Friday, April 29, 2011

Janice Inghram testifies at hearing

Megaload opponent Janice Inghram was the first witness to testify at ITD's Imperial/Exxon contested case hearing this morning. Janice spoke of the continual use she and her husband Roger Inghram make of U.S.Highway 12 for business and volunteer work, as well as for social and recreational purposes. She noted that once on the highway above Kooskia, she, Roger and anyone else on or alongside the highway has only one route to anywhere for any reason -- including emergencies -- and that route is U.S.12. If it is blocked by a megaload, she and everyone else traveling above Kooskia will be blocked from traveling west. She also noted that when she and Roger travel on the highway, as they frequently do, between Kooskia and the Selway River Road at Lowell, the ITD traffic counters, which are above Lowell and below Kamiah, do not count their vehicle. No vehicle that travels between those 2 counters is counted as part of the highway's traffic numbers. Janice noted that she travels that section of the highway 18-20 times per month most months of the year.

Following Janice's testimony, opponents' lawyer Natalie Havlina of Advocates for the West called 2 ISP officers to the stand. Among other topics, they testified about the number of officers available to serve as "overtime" escorts to the megaloads. They stated that there are 17 officer positions in the district, but 2 positions are vacant and 1 officer is in Iraq, leaving 14 available officers. They also noted that of the 14, some officers choose to not serve as escorts for megaloads, which further narrows the number of available officers. Of the 14, the number of ISP officers accompanying Imperial/Exxon's so-called "test validation" shipment is 4. Although ITD staff had testified yesterday that up to 3 of IO/EX's shipments could be on U.S.12 all at the same time, the ISP officers understood -- evidently erroneously -- that only 1 shipment could be on the highway at a time. The officers said that if 3 shipments are on the highway at the same time, ISP would not have enough officers to serve as escorts.

At 11:30 a.m. the hearing was adjourned until 9 a.m. Monday, when opponent Linwood Laughy will take the stand.

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