Hearing officer says "yes" to first 4 oil megaloads

The next 200 or so loads are still on the table-

Boise attorney Merlyn Clark, hearing officer on the oil megaloads that will use U.S. Highway 12 across north central Idaho into Montana has ruled that the first 4 megaloads could be transported safely with “minimum inconvenience” up narrow U.S. Highway 12 to the Montana border (Lolo Pass).

These giant loads have been sitting at Idaho’s sea port of Lewiston for a month now. There is still some paperwork before their transport can begin, but little doubt we will see what actually happens as they take them up along the Clearwater and Lochsa River to the Bitterroot Divide and down into Montana.  The first 4 loads are for the Billings, MT oil refinery, not the Alberta tar sand pits.

The usual groups, such as the Idaho Farm Bureau (how is this a farm issue?), have been promoting the idea that moving this equipment along Highway 12 at night will be some kind of boom for business, although no explanation how that will happen.

There will be a big difference between the transport of 4 megaloads versus the next 200 (which are not included in this hearing officer’s decision).

Idaho agency advised to issue megaload permits. By John Miller. The Associated Press (in Bloomberg).





  1. Salle Avatar

    Well, that’s the Idaho side of the argument for now. I think that in Montana there is an order for an EA before they can roll over the state line. I have to look for a source, I heard it on the radio…

    1. Salle Avatar

      Turnouts for oilfield megaloads yet to be built in Montana


      Lynch explained the steps his department went through, under the auspices of the Montana Environmental Policy Act, to process Imperial/Exxon’s permit applications. An environmental impact statement, as many people including Missoula County commissioners formally requested, wasn’t initially required because a MEPA checklist didn’t point that direction.

      Had the project entailed realignment of highways, the purchase of right of way or the installation of bridges, Lynch said the environmental assessment step would most likely have been bypassed in favor of a more thorough EIS.

      In the transportation department’s initial review of the project, “there was a lot of discussion whether or not they needed an environmental assessment or not,” said Lynch.

  2. Craig Avatar

    How is this even safe? Look at the tripcheck cams, why would they be doing this now? Summer I could see, but now no way in hell!

  3. Ken Cole Avatar

    I have a feeling that the legislature will intervene here shortly. Their session starts in a few days. This is the feudal society of Idaho afterall.


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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