Friday, October 25, 2013

RCCI Withdrawals Mega-Load Appeal

 On Thursday, October 24th Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) withdrew both its emergency motion for a stay pending appeal and its full appeal on behalf of General Electric!
Judge Winmill's ruling that the Forest Service must issue a Closure Order to all Omega Morgan mega-load shipments until the agency has conducted a review of impacts to the area and consulted with the Nez Perce Tribe now stands unchallenged!
Two years ago, ExxonMobil's attempt to transport mega-loads on Highway 12 failed in the face of fierce opposition, and now GE has folded.

The message is clear – US Highway 12 is not open to mega-loads.
  A huge thank you Idaho Rivers United, the Nez Perce Tribe and Advocates for the West; as well as to all the many brave citizens who live, work and recreate along the Clearwater-Lochsa and let their voices be heard!
Here's another opportunity to speak out in favor of protecting the beautiful Wild and Scenic Lochsa River.  
In 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act into law, he said:

"In the past 50 years, we have learned -- all too slowly, I think -- to prize and protect ... precious gifts.
  Because we have, our own children and grandchildren will come to know and come to love the great forests and the wild rivers that we have protected and left to them. ... An unspoiled river is a very rare thing in this Nation today. Their flow and vitality have been harnessed by dams and too often they have been turned into open sewers by communities and by industries. It makes us all very fearful that all rivers will go this way unless somebody acts now to try to balance our river development."
Tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect the Wild and Scenic Lochsa-Clearwater from industrialization by multinational tar sands corporations!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Motions for Reconsideration Denied

Judge Winmill has denied GE subsidiary RCCI & USFS motions for reconsideration.

This means that the order for the USFS closure of U.S. to Omega Morgan megaloads HOLDS.  Judge Winmill's ruling is a win for the Nez Perce Tribe & Idaho Rivers United as well as the rest of us. 

Read the story, Judge again says no to megaloads on Highway 12, in the Missoulian

Thanks and congratulations to the Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Rivers United and legal team at Advocates for the West.  Thanks also to Friends of the Clearwater, side-by-side steadfast anti-megaload fighters for the past 4 years, as well as all of you who have done what you can to protect the Wild and Scenic Lochsa and Clearwater Rivers.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Win for Wild and Scenic Highway 12 in Court

Judge Winmill has granted the Nez Perce Tribe & Idaho Rivers United's requested preliminary injunction and ordered the Forest Service to issue a close of Highway 12 to Omega Morgan's megaloads until the corridor study and tribal consultation are complete.  Read the decision here.
Beautiful Lochsa Corridor
Photo by Roger Inghram

A message from Advocates for the West about the ruling:

Chief US District Judge Winmill rejected the Forest Service's claim that they had authority "to review but not enforce" scenic values protected in the Clearwater/Lochsa Wild and Scenic corridor. As we argued, the court agreed that the Forest Service's position was " erroneous reading of the Court's [February 2013] decision."

The decision goes on to say that by allowing an initial General Electric mega-load to pass through Hwy 12 on the week of August 5th, the Forest Service ignored its own rules on oversized loads within the Wild and Scenic River corridor and willingly chose to abdicate their statutory responsibilities.

And, in response to the Nez Perce Tribe's involvement in the case, Judge Winmill's decision states: "The Court also finds that they [Nez Perce Tribe] are likely to suffer irreparable harm if no injunction is issued. The plaintiffs are not seeking damages; they are seeking to preserve their Treaty rights along with cultural and intrinsic values that have no price tag."

The decision also addresses defendant Resources Conservation Company International's (RCCI) claim that their company stands to lose over $5 million if they are not allowed passage through Hwy 12. The Court places the blame of that loss squarely on the defendant, stating: "RCCI proceed before the Forest Service could complete its corridor study and consultation with the Tribe. In other words, RCCI knowingly put its loads into a position where the company would incur $5 million in losses if it must wait for the Forest Service review."

The court injunction will not affect normal traffic on Hwy 12 at all; it only closes the route to mega-loads. This is a truly incredible victory for all of us. The Court's decision sends a clear message that we will not be bullied by corporate Goliaths such as GE, Omega Morgan, and ExxonMobil.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Permission for Megaloads Ignored Nez Perce Treaty Rights

Read more here:
". . .This road along the Nez Perce trail is incomparable in its beauty, as well as its cultural value to the Nez Perce people. Its historical and cultural importance to the U.S. public is extraordinary. People who travel this route can feel its immense intrinsic value; the state of Idaho touts the unique nature and appeal of this corridor for tourism and recreation.
However, some Canadian and outside interests look at this route and see dollar signs in transport savings — for them. We are told of the wonderful opportunities of commerce this will bring.
The Nez Perce Tribe knows better. We have heard similar promises before. The travel of more than 1,000 of these megaloads, as is rumored, through one of the most pristine and spectacular areas in America is not genuine commerce. It is your Wall Street neighbor driving across your lawn, so that he can get to work five minutes faster and make a little more money — for him.*
The tribe has made its position on this issue known to the United States and the state of Idaho. The tribe has been ignored by the outside interests who will reap profits at the expense of the region’s resources. This exclusion led to frustration that spilled over into acts of civil disobedience so the tribal voice was heard. The tribe refuses to be excluded any longer. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday in U.S. District Court, Boise. ..."
Read the full article written by Silas C. Whitman, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee, in the Idaho Statesman.

If you'll be in Boise on Monday, September 9th please consider attending the Nez Perce Tribe Rally 
on the west steps of the State Capitol at 1pm 
as well as the megaload injunction hearing at 4:30 p.m.
at the Federal Courthouse, 550 W. Fort Street, Boise

*Emphasis on this statement added for the purpose of this blog and is not printed this way in the Idaho Statesman.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sign the Stop the Megaloads Petition

Stop the Megaloads Petition
Created by Ciarra Green.  

Here's what she has to say:  The megaloads are manufactured outside the US, are shipped to the Inland Northwest, and then transported via highways through Idaho and Montana to the Alberta Tar Sands. The Alberta Tar Sands have destroyed the resources of the First Nations people of Canada. We cannot support or allow this injustice to continue.
Our land in the US is worth protecting! Here are the top 20 reasons US Hwy 12 is worth protecting:

1. Runs through the Nez Perces' ancient homeland.
2.The Nez Perce National Historic Park is located here, including the headquarters and museum
3. Nationally designated the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway.
4. Nationally designated 1 of the nation's 27 All-American Roads.
5. Crosses and parallels for 80+ miles the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
6. Crosses and parallels for 80+ miles the Nez Perce National Historic Trail.
7. Runs for 70+ miles beside 2 nationally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Middle Fork of the Clearwater and the Lochsa, and provides access to a 3rd, the Selway River.
8. Travels beside and provides access to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, one of the nation's most cherished wilderness areas.
9. National & International - renown of the Lochsa River for its world-class spring whitewater run.
10. Named by Motorcycle Magazine as the #1 recreational motorcycle route in the nation (many curves, much beauty).
11. Comprises a segment of the nationally recognized TransAmerica Bicycle Route.
12. Bisects the old growth Bernard Devoto Cedar Grove.
13. Crosses the Pacific Coast Disjunct Area, which includes rare plants for Idaho environs.
14. Lies within yards of USFS campgrounds, dispersed campsites, USFS and Nat'l Park Service interpretive sites, beaches and picnic sites.
15. Provides access to suspension bridges and dozens of trails used by hunters, fishers and wilderness trekkers and horseback riders, including access to the Idaho Bicentennial Trail and the Lochsa River Historical Trail.
16. Provides access to the Lochsa Historical Ranger Station, the McBeth House, historical churches, Big Eddy Marina at Dworshak Reservoir, and Spalding Park.
17. Runs alongside streams providing habitat of vital importance to salmon, steelhead, eel, bass and trout fisheries.
18. Runs through the wild habitats of a myriad of birds and other wildlife.
19. Runs for miles as a narrow, winding, shoulderless roadway within feet of rivers that provide domestic water supplies for 3 towns: Kamiah, Orofino and Lewiston.
20. Provides both an access route and a destination for travelers/tourists and recreationists who spend millions of dollars annually at over 150 small businesses, Lewiston to Lolo Pass, as part of the single growing industry of the corridor communities which comprise an economically depressed region of Idaho.

Please sign the petition to Rick Brazell, US Forest Service, Skip Brandt, Idaho County Commissioners Office, Doug Havens, Nez Perce County Commissioners Office, Greg Johnson, Lewis County Commissioners Office, Don Ebert, Clearwater County Commissioners Office, The Idaho State House, The Idaho State Senate, Governor Butch Otter, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

"I urge the US Forest Service to enforce its jurisdiction over megaload shipments across the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. The scientific process should be adhered to before the authorization of transport is allowed; This would include a complete assessment of the possible impacts from megaload transportation through the pristine scenic corridor, including tribal lands, recreation areas, historical sites, and other indispensable lands. The environmental and public welfare injustices will have long lasting effects that cannot be repaired through financial settlements."

Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name:
Stop the Megaloads Petition

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mega-Letters to the Editor

Balance Needed in Megaload Debate, by Syringa resident Owen Fiore

Idaho County Commissioner...Jim Chmelik claims not to understand the Nez Perce Tribe's opposition to the "Megaloads"... His emphasis on the alledged economic advantages of this "over-the-top" level of commerce fails to take into account our Idaho environment, applicable federal law and the clear opposition of many Idahoans to destruction of the Highway 12 Wild & Scenic corridor.

Mr. Chmelik should look to his duty to represent fairly all his constituents...rather than...capitulating to the unreasonable demands of commercial Big Oil interests and their transport companies.  In addition, Commissioner Chmelik claims that the State's road easement is absolute; but this is far from the truth.  The easement always has been, and remains, subject to Federal laws for protection of the environment, including the Wild & Scenic Corridor Act.  Therefore, Idaho Rivers United and the Nez Perce Tribe are seeking an injunction to force the U.S. Forest Service to fully exercise its already determined jurisdiction to review and to regulate commerce over Highway 12.

None of the opponents of the Megaloads threat to Highway 12 opposes the ordinary and reasonable highway commerce that travels this road every day without concern or opposition.  But...Highway 12 was never intended to be used for the "high, wide, heavy and intrusive" travel represented by the Megaloads... It would be helpful if our politicians would do more than merely support the Megaloads, especially since the economic benefits to Idaho County must be offset by consideration of the loss of tourism, damage to the environment we love and enjoy, and undue interference with the relative peace and quiet which brought us here.

Making closed-door deals, by Peck resident Win Green
All the buzz and controversy about megaloads has captured the attention of many...  Big business claims it will lose millions of dollars if it cannot use U.S.Highway 12.  Well,...when any private company makes business decisions that smack of closed-door agreements with state politicians, leaving most citizens out, they do so at their own peril. The citizens of north central Idaho owe absolutely nothing to these guys.  Under the ruse of creating jobs and economic growth, they pretend to be helping us.  It appears they have even hoodwinked many of our local politicians...  short-sighted people would destroy what many enjoy here.

Standing up to megaloads, by Kamiah resident Ken Jones

... I would like to praise the Nez Perce Tribal Council, the Friends of the Clearwater, and all tribal members who stood up to the megaloads.  Also those individuals that wrote letters opposing the megaloads...  When I read letters supporting the megaloads, it makes me sick...  Many of them only see money as the solution to everything, including destroying the beauty of scenic drives and the environmental sensitivity of the area....  I hope the Nez Perce Tribe will continue its efforts to stop the megaloads and prove we have say and rights on our reservation...  It's obvious the...Tribe has plenty of support.

Pity General Electric, by Orofino resident Jill Lynch

...poor, poor General Electric...  That megacoporation will lose a few million bucks if it can't push its megaloads through the U.S. Highway 12 corridor against the court ruling...  What a cruel, unfair and so unpredictable limit to face on the way to jamming its megapower up our noses or other unmentionable parts.  It should have planned another route until it knew the new rules...  threatening that our "lights will be turned off" sounds like a kid who isn't allowed to eat all the candy before dinner.  Meals, gasoline (mostly profit for oil companies) and temporary jobs for police won't make or break the local economy.  I've seen no local permanent jobs in the projections...  Commercial use does not mean commercial abuse...

We protest, by Moscow resident Sam Finch

Protesting the status quo is progress.  Anti-progress is letting foreighn state corporations, Gov...Otter and international oil interests violate federal law to use our country's wild and scenic rivers as a doormat... The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was designed to protect the shrinking number of free-flowing rivers in our country...  We do not protest megaloads because we want to close Highway 12 to every car and end commerce...  We protest to protect wild and scenic rivers for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations...  We protest our country's excessive use of fossil fuels...  We protest to uphold the Nez Perce Tribe's rights...

Megaloads: Force companies to be honest about their intentions, by Tucson, Arizona, resident Lori Scott
While visiting relatives in Missoula, I noticed that the megaload of a supposedly water purification unit was passing through. I decided to...take a photo...  When we tried to get closer to show the scale of the load next to a human being, a security person appeared, and shouted, “Don’t step off the pavement! That’s raw sewage there!“
As I looked around for signs of this...I could only conclude that raw sewage is also being trucked through Montana on these beautiful but narrow roads, or the oil companies are once again manipulating the truth about their activities.  I hope that the media and a small but vocal group of protesters can at least force them to be honest about their intentions and to treat inquiring citizens as just that, people who want to protect the land they love.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

General Electric Files to Intervene in Federal Megaloads Court Case


Press Release - GE petitions to intervene in megaloads case.pdf
BOISE — General Electric, the fourth largest corporation in the world, has petitioned to intervene in a federal lawsuit filed by Idaho Rivers United and the Nez Perce Tribe. The suit seeks to protect the Lochsa-Clearwater Wild and Scenic River corridor from transport of enormous industrial megaloads bound for the tar sands of northern Alberta.

“GE’s intervention shows how desperately the oil industry and their contractors want to convert one of America’s first Wild and Scenic River corridors into an industrial highway,” said IRU Conservation Director Kevin Lewis. “We need to have this discussion. They need to know the Lochsa-Clearwater is a national treasure, not an industrial corridor.”

Citing “significant financial impact” and the potential to suffer “millions of dollars in lost revenue,” General Electric’s attorneys filed in federal court Monday, Aug. 26. The court scheduled a hearing for Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. at the federal courthouse in Boise.

Though GE is citing potential financial losses, the company has known its shipments would meet resistance since at least last April, long before it barged megaloads up the lower Snake River and equipped them for transport through the Wild and Scenic corridor. In an April 4 letter, IRU’s attorney, Laird Lucas, relayed to industrial shipper Omega Morgan that use of Highway 12 violated multiple legal authorities and would be strongly opposed.

“Resistance to mega-load shipments on Idaho’s Highway 12 remains strong, both among local citizens and among the many organizations committed to protecting the route,” Lucas wrote. “The strength of this opposition can increase both the time necessary to transport equipment on Highway 12 and the cost of this transport.”

Still, Omega Morgan moved two GE-owned loads up the lower Snake River and trucked one through the Nez Perce Tribe’s reservation and the Wild and Scenic corridor, where the company met significant tribal and citizen resistance.

“They set themselves up for this,” Lewis said. “They created this conflict. This is a place that’s not for sale. It doesn’t have a price.”

Filed Aug. 8 during the shipment of GE’s first load, the IRU and Nez Perce Tribe lawsuit seeks an injunction to protect one of the first Wild and Scenic River segments in the nation. It charges that the U.S. Forest Service’s failure to stop the megaload from entering the Wild and Scenic corridor was “arbitrary, capricious, (and) an abuse of discretion.” The injunction would prevent megaloads while the Forest Service implements regulations to protect the corridor.

“It’s obvious the Forest Service ought to be joining us and not GE,” Lewis said.

Since the fall of 2008, the oil industry and a specialized group of shipping companies have been working to convert U.S. Highway 12 into an industrial high-and-wide corridor that prioritizes the transport of megaloads over other uses of the highway. And they’ve been doing so in flagrant violation of all applicable legal authorities.

“To be clear, IRU is not anti-corporate. Some of our best supporters are large and responsible corporations like AIRE and Patagonia,” Lewis said. “But this is a clear example of the world’s largest companies exploiting local highways, a federally protected river corridor, a tribal homeland and local residents to further their corporate profits. And they’re doing it at the expense of a spiritual, scenic and recreational national treasure.”

Omega Morgan has agreed not to attempt moving another megaload, already being stored at the Port of Wilma near Lewiston, until Sept. 18.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


ITD states that in order to receive a permit "Over-legal loads are limited to 15-minute traffic delays."  Anyone who's had the misfortune of being stuck behind or in front of one of these megaloads as they block the highway in both directions knows the wait in many places is much longer than 15 minutes.  Now, a revealing video, taken from a steep hillside above U.S.12's Fish Creek Bridge during early August's Omega Morgan megaload transport, provides proof of ITD's -- and Omega Morgan's -- lie.
The embedded video, "Megaload Through Clearwater Country" documents 29 minutes of a 1-hour-25-minute traffic blockage caused by Omega Morgan, clocked by a citizen timer, witnessed by approximately 75 on-site protesters.
Video footage by Roger and Janice Inghram 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Megaload Creates Delay and Protest in the Wild and Scenic Corridor

Thursday night, as the enroute Omega Morgan megaload crawled up Hwy.12 alongside the Wild and Scenic Middlefork Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers, approx. 75 people protested for over an hour at Fish Creek, Hwy.12 Milepost 120.  
At Fish Creek, as per its ITD-approved transport plan, Omega Morgan was required to cross Fish Creek Bridge by unhitching the transport's trucks and using a pull-cable.  By unhitching the trucks, the 644,000 lb. transport was reduced in weight to a point that ITD had determined would not likely damage or break the bridge.  The Fish Creek bridge is listed as a 'bridge of concern.'  
All traffic was blocked for 1 hour 20 minutes during the staging and crossing, while the actual crossing took 43 minutes.  All was observed by the protesters, including 4 NPTEC members and Idaho Rivers United Director Bill Sedivy, and recorded by a Fighting Goliath video camera.

In part because of its overnighting at Syringa, the transport was in the Lochsa-Clearwater Wild & Scenic corridor for 30 hours.  It's actual travel time was 13 hours.  You will recall that 1 of the 3 criteria that would trigger USFS review of megaload permits is that a transport not "require more than 12 hours to traverse US Highway 12 between MP 74 and 174."  However, ITD issued Omega Morgan a permit for the load regardless of the USFS criteria, and Omega Morgan pushed its way into the corridor with complete disregard for the criteria and Federal law.

Early Friday morning, as the transport navigated up the mountainside miles to Lolo Pass, it blocked all traffic, including several commercial trucks and a total of 20+ vehicles, for 40 minutes before crossing into Montana at 7:52 a.m
Idaho Rivers United & the Nez Perce Tribe File New Lawsuit Against the U.S. Forest Service
The lawsuit charges that the U.S. Forest Service’s failure to stop a megaload from entering the river corridor was “arbitrary, capricious, (and) an abuse of discretion.”  Read the full press release

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Nez Perce Tribe Protests Illegal Megaload Shipments

Night 1: 
Approximately 150+ blockaders participated on the first night of the Omega Morgan transport.  The megaload transport had launched about 45 minutes late, at 10:45.  As it approached the reservation boundary at about 12:40, the blockaders walked out onto the pavement to block the highway.  The blockaders held back the megaload convoy for almost 2 hours.  The megaload, whose target for the night was Hwy.12 Milepost 38.8, only managed to travel 3 more miles west of the blockade.  It's total miles, 11 miles, was 27.8 miles short of its target.

Every member of the Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee and several other people were arrested.  Others were forcefully removed by police from the blockade and taken to the sidelines.  Some were threatened with mace.

Night 2:
More than 100 Nez Perces and others had created a 2 1/2-hour human road block that, for a second night, halted the Omega Morgan megaload.  As the megaload eventually became able to inch forward, the blockaders became a moving roadblock tightly bottlenecking the transport, moving with it, and preventing it from gaining even modest speed.  The number of police officers at the scene was estimated to be double that of last night, perhaps as many as 40, and about a half dozen people were arrested.

The Nez Perces staged tonight's blockade at Hwy.12 Milepost 11, below the legendary Ant & Yellowjacket rock archway perched above the highway about 2 miles upriver from the transport's launch point. The site is 1 of 38 Nez Perce National Historical Park sites strung along a 4-state route.  One concern of the Nez Perces and other anti-megaload activists has been the effect of ground vibrations created by transports as immensely heavy as the Omega Morgan megaload.  Complete with load, trailer, trucks, etc., the transport weighs 644,000 pounds, and ground vibrations theoretically over time could loosen rock and cliff structures alongside and above Hwy.12.
Ant & Yellow Jacket
Night 3:
As the megaload left Mile 38.8 below Orofino, for the third night, the Nez Perces blockaded it.  More police officers preceded the megaload than the previous 2 nights, and they aggressively drove their vehicles towards the blockade in an attempt to force the blockaders into retreating.  When the Nez Perces held their ground, officers approached on foot, shouted "get off the road," and physically pushed some of the protesters toward the roadside.  Yet the Nez Perces remained in a group and gradually began to move backwards, intentionally slowly, as the police vehicles and megaload convoy were relegated to following at a snail's pace for a mile or two through the Riverside area of Orofino.
The Omega Morgan megaload reached Hwy. 12 Milepost 90, Syringa, last night, within the Clearwater National Forest and the Wild & Scenic Middlefork corridor.  They did that by breaking the stipulations of their permit & filed travel plan.  Instead of stopping regularly to let traffic pass, as required, they held all cars traveling east hostage behind 2 Idaho State Police vehicles, who led what was at one point 40+ personal vehicles and forced them to travel at 0-17 mph speeds for 51.2 miles.  In other words, corporate Canada 'owned' and controlled your highway last night, aided by state police.

According to their plan, Omega Morgan's target destination had been the Kooskia kiosk station.  However, apparently they felt they would be beyond more Nez Perce blockades if they could get farther up the highway.  They are parked in a large private lot owned by Terry & Becky Jackson.  Terry is the person who -- for pay -- lifts the tram cable that crosses the highway at Milepost 83 so megaloads can pass under it.

Idaho Officials Disregard Nez Perce Tribe and U.S Forest Service in Attempts to Please Multi-National Corporations

ITD’s recently issued permits to megaload transporter Omega Morgan come after the recent court ruling, requiring Forest Service oversight of megaload traffic.  The USFS District Manager, Rick Brazell warned the heavy-haul company that the agency does not authorize the shipment through the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests.

Brazell also accused the company of ignoring language in the state permit outlining Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration jurisdiction.

The Nez Perce Tribe also opposes this megaload shipment through their reservation and ancestral homelands.  

 “The tribe is shocked by Omega Morgan’s audacity," Nez Perce Tribal Chairman Silas Whitman said in a news release Monday. “The company has apparently decided it does not need to wait for Forest Service review or tribal consultation to move General Electric’s loads."  Read More

Idaho Rivers United Press Release 8-8-13
Release - Megaload enters Wild & Scenic corridor.pdf
BOISE — An unauthorized megaload traveling Highway 12 in north Idaho barreled through the Nez Perce Reservation last night and entered U.S. Forest Service land and the Wild and Scenic River corridor. It finally stopped at Syringa near Milepost 90, 16 miles into the Wild and Scenic River corridor.

“This is a sad day for Idaho. The Idaho Transportation Department, Omega Morgan and their Canadian clients have blatantly disregarded the wishes and regulations of the Forest Service and the wishes and requests of the Nez Perce Tribe,” said IRU Executive Director Bill Sedivy.

IRU Conservation Director Kevin Lewis said IRU is pursuing legal options.

“The Nez Perce Tribe has done an excellent job protesting this load’s shipment across the reservation, and now the load has entered public land and the Wild and Scenic River corridor,” he said. “This is a clear violation of the U.S. Forest Service’s order denying shipment across public land. We are consulting with our attorneys this morning and plan to proceed to protect the tribe’s homeland and our Wild and Scenic Rivers.”



Monday, February 18, 2013

Highway 12: A Timeline

After the recent victory for Highway 12's Wild and Scenic corridor in a Boise courtroom, we thought it would be a good time to present a timeline of Highway 12 from it's creation to the present:

1961-1962: U.S. Highway 12 was built and paved through Idaho and into Montana.

1968: With passage of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, eight of the nation's most pristine rivers were designated Wild & Scenic. Among them were three Idaho rivers: the Selway & Lochsa, which join to form the third, the Middlefork Clearwater. For about 90 miles, the latter two -- Lochsa and MF Clearwater -- flow immediately alongside Hwy.12, and at Milepost 97, the Selway flows in from the southeast.

1995: The USFS, which has jurisdiction over these three rivers and the wild corridors through which they run granted a highway management easement to the Idaho Department of Transportation. Many residents, fearful that ITD would ignore Wild & Scenic protection mandates, spoke against the easement. In 1997, some revisions were written into the easement. Five small stretches of the highway were inadvertently, or otherwise, left out and remain left out today.

2008-2010: "Improvements" were madeon Highway 12, including the widening and rock filling of some turnouts, projects partially paid for by Exxon Mobil/Imperial Oil.

2010, spring: ITD and Exxon/Imperial made public a proposal to ship 200+ tarsands modules on U.S.12. Following consultations with Idaho Rivers United and Friends of the Clearwater, The Rural People of Highway 12 Fighting Goliath was launched, and in Montana, NoShipmentsNetwork and All Against the Haul, among others, had entered the fray. Numerous organizations and hundreds of individuals joined the anti-megaload fight, and Advocates for the West lawyer Natalie Havlina and director Laird Lucas began documenting developments.   An Idaho District Court win involving ConocoPhillips' shipments, followed by a Supreme Court appeal, two unsuccessful contested cases (but that caused significant and costly time delays for the corporations), a court case win in Montana that stopped Exxon/Imperial in its tracks, protests, monitorings, comments and letters, and so much more. And then ...
2011, March: IRU filed its lawsuit against the USFS & FHWA.
2012, December: The Nez Perce Tribe filed a motion for amicus status in the case.
2013, Feb. 6th: Advocates for the West's Laird Lucas presented final arguments before U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, and Tribal lawyer Michael Lopez argued for amicus status.
2013, Feb. 7th: Judge Winmill ruled in IRU's favor. 
Now: With the IRU win secured, all of us must remain engaged in order to ensure that the USFS does step up to protect the Wild & Scenic Lochsa--Middlefork Clearwater corridor from the kind of industrialization megaload transports would bring.
 Recent Articles about case:

   The Mega-Myth About Mega-Loads If not industrial corridor's demise, something close

Judge Sides with Conservationists in Mega-Load Case