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ITD issued permits for ConocoPhillips oversize shipments that were rescinded by the Idaho District Court in Lewiston.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?