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: