oct. 16th, starting at 10:00 a.m. (until approx. 11:30 a.m.)

Where: The public sidewalks on Memorial Bridge in Lewiston

> To publicly show how many people oppose the megaloads.
> To make the people's voice heard.

Please spread the word ... invite everyone who opposes the megaloads to be there.

Thank you!

ExxonMobil plans long-term 'High and Wide' corridor through Pacific Northwest

The Natural Resources Defense Council recently undertook the task of translating Korean business documents related to the Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil modules. Yesterday, NRDC released the attached report: Exxon's Plans to Permanently Industrialize the Lolo Corridor; NRDC Survey of Korean Documents Substantiates Plans by Exxon to Create a New and Permanent Industrial Transportation Corridor in the Pacific Northwest. The report states:

...NRDC has surveyed a number of Korean business documents, Korean press reports, along with SJG’s Korean press releases in order to fully establish an accurate representation regarding the fiduciary relationship between Exxon and Sun Jin Geotec in relation to plans to ship further modules. After an extensive effort to translate a number of these critical Korean documents, NRDC has discovered convincing evidence that Exxon’s contract with SJG constitutes a far-reaching and long-term commitment between the two parties – totaling at least $1.5 billion US that will continue to the year 2020. In the absence of any expressed alternatives, this financial commitment is likely to represent thousands of modules, and consequently, thousands of oversized industrial shipments through the Pacific Northwest.

Related story:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Heads Up! Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Modules Begin Arriving in Lewiston

Even though ITD has not granted Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil permits to move their massively oversized loads, nor has the Idaho Supreme Court ruled on legality of the ConocoPhillips oversized load permits – IO/EM modules are arriving by barge at the Port of Lewiston at this very moment. The first modules arriving are the smallest of the IO/EM loads. Most of the modules are almost as tall and wide as the Conoco Phillips's drums sitting now at the port and almost 3-times longer than the drums. The port area, previously open to drive-ins, is now secured by closed gates.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Internal Idaho Transportation Department memos further illustrate how a single state agency is in the process of changing forever the character of Idaho’s Clearwater-Lochsa corridor. The memos, brought to light through the freedom of information act, also indicate that ITD is bringing about the re-characterization of the corridor in closed-door meetings and without public hearings or legislative input despite the fact that this re-characterization will have profound consequences for the whole of north central Idaho.
ITD recently met with Harvest Energy, which according to the Wall Street Journal, is a major player in tar sands oil extraction in Alberta, Canada, and was purchased one year ago by the state-run Korea National Oil Corporation. Harvest Energy proposes to ship 40-60 modules along U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston to Montana and on to Alberta.
These shipments are to begin in June of 2011. If we add up the number of megaload shipments ITD is now considering permitting for travel on U.S.12 (4 + 207 + 40-60) corridor residents, business owners, emergency travelers, commercial truckers and tourists will now witness a total of 251-271 megaload shipments in approximately a single year.
ITD is legally responsible for protecting the values of the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road and enhancing the visitor experience.
If ITD is allowed to proceed with its intended re-characterization of the highway, U.S.12 will fast become the means by which we export more North American manufacturing jobs to Southeast Asia, as well as enable the export of North American oil to a foreign country -- and the State of Idaho will be complicit in such exportations. At the same time, Idahoans will pay the price in personal safety, a diminished tourism industry, accelerated replacement of damaged highway and bridges, and in being pushed out of our own outdoor paradise by foreign corporations -- with the assistance of a domestic, taxpayer-funded agency.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Busy Week for Highway 12 Oil Equipment Shipment News

Last week was a busy week in the world of Highway 12 information.
The Imperial Oil Modules began to arrive at the Port of Vancouver, Washington, raising questions about the permitting process and the pressure IO is putting on ITD to grant permits for the massively oversized loads regardless of the risks to Highway 12, the Lochsa River’s Wild and Scenic Corridor and the traveling public. Another concering aspect of these encroaching behemouths is the risk of accident and the lack of adequate planning for such an unfortuanate event. No matter what the likelihood of such an event, having a realistic plan in place to deal with such an emergency is imperative. One of the biggest problems with such a plan is the lack of adequate equipment to move these huge loads. Theresa Wagner , the Port of Vancouver Communications Director indirectly addressed this issue when she stated
“We have two 150 metric ton mobile harbor cranes, the two largest in North America," she said. "This could be some of the largest pieces we've lifted - the modules are in excess of 100 metric tons and could get up to 150 - and so we're using both cranes." The Imperial/Exxon loads have "slightly unusual" centers of gravity and each is different, Wagner added. "Each piece has to be carefully rigged and looked at, so it's very labor intensive," she said. To read the full article:

On Wednesday, September 29th, a diesel tanker crashed on Highway 12 at about milepost 136 spilling over 7500 gallons of diesel into the ditch on the side of the road. The fuel has been seeping under the road and was detected in the river over the weekend. The road is open to single lane traffic as crews drill below the road and work to remove the contaminated soil. No oversized loads will fit on that section of the road in its current condition. With so much diesel seeping under the road the possibility of having to remove the road surface, substrate and the contaminated soil under road bed is great. That’s what happened in 2003 after a tanker crashed spilling 6300 gallons near Knife Edge.
The Idaho County Free Press ran a story giving some background information on the current diesel spill and then allowing ISP Captain Lonnie Richardson to editorialize on the relationship between this wreck and the proposed oversized shipments – shipments that ISP stands to gain from financially:

On those past hazmat spills, "no one has weighed in on these," he said. "That's really odd to me." Yet at meetings, opposition is raised to oversized loads with environmental impact as one of the concerns. Richardson said these loads will be escorted by ISP troopers at speeds far slower and more controllable than those involved in last week's tanker crash. Were one of these loads to spill it is matter of cutting up and carting off metal, not hazardous material.
"We have stuff going up and down Highway 12 every day that is far more dangerous and would have a much greater environmental impact," he said

I take issue with these comments and the lack of balance in the story. While these loads will be traveling at slower speeds that doesn’t guarantee their safety. Metal is not a hazardous material on the same level as diesel fuel but one of these huge loads crashing into the river would disrupt the river bed and negatively affect the fragile fisheries, as well as possibly dump the contents of their fuel tank into the river. And there are still questions as to the ability of getting the loads out of the river.
Many people are concerned with the safety of tankers on Highway 12 as well as other hazardous materials. These same people are concerned that the change in semi-truck traffic patterns due to the oversize shipments by Conoco & Imperial would increase the likelihood of these kinds of single vehicle accidents as well as multi-vehicle wrecks. While the potential for negative environmental issues exist with these loads the major concern is safety. Captian Richardson summed it up the Highway 12 issue well when he said:

"That's an unforgiving road. There's no way to recover."

On Friday, October 1st, the Idaho Supreme Court heard arguments in the case concerning the legality of the permits ITD granted to ConocoPhillips to move 4 oversized mega-loads. ConocoPhillips is appealing the lower court ruling that the permits ITD issued were issued outside the legal framework of state law.

To read more on this story:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Our Local Issue Makes National News

The Highway 12 Mega-Load issue is making news across the country and as far away as Rueters Africa . Here are links to some of the most recent articles.

This story talks about the Port of Lewiston using projected funds from Imperial Oil in their budget for next year. It also mentions how the recent and upcoming upgrades to the port are being funded by federal money. This story was picked up from the Lewiston Tribune and posted on Trading Markets:

This Spokesman Review article concerns Oregon Rep. DeFazio's letter to the Secretary of Transportation: “I am concerned about the ExxonMobil Canada plan to use U.S. roadways to haul oversize loads to Alberta, Canada, for the Kearl Oil Sands project,” Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, wrote to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood on Aug. 25. “If Idaho and Montana issue oversize and overweight load permits in violation of the Federal Bridge Formula, American taxpayers will pay the price for the unprecedented wear and tear on our highway system. I am opposed to subsidizing ExxonMobil oil sands mining in Canada with taxpayer dollars.” Read the entire story:

The LA Times picked up the story this week running a general overview of the situation as well as putting the story up on their blog site. To read the original story go to:,0,1314229.story
To read the blog post and contribute your thoughts to the story go to:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

ITD Makes Connections Between ConocoPhillips and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil

After claiming publicly and in their legal briefs that no connection existed between the planned shipments of megaloads by ConocoPhillips and those of Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil on U.S. 12, the Idaho Transportation Department has apparently now decided such a connection does exist. ITD had previously promised to post the comments and questions sent to them by the public concerning the proposed megaload shipments along with ITD/ExxonMobil's responses on a website by September 1st.
This week ITD's Adam Rush sent out a notice to all those who had made comments that the response is being "delayed until legal issues with the ConocoPhillips permits are further clarified"
ITD issued permits for ConocoPhillips oversize shipments that were rescinded by the Idaho District Court in Lewiston. ConocoPhillips immediately filed an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court and ITD later followed suit.
How does the outcome of the court case affect the response to public comment by ExxonMobil? Are we to assume that ITD and ExxonMobil are trying to work outside of the existing framework of the law concerning the permits for their 200+ monster loads? Or is ExxonMobil simply continuing to keep the public ill-informed on the truth of what is going on with their partnership with ITD and what it means to the future of the Highway 12 corridor?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fighting Goliath & the Idaho Supreme Court

After Judge Bradbury’s decision to rescind ConocoPhillips' permits for over-weight/size shipments along Highway 12 many people assumed there would be an appeal. What has been a surprise is how ConocoPhillips was able to get the Idaho Supreme Court to move their case to the front of the line – moving them ahead of people who have been waiting an average of 10 months to resolve their legal issues.
The reason given for the expedited hearing was financial hardship for ConocoPhillips as they state an estimated $9 million loss if the repairs to their Billings plant are delayed.
To put that in terms an average person can relate to - $9 million dollars is to ConocoPhillips what $2.30 is to a person making $50K/year. That hardly constitutes financial hardship. (See George Prentice article for
No one forced ConocoPhillips to attempt to use this route in the first place. They could have chosen to use the traditional route through the Gulf of Mexico or looked into other options, like shipping the equipment in pieces and welding it together on site in Billings.
Why are Idaho citizens being asked to delay their quest for justice because of a corporations poor planning? What kind of precedent does this set for our Supreme Court if they are willing to give preferential treatment to big business at the expense of the rest of us?
Can ordinary citizens like the plaintiffs expect a fair and impartial hearing, from a court already willing to give preferential treatment to a giant international corporation?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Recent Articles

Coverage of the U.S.12 megaload story is spreading. Below you'll find links to a few of the latest articles.

Lawsuit: Extra Wide Loads Should be a No-Go for U.S.12 (Public News Service) ... read more:

Idaho Judge Halts Wide Loads on Highway 12 (Businessweek) ... read more:

Idaho Residents Sue to Halt Big Oil Trucks (Deseret News) ... read more:

Gov. Otter wants $10 million bond for heavy loads that would travel across U.S.12: The demand comes the same day as a lawsuit against the special huge shipments along U.S.12 (iStockAnalyst) ... read more:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Conoco Phillips and the "15 Minute Rule"

The following information, derived from a close study of Conoco Phillip’s original travel plan, along with an examination of road conditions and measurements of turnouts along the route, demonstrates that the ConocoPhillips shipments can not meet ITD’s “15-minute rule” for traffic delays, much less the 10-minute rule of Idaho law.

ITD has stated publicly and repeatedly that no permit will be issued if CP (and Imperial Oil) can't meet the 15-minute rule.

Idaho statutes state the following:
“Overlegal permits will not normally be issued for movements which cannot allow for the passage of traffic as provided in Chapter 11, except under special circumstances when an interruption of low volume traffic may be permitted (not to exceed ten (10) minutes) or when adequate detours are available“

Example Where Meeting the "15 Rule" is a Mathematical Impossiblity

We are confident ConocoPhillips will be unable to meet ITD’s 15-minute requirement on numerous stretches of Highway 12 in Idaho. Here is one detailed example we calculated.

2. Mile 116.0 – 120.3 — a distance of 4.3 miles

In order to cross the Fish Creek Bridge, the Emmert International transportation plan again calls for temporarily adding an extra dolly under the load, which extends axle width to 21 feet. EI further states, “travel with these helper dollies installed will be very slow and the turning ability of the transporter would be very restricted…” A rock wall at 116.6 on an inside curve, according to EI, will require the load to “swing wide.” An extensive rock face close to the fog line adds a similar requirement at Mile 117.0. A tight turn radius appears at 119, with a similar curve nearby. The load must then go through deceleration as it approaches the bridge at Mile 120, cross the bridge at a maximum of 5 mph, and proceed the .3 miles remaining to the turnout, presumably at that same speed. The likely speeds for this stretch look like this:

• 1.5 minutes acceleration to 10 mph over .25 miles
• 21 minutes traversing 3.5 miles at an average speed of 10 mph
• 1.5 minutes deceleration
• 6 minutes crossing bridge at 5 mph and traveling to turnout
• 1 minute to clear traffic or maneuver completely off the highway at Milepost 120.3

At an average speed of 10 mph, projected traffic delay time totals 31 minutes. Because of the frequent partial deceleration and acceleration caused by 4 sharp curves, frequent rock faces and narrow roadbed, achieving an average speed of 10 mph on this stretch is highly optimistic. At an average speed of 7.5 mph, traffic delay time would be 38 minutes. Further, the EI transportation plan notes the rock face at MP 117.0 has no turnout on the corner, so this location could easily be one that requires “hand crabbing.” If so, a realistic prediction for this stretch is likely 48 minutes plus.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Articles and Events of Interest

1. Study: Trucks underpay for Idaho's ailing roads. (Spokesman Review) Idaho motorists are paying more and more of the costs of maintaining the state's roads, while drivers of heavy trucks are paying less, according to a new state study - though the trucks are causing far more damage to the roads. Read more . . .

2. Trucks vs. Cars on pavement damagae. (Spokesman Review). . .one fully loaded axle on a big truck is equal to the pavement damage of 10,000 passenger cars. Task force members were stunned. . . Read more. . .

3. NWF representative says [Imperial Oil's] Kearl's [Module Transportation] project needs study like oil pipeline. (Missoulian) Read more. . .

4. An opportunity to talk to the Governor of Idaho about the proposed Conoco Phillips and Imperial Oil massive shipments on U.S. 12.
Gov. Butch Otter and ITD Transportation Director Brian Ness, among other state officials will be in Pierce from 9am-3pm on Wednesday, August 4th. It will be on of Otter's "Capitol for a Day" sessions, including a question and answer period. The location will be the Pierce Community Center, 105 W. Carle St. For more information go to:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


KLEW-TV the local news station in Lewiston, Idaho recently ran a poll on their website concerning the proposed Imperial Oil shipments on Highway 12.
They asked:

Do you favor ITD granting permits to Imperial Oil to transport 200 over-sized loads over U.S. 12?

The results:
336 total votes
116 (35%) voted in favor of permits being issued
220 (65%) voted againts permits being issued

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


There is now a petition available to deny permits for the transport of massively oversized equipment on U.S. Highway 12. To sign the petition please follow this link:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Big Rig Blog at the Missoulian

We Idahoans opposing the use of U.S.12 for Big Oil's mega-load transports have hundreds of friends in Montana opposing Big Oil's use of Montana's highways. At and this companion blog we are giving you online access to well researched, detailed information relating to the transport projects planned for U.S. 12 in Idaho and about how the highway corridor and its rural people may be affected by the Big Oil transports.

Idahoans, Montanas and people across the nation are coming to recognize that the High and Wide Corridor issue spans state and international borders, involves ocean crossings, foreign resources and production interests, involves national politicians and state administrations, giant corporations and thousands of rural and, in Missoula, urban people. At the same time, people around the world are contemplating their interests and drawing lines of perspective on oil sands development already underway in Alberta, Canada - which is the destination of at least 207 of the mega-loads planned for transport on U.S. 12.

In light of the multi-faceted nature of these correlated matters and the increasing widespread attention being paid to them, Missoula, Montana's main newspaper, The Missoulian, has set up an online blog, the Big Rig Blog, as a 1-stop source of links to articles, information pieces, blog posts, and other messages that are coming in from all directions.

To take a look at this roundhouse of links, click here:

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Meeeting Dates

ITD and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil have announced dates for two upcoming public meetings to provide information and take comment on the proposed shipment of 200+ oversized loads on highway 12.

Monday June 28th at The Red Lion in Lewiston 4pm-7pm

Tuesday June 29th at City Hall in Kooskia 4pm-pm

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Public Meetings Cancelled to be Rescheduled

The public meeting that was scheduled to take place in Kooskia on Thursday (6/10) has been cancelled, as well as meetings planned in Lewiston, Orofino and Kamiah. The Idaho Transportation Department said to expect an announcement and schedule for the public sessions in a week or so.
These public information sessions announced by Flour, Inc. - the public relations firm for ExxonMobil - were to address community concerns surrounding the proposed shipping of 200+ oversized loads on highway 12.
There has been no information given as to why these meetings have been cancelled.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Roads Aren't Wide Enough for Big Rigs, Idaho Outfitter, Writer Says

Tape measure in hand, Linwood Laughy took a drive last week up the Lochsa River from his home near Kooskia, Idaho. He tried to imagine a truck hauling a mammoth load of equipment up the winding mountain road, as a couple of mammoth oil companies foresee happening in coming weeks and months.Read more ... click here:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Big Oil: One-Time Deal or Permanent Takeover?

U.S. Highway 12 -- Idaho’s Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road

Big Oil: One-Time Deal or Permanent Takeover?

Promoters of turning Idaho’s Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road into an industrial truck route for gargantuan loads argue that currently planned and pending ConocoPhillips and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Canada mega-load shipments are a “one-off deal;” a one time event. Actually, the ExxonMobil Canada shipments alone number 207, and for successive 15+ minute segments, will close the highway to all traffic five nights a week for an estimated 9 months. But the truth about the oil companies’ intentions lies well beyond those 207 loads……

• The Port of Lewiston, both on their website and in grant applications for port expansion with taxpayer money, states, “If one oil company is successful with this alternative transportation route, many other companies will follow their lead.”

• The CEO of Sungjin Geotec, the Korean company that manufactured the 207 ExxonMobil Canada modules, told a Korean news agency his company expects to receive future orders for additional modules from Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Canada totaling $1.5 billion. The 207 loads now scheduled for U. S. 12 cost $250 million, suggesting that $1.5 billion would pay for about 1200 modules. The Edmonton Journal of Alberta, Canada, recently reported that a Sungjin representative in Calgary confirmed that his company expects to build hundreds of additional modules.

• Bemoaning the loss of metal fabrication jobs for Canadian workers to Korean workers, an Alberta, Canada, industrial association recently stated, “This route (from Lewiston, Idaho to Canada) will become the highway for energy-related products from not only South Korea, but even-lower-wage suppliers such as China and Vietnam.”

• A printout from a Montana Department of Transportation 2009 public slide show presentation states that ExxonMobil proposes to create “permanent High and Wide Corridors,” i.e. permanent industrial mega-load truck routes. That, of course, would include Idaho’s U.S. 12, since it spans the distance between the Port of Lewiston and the Montana border.

During a 30-day public comment period in Montana, a period allowed in response to a required MT Department of Transportation Environmental Assessment [EA] of the ExxonMobil Canada shipment plan, the Missoula County Commissioners submitted a 10-point document requesting a 90-day extension of the comment period. In that document and referring to the EA, the commissioners wrote< "The document [the EA] discussion involves establishing a permanent route through Missoula County for these and other types of oversized loads." Again, the "permanent route" would include Idaho's section of U.S.12.

• A member of the Alberta, Canada, Legislature recently told a Great Falls Tribune reporter, “A company like Imperial is not spending $40 million .… [to develop a high-wide corridor] for one project and one project only.”

• A Missoula attorney and former Montana Department of Transportation lawyer stated to that same Great Falls reporter, “…MDT in past statements have acknowledged that this is going to be a permanent corridor in order to facilitate a transportation route for these modules being built in Asia.”

• In a February 2009 letter to the Port of Lewiston, the Idaho congressional delegation stated their understanding that should initial ExxonMobil Canada shipments prove successful, “there exists the potential to import hundreds of component modules through the Columbia/Snake River System and Port of Lewiston.”

• Without ever having sought input from the taxpaying public, in a January 2009 letter to the Port of Lewiston in specific support of the ExxonMobil shipments, Governor Butch Otter wrote, “I pledge our [Idaho’s] support and cooperation to enhance the development of this important new business opportunity.”

• • •

Can there any longer be any doubt that Big Oil plans — if the State of Idaho allows them — to permanently turn the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road — U.S.12 — into a mega-load industrial truck route? No.

In doing so, some of the largest international corporations in the world expect the citizens of Idaho to assume all the risks involved in these shipments. They expect us — the rural people of Highway 12, Lewiston to Lolo Pass, and nearby communities, such as Clarkston, Washington, and Grangeville and Moscow, Idaho — to suffer a predictable loss to our travel/tourism-based livelihoods, our safety, our recreational opportunities, our property values and our way of life—while they gain the profits.

Anyone who believes that ExxonMobil or ConocoPhillips or other giant international corporations care for the well-being of Idahoans should talk to the fishermen families and tourism/recreation business owners of the Louisiana Gulf Coast or Valdez, Alaska. We, the rural people of Highway 12, will be Big Oil’s next victims…

… unless we stand up and voice our opposition to Big Oil’s takeover of the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and 1 of our nation’s 27 All-American Roads.

The Rural People of Highway 12

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Informative articles on this topic:

Foes fear long-term 'high-and-wide' corridor...

Imperial snubs Alberta workers [& U.S. workers too]...$250M job goes to South Korea...

If you are a subscriber to the Lewiston Tribune:

Nobody's asking you; they're telling you...

Mega-loads, many fears...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fighting Goliath

Many Idahoans are writing to Governor Butch Otter expressing concerns about the Port of Lewiston's and ExxonMobil's plans to turn Idaho's Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road - Highway 12 from Lewiston to Lolo Pass - into a permanent route for the transport of giant industrial equipment. The loads in question are wider than both lanes of traffic on this 2-lane roadway and will block the road completely when they are moving. The travel plans call for the 210-foot-long tractor/trailer units to pull off on "traffic clearance stations" approximately every 3-6 miles in order to limit traffic delays, which by regulation cannot be more than 15 minutes in duration. ExxonMobil has identified 55 such pullout locations, and hence intends to have approximately 55 traffic delays along the 174 mile route.

Yet, here's what Governor Otter would like us to believe about these shipments, quoted from the standard response from his office, repeated for days now to those who've inquired about the shipments: "Under ITD's current guidelines, the shipper could delay traffic and close a small section of U.S. 12 for up to 15 minutes at a time for each load, and do this no more than two times over the entire route for each load."

Does our governor really think the rural people of north central Idaho will believe that 210-foot-long, 3-story high, 24-foot wide truck/trailer/loads will only hold us up on curvy U.S. 12 twice?!

His repeated statement demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the size of these behemoths and of the nature of the highway and also a lack of concern for the safety and well being of the rural people of Highway 12. We should all become informed about what the governor, the Port of Lewiston and ExxonMobil are planning to do with our scenic byway and then voice our objections.

If you want accurate and thorough information on this pending nightmare for Idahoans and, by the way, for our travel and tourism industry, go to