Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Imperial/Exxon's "contingency plan" = alternative routes

What a year ago Imperial/Exxon called "No Plan B" they now call "our contingency plan" -- that is, no fewer than 3 alternate megaload routes other than U.S. Highway 12.

In an August 8th press release, the giant corporation announced plans to use "additional routes" for Kearl tar sands project modules. The release notes,"The companies are reducing the size and weight of the shipments and will seek permits for an additional route that will use four-lane divided highways and not require road closures or highway upgrading....The reduction in module size and additional routes are being made necessary by lengthy permitting delays for the original modules size shipments via US 12 through Idaho and Montana....We will continue to pursue the permits for those full-sized modules through Idaho and Montana, which is more efficient and cost effective. However, we need to move forward with our contingency plan to maintain project schedules. For shipments from the Port of Lewiston, ID, in addition to the Highway 12 route, the companies are using an additional route north on US 95 in Idaho, then east along I-90 through Idaho and Montana, and north on I-15 to the Canadian border. Imperial began using this route in mid-July. We are also pursuing a plan to ship additional loads from the Port of Pasco, WA, by truck on US 395 in Washington and along I-90 through Washington, Idaho and Montana, then north on I-15 to the Canadian border."

This announcement brings us, we hope, closer to the day Exxon admits the truth -- Highway 12 is the wrong route for their megaloads and they need to find a better path if the want the Kearl project to be built in the foreseeable future. Opponents will steadfastly continue to resist Exxon's plans to transform the people's scenic rural highways, including a nationally designated Wild and Scenic River corridor, into an industrial megaload truck route.