Friday, October 7, 2011

Latest Highway 12 Megaload News

Montana judge okays modifications to megaload injunction but denies dissolving the injunction...
Yesterday afternoon, in the Missoula County vs MDT case, Montana Judge Ray Dayton issued a "Memorandum and Order Granting Imperial Oil's Application to Modify Preliminary Injunction and Denying its Application to Dissolve Preliminary Injunction."
The "modification" allows MDT to review and process 32-J permit applications from Imperial/Exxon to transport modified KMTP loads over Highways 12 and 93 in order to access the interstate system. The "modified KMTP loads" are those that have been reduced in size, such as those currently sitting at the Port of Lewiston.
You may recall that the Missoula County vs MDT case has to do with the environmental reviews related to Imperial/Exxon's construction of turnouts. In his memorandum, the judge notes, "no new turnouts would be constructed or are necessary."
With Idaho poised to issue Hwy. 12 permits, the above is obviously bad news.

Megaload info pages... and "subscriptions"... ITD abandons its responsibility...
Apparently ITD has decided that informing the public about road-blocking megaload transport schedules on Highways 12 or 95 is outside ITD's role. According to the following 10/5/11 press release, ITD has asked Nickel Bros/Weyerhaeuser and Imperial/Exxon to inform the public, and the public has to "subscribe" in order to receive updates.
Contact: Adam Rush, ITD Public Involvement Coordinator
BOISE – Travel schedules for over legal shipments on U.S. 12, U.S. 95 and Interstate 90 are now available online for ExxonMobil/Mammoet and Weyerhaeuser/Nickel Bros shipments.... The webpages will be updated 24 hours in advance of a shipment by Exxon or Weyerhaeuser....
In the past, such issuance of corporate updates has been erratic at best, seldom timely. The "Privacy Policy" at the Nickel site simply says they won't share your email address, but the Imperial/Exxon site's "Privacy Statement" speaks of their gathering info from your computer, using your personal information to, among other things, "market products and services," and "storing some information on your computer." Typical perhaps, but...

The main point is that ITD, which has often been unsure of when megaload shipments will occur, appears to have entirely abandoned its role in informing its public.

Economy; Lolo Hot Springs feels the heat, by Matthew Frank, Missoula Independent, 10/6/11
The recession has been relatively kind to Montana's tourism industry, though Brent Olson might say otherwise. On Sept. 19, Olson, the owner of Lolo Hot Springs, a year-round resort on Highway 12 between Lolo and the Montana-Idaho border, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"Our business has dropped off probably about a third of what it used to be," says Olson, a Las Vegas-based real estate investor. ... he doesn't think Imperial Oil's gigantic test module, which has been parked in front of the nearby Lodge at Lolo Hot Springs for about six months, has helped any. The lodge has been compensated for the inconvenience; the resort hasn't.... Read more:

Two megaload protesters released on bond after Thursday-night arrest, Lewiston Tribune, 10/7/11
MOSCOW - Two megaload protesters face maximum penalties of one year in jail and $1,000 fines after being arrested and jailed Thursday night on one misdemeanor charge each of obstructing and resisting an officer.
Zachary E. Johnson, 33, and Aaron T. Malgren, 22, both of Moscow, posted $500 bonds early Friday morning and were released from the Latah County Jail...
Both men, according to citations, allegedly rode bicycles on the roadway as three megaloads destined for oil fields in Canada rolled through town. Read more:

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