Big Oil wants a permanent corridor through the Lolo

More on the attempt to make U.S. Highway 12 an oil industry corridor-

This from the new group, the Rural People of Highway 12.
U.S. Highway 12: Idaho’s Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road

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Big Oil: One-Time Deal or Permanent Takeover?

Promoters of turning Idaho’s Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road into an industrial truck route for gargantuan loads argue that currently planned and pending ConocoPhillips and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Canada mega-load shipments are a “one-off deal;” a one time event. Actually, the ExxonMobil Canada shipments alone number 207, and for successive 15+ minute segments, will close the highway to all traffic five nights a week for an estimated 9 months. But the truth about the oil companies’ intentions lies well beyond those 207 loads……

• The Port of Lewiston, both on their website and in grant applications for port expansion with taxpayer money, states, “If one oil company is successful with this alternative transportation route, many other companies will follow their lead.”

• The CEO of Sungjin Geotec, the Korean company that manufactured the 207 ExxonMobil Canada modules, told a Korean news agency his company expects to receive future orders for additional modules from Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Canada totaling $1.5 billion. The 207 loads now scheduled for U. S. 12 cost $250 million, suggesting that $1.5 billion would pay for about 1200 modules. The Edmonton Journal of Alberta, Canada, recently reported that a Sungjin representative in Calgary confirmed that his company expects to build hundreds of additional modules.

• Bemoaning the loss of metal fabrication jobs for Canadian workers to Korean workers, an Alberta, Canada, industrial association recently stated, “This route (from Lewiston, Idaho to Canada) will become the highway for energy-related products from not only South Korea, but even-lower-wage suppliers such as China and Vietnam.”

• A printout from a Montana Department of Transportation 2009 public slide show presentation states that ExxonMobil proposes to create “permanent High and Wide Corridors,” i.e. permanent industrial mega-load truck routes. That, of course, would include Idaho’s U.S. 12, since it spans the distance between the Port of Lewiston and the Montana border.

• A member of the Alberta, Canada, Legislature recently told a Great Falls Tribune reporter, “A company like Imperial is not spending $40 million .… [to develop a high-wide corridor] for one project and one project only.”

• A Missoula attorney and former Montana Department of Transportation lawyer stated to that same Great Falls reporter, “…MDT in past statements have acknowledged that this is going to be a permanent corridor in order to facilitate a transportation route for these modules being built in Asia.”

• In a February 2009 letter to the Port of Lewiston, the Idaho congressional delegation stated their understanding that should initial ExxonMobil Canada shipments prove successful, “there exists the potential to import hundreds of component modules through the Columbia/Snake River System and Port of Lewiston.”

• Without ever having sought input from the taxpaying public, in a January 2009 letter to the Port of Lewiston in specific support of the ExxonMobil shipments, Governor Butch Otter wrote, “I pledge our [Idaho’s] support and cooperation to enhance the development of this important new business opportunity.”

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Can there any longer be any doubt that Big Oil plans — if the State of Idaho allows them — to permanently turn the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road — U.S.12 — into a mega-load industrial truck route? No.

In doing so, some of the largest international corporations in the world expect the citizens of Idaho to assume all the risks involved in these shipments. They expect us — the rural people of Highway 12, Lewiston to Lolo Pass, and nearby communities, such as Clarkston, Washington, and Grangeville and Moscow, Idaho — to suffer a predictable loss to our travel/tourism-based livelihoods, our safety, our recreational opportunities, our property values and our way of life—while they gain the profits.

Anyone who believes that ExxonMobil or ConocoPhillips or other giant international corporations care for the well-being of Idahoans should talk to the fishermen families and tourism/recreation business owners of the Louisiana Gulf Coast or Valdez, Alaska. We, the rural people of Highway 12, will be Big Oil’s next victims…

… unless we stand up and voice our opposition to Big Oil’s takeover of the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and 1 of our nation’s 27 All-American Roads.

The Rural People of Highway 12






  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Now is the time to stop these bastards who destroy entire regions of the planet.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      This is exactly like El Paso Pipeline wanting to put the Ruby Pipeline through big blocks of wild public land in Nevada and Utah. It needs to be fought.

      There will be new roads and road improvements through the last best sage grouse and pygmy rabbit habitat in Nevada. Ruby has even removed cultural items from the landscape to clear the way for the pipeline long before they got approval to do so. They took the stuff to a motel room and wouldn’t let anyone see it.

      The Ruby Pipeline will be even more of a disaster than improving an already paved highway in my estimation. It will open up a very very fragile ecosystem to disturbance, weeds, and fire that will have to be continually “managed”.

    2. Ken Cole Avatar

      AND, their mitigation is a joke. They want more fencing and livestock water developments.

    3. kt Avatar

      and ow is the time to stop the Bastards from El Paso Ruby Pipeline Company from ripping apart a much more intact area far away from ANY roads – in Northwest Nevada. Why is the Lolo so important, and the northern Black Rock a sacrifice zone? The Ruby Pipeline, for goodness sake, involves 600 MILES of drastically upgraded road, and some would give it a Pass?

  2. kt Avatar

    Correcting Typos (hit Send too soon):

    And now is the time to stop the Bastards from El Paso Ruby Pipeline Company from ripping apart a much more intact area far away from ANY roads – in Northwest Nevada. Why is the Lolo so important, and the northern Black Rock a sacrifice zone? The Ruby Pipeline, for goodness sake, involves 600 MILES of drastically upgraded roads, and a Pipeline path plowing through comp0letely unroaded Wilderness-quality lands, and some would give it a Pass?

    Are trees worth more than sagebrush?

    1. DB Avatar

      Ralph’s posted a number of stories on this recently. And last year one on how the “Alberta oil sands development is greatest single source of pollutiion in the world” inwhich this transportation corridor will be an enabler. There’s only been a single story (January ’10) on the Ruby Pipeline. If we are to oppose the pipeline we must know more about it. The people on the Middle Fork Clearwater have gotten the word out.

    2. kt Avatar

      DB: I agree completely! I can’t understand why there hasn’t been more written about the terrible Ruby terrible project. It is beyond bizarre that there would virtual silence about the biggest and most destructive Gas Pipeline project – perhaps EVER built – in the sagebrush biome. It certainly fully exposes the hypocrisy of Salazar claims of protecting sage-grouse habitats, as the ruby Pipeline plows on top of 50 sage-grouse leks, and the Gas company while touting the project as “green” and carbon neutral, has refused to follow existing energy Corridors down near I-80.

  3. JimT Avatar

    And they thought wolves were the worst thing that could happen to the Lolo….Big Oil is only good for one thing…making money for shareholders. The sooner we get the hell off of the fossil fuel teat, the better off the planet will be, and humans as well. Won’t be painless..but needs to be done and sooner the better.

  4. kt Avatar

    Here is the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club on Ruby:


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan