“Business Group?”  You can bet this group is pure astroturf!

Stung by grassroots opposition in North Idaho and Montana to turning U.S. Highway 12 into an industrial highway to haul oversized oil equipment to Canada, a so-called business group has been formed. If you go to their web site, it seems to be associated with the Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce (who reportedly funneled millions of foreign money in the recent congressional campaign).  It would seem appropriate that they now do the bidding of international oil companies who don’t care one bit about the jobs and lives of the people in Idaho and Montana.

You can bet this group itself is no more than a P. O. Box, but from somewhere right now, and the near future, the resources will come to flood inboxes of newspapers, and the electronic media with propaganda of how the movement of all this giant machinery over many years is some great economic benefit to the natives who will watch it roll past, blocking their access to the highway.

Idaho business group backs plan to move oversized loads on U.S. Highway 12. By the Associated Press in missoulian.com

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

4 Responses to Idaho business group backs plan to move oversized loads on U.S. Highway 12

  1. avatar Daniel Berg says:

    I think with these astroturf groups, the money players that back them are relying on the average citizen not taking the time to research what’s really beneath the surface. The web these types of groups can create is amazing. Misleading statements, statistics put together with dubious parameters, smear campaigns, etc…….it’s infuriating to have to take the time to sort through all the trickery.

    I can’t imagine why the farm bureau got involved in this. What the hell does this statement have to do with anything relevant to moving massive refinery commitment down a pristine highway?

    “”Idaho farmers and businesses rely heavily on our roadways to move our products and to keep Idahoans employed,” said Pat Richardson, Clearwater County president of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation.

    99.9999% of all transportation relating to business and agriculture will never be affected by a ruling that involves massive refinery equipment, thus negating the need for such a statement.

  2. Daniel Berg,

    I think the supporters of making this an industrial highway that will involve many traffic blockages are trying to rely on those elements of traditional anti-environmentalism in North Idaho

    If you read the comments in favor of the oil companies in the comments of newspapers, almost all of it is both vague and very hostile, such as, “damn, hippie, tree-huggers stopping jobs again” Just a few try to go further to say something like “it will all be at night, so we won’t even notice it.”

    • avatar Daniel Berg says:

      If you want to talk about decent paying jobs, where is is all the anger about the fact that this equipment was made in Asia? I’ve only seen a few comments about that since this issue came up. Instead of much needed manufacturing work, we get stuck with some temp jobs for refinery equipment mules. I wish people were angry enough to slap down a company like Conoco Phillips that was arrogant enough to think that they were going to be able to hijack the highway system on the sly to move massive equipment they had produced in an asian country. There is absolutely no garauntee that 12 won’t sustain serious damage, either to the roadway or the surrounding environment. Not all roads are created equal, and the ESAL law is based on averages. Are we so desperate for a few temp jobs that we are willing to put one of our most scenic highway systems at stake to contribute to Korea’s GDP?

      On top of it, another oil company working in Alberta wants to do the same thing on a much bigger scale!

  3. avatar Elk275 says:

    Here is an interesting article that I read in the Billings Gazette this morning. On there web site it is difficult to find.

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_7629047f-0a5c-51b4-9a96-fc7cec5dd07e.html

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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