Friday, April 29, 2011

Contested Case Hearing: Imperial/Exxon, April 29, 2011

Yesterday's testimony at the ITD contested case hearing regarding Imperial/Exxon's 200+ megaload shipment permits got underway in the morning with witness Alan Frew of ITD. He, and later ITD's Dave Couch, testified about Imperial/Exxon's transport plan, including its traffic management plan, and ITD's permit approval process. Advocates for the West's lawyers Laird Lucas and Natalie Havlina represented the opponents.

With about 1 1/2 hours of the session remaining, Wild & Scenic Middle Fork Clearwater resident Vickie Garcia took the stand, and by day's end, the approximate dozen opponents present were calling her their "star witness." Vickie testified on the topics of inconvenience, safety, and megaload traffic management, which she had experienced firsthand. During the Kooskia-east leg of the first ConocoPhillips' shipment, Vickie and her husband Walt Bailey had traveled out on the highway to experience what being on the road during a shipment would be like so that should more shipments follow over months and years, they would know what to expect. During her testimony, Vickie showed a video she had taken out the front windshield of their car the snowy night of that leg of the shipment. The video gave the Judge and others in the room an opportunity to understand the chaotic nature of the ITD-approved traffic management and the risks to safety and convenience caused by that chaotic management.

Today's contested case session will begin at 9 a.m. at the ITD building, and first to take the stand will be opponent's witness Janice Inghram of Grangeville.

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