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.