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