From New West: Megaloads Court Battle Looks Like A Close Call

Report on last week’s hearing predicts the decision on the megaloads will be close-

Having won a hard fought battle to intervene on the decision whether to allow the first megaloads of oil equipment up Highway 12 and over Lolo Pass, the full hearing last week pitted local residents and the Boise based law firm, Advocates for the West against ConocoPhillips oil.

Steve Bunk has a lengthy article about the hearing in New West. Dec. 10

Here’s an interesting tidbit from the hearing: “It . . . was confirmed during questioning that the Conoco employees at the hearing were being paid by the company to attend in lieu of going to work. Moreover, Conoco had hired lobbyists in Washington, D.C., and for Idaho and Montana, and was placing newspaper advertisements about the loads to counteract the public outcry and interviews [intervenor’s  attorney Laird] Lucas had given.”


  1. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    Hearings like these get loaded with paid employees of the mega corporations.
    Many years ago I attended a round table meeting in Boise concerning increased logging in our National Forests. We were asked to come to a consensis on one of several proposals at each of the round tables situated around the convention center.
    I soon noticed that about half of the people at my table constantly sounded like parrots spouting the Boise Cascade supported position. During a break, I asked around and found that the same situation existed at every table. Boise Cascade had stacked the deck by sending large numbers of their employees to make sure the recomendations from each table favored them. At each table, one of their employees had “volunteered” to be chairman.
    I caused quite a stir when I asked that all participants be required to state the name of their employer.
    When my suggestion was acted on, it was found that over half of the participants worked for Boise Cascade. They had origianally introcuced themselves as “foresters” or some other outdoor title.
    The same situation existed when the Idaho Wolf Plan was formulated. The chairman of the committee was the lobbyist for the Idaho Woolgrowers.

    1. Salle Avatar

      “The same situation existed when the Idaho Wolf Plan was formulated. The chairman of the committee was the lobbyist for the Idaho Woolgrowers.”

      not only that, wolf advocates were not invited to that event while the IDF&G claimed that the wolf advocacy groups agreed to what was in their plan… which was an outright lie.

  2. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I have always wondered when I attend a wolf management meeting at the IDFG, how so many of the “starving” outfitters and guides manage to show up with their paid lobbyist to promote killing all of the wolves. The deck always seems to be stacked in their favor.
    I found that they do it with Taxpayer Money.
    They apply each year to the Idaho Department of Commerce for some of the grant money funded by a room tax paid by motel guests.
    This year (2010) the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association received a total of $46,600 in grants from the state of Idaho Department of Commerce. They apply in each of seven region of the state and get grants every year.

    1. Salle Avatar

      Indeed, these thieves are making their living from exploitation – taking – public property from public lands… and taxpayers money as well. Then they spend a good part of it on using it against the public in the form of professional whiners and liars.

    2. skyrim Avatar

      ….and not one dime of that revenue came from my pocket. I end up buying, on average, 1 tank of fuel in Rigby twice a year. I’m never hungry, thirsty or in need of rest in Idaho. An attitude shared by many in my circle……..

  3. Mike Koeppen Avatar

    This “stacking” of meetings reminds me of two Montana FWP Commission meetings I attended a few years ago regarding setting trapping quotas for wolverines, and reviewing general trapping regulations.

    The Montana Trapper’s Association had the room packed with their members. It was standing room only. They even had some of their kids get up and read statements to the commission. The trappers knew what they wanted and were very aggressive about it.

    It was quite intimidating to those speaking for the other side. They were painted as “animal worshippers” etc. Needless to say, continuing the trapping of wolverines was approved by the commission, and regulations were left unchanged.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      And this is a “lifestyle” that needs to continue because it brings in, if I recall correctly, less than $100,000 yearly in fees to Montana FWP? While wiping out hundreds of thousands of animals so someone can wear their fur or hang their pelt on a wall?

      1. Salle Avatar

        That’s pretty much it.

  4. DB Avatar

    Not sure why CP wasted money busing their folks in from Billings and outfitted them in team t-shirts although the money spent was no doubt nothing to them. No testimony was taken by anyone but the ITD flunkie, the CP honcho in Billings and two trucking company managers. Attorney Lucas for the intervenors only called on Linwood Laughy. At the first hearing in front of Meryln Clark, Laughy wasn’t even present. And Clark ruled for Laughy! Of course maybe it was the presence of a few of us scrubby, radical, sixty-somethings in the audience that made the difference.


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