Local megaload opposition relents on first 4 megaloads

Opponents of the megaloads drop fight on the first four-

Having lost before the Idaho Department of Transportation, opponents of the oil megaloads will no longer try to stop the first four of them.  These are bound for the existing oil refinery in Billings, Montana. The next 200 megaloads (not approved for now) are for what many see as the tar sand pits from hell in Alberta, Canada.

Movement of the first four should reveal much about who is right about them?  Will the loads have great difficulty getting up the highway and over Lolo Pass?  Will there be an accident?  Will they be safely parked during the day, or will they end up blocking traffic? Will the megaloads harm the highway surface or warp the bridges?  Will the megaloads generate any local employment beyond a few people holding signs and public revenues going to pay for highway patrol escorts?

Idaho megaload opponents: Let big rigs roll to Billings. By Kim Briggeman of Missoulian. missoulian.com

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Feb. 1, 2011 update. As Megaloads Roll, What Two of Three Plaintiffs Learned About Opposition. New West (feature article). By Steve Bunk.  New West has done an outstanding job covering the megaloads issue. This is their latest feature article.

I was particularly impressed with this quote in the article, “Referring to state troopers who accompany megaloads through Idaho, Laughy remarked, ‘I find it particularly interesting that our state could be contracting out our police to the South Korean government.’ ”  I say it’s a good example what happens when we (the United States) are well on our way to being a colony of the corporations of other parts of the world (thanks to the work of people like provincial governor Butch Otter).


  1. IDhiker Avatar

    I’ve driven the Lochsa Highway many times, and know it as very narrow and curvy. I’ll have to admit, though, that I’ve never driven it while considering whether “megaloads” could negotiate it. My brother, who lives in Eagle, recently drove it to Montana. He commented to me that he couldn’t imagine how those loads are going to fit in some of the narrowest spots and sharpest corners. Time will tell about that. I can’t imagine getting those loads up Lolo Pass while the road is snow packed. It will be interesting.

  2. wolf moderate Avatar
    wolf moderate

    While serving in the Coast Guard, they paid to have me get my Commercial Drivers License (CDL). I did not get too many miles under my belt, but from what I have driven, I do not see this being a problem at all. I’ve driven Hwy 1 along the Northern Californian coast with a 48′ trailer. Now that is some nasty highway!

    We will see how the first 4 loads go though. The packed snow will make it a bit more difficult. I predict it will go off w/o a hitch.

    1. Save bears Avatar

      A 48′ trailer is nothing compared to these monsters!

      1. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        Meh, they are professionals. But yeah, that equipment is huge!

  3. Doryfun Avatar

    Hey, how about the bigger picture here? Even if the mega loads can negotiate everything (hopefully) without a major whipptteedoo, the bigger reason to quell these shipments, besides a lot of other good reasons, is the long range plans of Big Oil: tentacles of the monster – pipelines through 32 American States and all the fall-out from that.

    See the latest mega- winter storm covering 2/3 of the US? Does Corporate America care about climate change? Mining for oil when we should be converting to new green energy sources, is like trying to run faster ahead of a tsunami wave. The snow job and tactics of big oil and their bedfellow politicians will lead to s similar natural resource result that is well described by Andrew Nikoforuk’s (Canadian Native) metaphror about their Tar Sands “ reclaimed” areas. “It is like putting lipstick on a corpse.”

    I remember going to the first ground zero public hearings about dam removal in Lewiston, when Otter was a Lt Gov at the time. He stepped up to the mic and said he represented the people of Idaho, then claimed we all want fish and will do everything for them, aside from taking any dams out (despite best science). Analyzing his track record on many other fish and wildlife issues, I don’t trust his leadership or his judgments. His behind closed doors participation in giving the giant corps permission to haul the mega-loads, is thoroughly disgusting. He doesn’t represent the people of Idaho, anymore now, than he did at the dam hearings. At that meeting, he didn’t even remain long enough to hear what the supposed people he represented had to say, which happened to be a big percentage of an opposite viewpoint.

    If anyone wants to know the “other side of the story”- and what Big Oil – Big Govt really has planned for our area, read Heart of the Monster by Rick Bass and David James Duncan.

    And/or – if you live in the Boise Area, attend a peaceful protest on the Idaho statehouse steps at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, to help show Gov. Butch Otter and state lawmakers that Idahoans are opposed to big oil’s mega-loads on our rural roads and along our Wild & Scenic river corridors.

    This isn’t just about roads. It is a much bigger issue than many folks might at first believe. Time to look over our shoulders to see what kind of wave is gaining on us.

    1. Salle Avatar

      Kind of makes you suspicious of his “closed door” swearing in ceremonies after each election only to have a public pseudo-ceremony days later… usually after passing some ugly special interest policy in between the ceremonies. He’s a slimebag politician through and through.

  4. Woody Avatar

    February 1, 2011 at 4:02 PM
    Shipment starts today according to the Oregonian.


  5. wolf moderate Avatar
    wolf moderate

    Yup same stuff in the Idahostateman today. http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/02/01/1510880/first-of-megaloads-to-move-out.html

    “See the latest mega- winter storm covering 2/3 of the US? Does Corporate America care about climate change?”

    Dory, why do you place all the blame on the “evil corporations”? It’s pretty obvious that no American believes in “global warming”. If they did they wouldn’t drive everywhere in there 4×4 trucks/suv’s.
    They (oil companies) are just filling a “demand” that the citizens want. I put the blame squarely on the individual/citizens. Why does everyone drive a SUV or v8/diesel 4×4 pickup? Especially in the biggest hypocritical state (California). It pisses me off that people bitch about the profits from “big oil”. If people do not like paying $3/gallon or more for gas, how about getting off your lazy azz for once and walk or ride a bike.

    Obesity is at epidemic levels right now. People need to sell that SUV and buy a bike. If they need to drive, then buy a hyundai accent (if single) or a 4 cylinder minivan if you have kids…Not a Ford Excursion gas guzzler… Go to Walmart and look at the people there, especially the kids! It really saddens me.

    Sorry for the rant. This stuff tilts me more than anything 😉

    1. SAP Avatar

      WolfMod – you have a point about personal choice. But I think the role of corporations in shaping our choices merits some close scrutiny.

      Think that corporations haven’t worked to eliminate alternatives?

      Check out the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0489037/
      It’s galling! People loved those electric cars and there was strong demand for more. But it depends on product availability, as well as developing the support infrastructure to keep those cars going. A highly feasible proposition in a densely populated place like southern California.

      Closer to home (sw Montana), I would be thrilled to run the Powerstroke on biodiesel, but where do I buy it? (We are still working on developing a veg oil diesel cooperative here). There are virtually no outlets between Denver and the coast (although there is soy diesel at the pump in remote rural Nebraska). Here in MT, we grow plenty of crops that would yield biodiesel. But we’re not using it for fuel.

      (by the way, I do have a minivan to run around in, but it won’t pull a horse trailer nor will it bust through snowdrifts over 4″)

      Building a decent biodiesel industry may take some public investment, which makes some people jump up and down about “government interference in the free market.” Right. And there’s been no government policy tilting playing field in favor of petroleum . . . . um, Iraq, anyone?

      You might also check out this documentary, “Taken for a Ride.”
      It’s about evidence of how GM and other corporations conspired to get rid of mass transit decades ago. We built up whole metropolitan areas around the automobile, with no real feasible alternative. Not even walking or biking, to say nothing of light rail or decent buses.

      Was this just the product of consumer demand, or was it a deliberate corporate attempt to redirect public investment toward cars, petroleum, and tires?


      1. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate


        I am really busy, but will read those links tonight, but in the meantime:

        “(by the way, I do have a minivan to run around in, but it won’t pull a horse trailer nor will it bust through snowdrifts over 4″)”

        Why do you have horses, horse trailers, tack, acreage to support the horses which emit carbon only for your amusement etc, etc, etc. You wouldn’t need that powerstroke if you picked less destructive hobbies. Mother Nature would appreciate it…Then again ppl like Gore talk a sweet game for millions of bucks then jump in his/there personal jets to get to one of those castles (along w/ the staff to run it) that they own (lookin’ at you Hollywood). To each there own.

      2. SAP Avatar

        You’re big on making assumptions about people (eg., “Why does everyone drive a SUV or v8/diesel 4×4 pickup?” from your previous comment above ) .

        My horse and mule, yes I love having them, but I use them for work in the backcountry (mostly to do with grizzly bear conflict prevention). We can go more places, and with less impact, than a four-wheeler. And good luck packing a camp and a load of tools on a mountain bike.

        I have foregone one of the most resource-intensive choices are person can make: children. And apart from my field work, I don’t use any fossil fuels commuting to and from work, since the office is a few steps from my kitchen.

        Regarding Al Gore, here’s a little more reading:


        A variant of the ad hominem argument is the so-called “hypocrisy fallacy.” In this case, we judge someone’s statement as false because it is inconsistent with something else the person said or did. Yet mere inconsistency between two positions does not establish that either one is wrong.”


      3. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        Sorry, I have diareaha of the mouth when it comes to people dictating what others should do/not do, when they do/not do the very thing that they are pushing. These individuals that push this global warming “science”, are the largest emitters of carbon (some, not all). Not sure how this stuff is assumptive. Kinda thought it was fact. Well, I feel sad for you not being able to have children due to some possible warming of the climate. At least you can save a couple grizzlies to justify your existence 😉

        Thanks for the hypocrisy lesson. I will now need to find another word for him…perhaps “false dilemma”. It seems he fits best into this definition from the link you sent me. 🙂

        “False Dilemma

        A particularly insidious fallacy is the false dilemma. This occurs when someone seeking to influence a decision inappropriately narrows the range of alternatives, often down to only two. For example, someone might say that a radiology department must either immediately purchase a state-of-the-art piece of equipment or close its doors forever. Although it may in fact be the case that the purchase is warranted, other options, such as a 3- to 6-month delay, may also be reasonable. “

      4. Salle Avatar

        Also read: “The Shock Doctrine; The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein http://www.naomiklein.org/main

    2. Doryfun Avatar


      I don’t place total blame on Corp America. I use oil, tp, and row a wooden boat. I know where they come from. I also hike my ass off chasing elk and chukars around in the nose bleed country. But if a barn is burning down, a cup of water won’t help much. I will stick to pointing a finger at a bigger blame to the Corpratocracy this country has become.

      There is plenty of evidence to support this, more and more all the time. There are too many people that continue to either ignore/deny the evidence, don’t care, or are not even aware of what is flying over their heads in the bedfellow backroom deals, campaign contributions, and huge influence of big oil, big business in everything we do.

      Get mad about people who groan at big oil profits, if ya want. I have my own business and I care about profits, too, or I wouldn’t be able to feed myself. I’m not against anyone making a profit. However, I do care at what expense those profits are being made. For me, I contend that the profits of the mega corps extract too great a cost (cost is what is lost) to the foundation (integrity of habitat) that supports things like elk that you enjoy chasing with a bow.

      That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

      1. Doryfun Avatar

        Opps, sorry Jon, I meant “wolf moderate

      2. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        Right…I got your point though 😉

  6. SAP Avatar

    Wolf Moderate:

    The assumptions I was referring to were that “everyone drives SUVs” and that I have horses for my “amusement.”

    I don’t think anyone needs to “justify their existence,” so I hope you’re kidding about that (and yes, I see the “wink” emoticon, so I’ll assume you are!).

    I have not followed Al Gore for awhile, so I can’t comment specifically on the “False Dilemma” issue.

    For my own part, I accept that the climate is changing; I don’t think there’s any one thing that we Must Do Right Now Or We’re All Gonna Die. I try to be aware of what greenhouse emission impacts my choices make, and I think that a lot of our collective impact could be managed by folks making some adaptions and making different choices. Developing alternative energy sources — especially long before we run out of oil, which is another thing I accept — seems like a good idea.

    My beef with the “he’s a hypocrite!” charges is that we are all doing something to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Some are spewing far more greenhouse gas than others, and yes, rich folks like Al Gore are among them. But what is the threshold for being a “hypocrite”?

    That is, it seems like critics have some unspoken level of emissions in mind that makes a person a “hypocrite” who shouldn’t be saying anything about climate change. If the level is “zero,” well. The only way to have zero emissions is to bury yourself alive in a peat bog so that your decay process will be locked in the ground as your organic carbon breaks down.

  7. Brian Ertz Avatar

    what’s troubling to me is the tendency for people to pretend that attacking a person somehow reduces the legitimacy/merit of the message.

    as far as personal choice goes: $1, $2, even $5/gallon of gas isn’t the result of any healthy supply/demand market choice that individuals make, nor is it the result of healthy civic choices — same goes for source generation of electricity, and production of carbon-intensive food like beef. there are systemic influences (in our case, the corporate state) that artificially externalize costs away from the point of purchase – away from the choice – and ultimately impose those short-term bastardized incentives at the cost of the long term health of ourselves, our political systems and our planet.

    that didn’t happen because individuals created market demand for it — nor did it happen because individuals voted for those policies. individuals don’t have that power – it was organized interests that influenced those policies and markets – organized interests that cultivated that general environment. corporate interests.

    making your way in a bastardized market for long enough, individuals arrange their lives around that reality – seemingly immediately cheap gas, cheap electricity, cheap beef – at least in my lifetime, from what i can see – and suggesting that individuals are culpable for the big picture, long term impacts and are “wrong” for hesitating to subject themselves to the inevitable pains of running against that artificial grain that they’ve run with their whole lives – again, a grain that was all-pervasive, seems a bit unreasonable.

    true – individual choice matters – but as far as we are, it won’t matter. we need to transition into a general environment/market/society in which making the right choice for the future isn’t so much a matter of a ‘luxury to do the right thing’ – but instead is an economic necessity given systemic changes that re-incorporate actual costs onto the economic choices that we make.

  8. Doryfun Avatar

    In our busy rush to who knows where, or to what end, it seems the time is ripe to hit the pause button and reconsider if the current life drama playing out, is still the one we should be watching aimlessly. Considering all woes we humans battle in our race to gobble up the planet, perhaps it would be more wise to stop and re-examine the tools and methods by which we seek our path through all the wilds of place and time.

    Perhaps we should be asking “more” questions, not”less,” of the motives of our leaders and look introspectively to what extent we will blindly follow along, or awaken to the realpolirik of elitist perversions and the morphing of our democracy into a giant corpratocracy?

    As we look within, do we care about continuously fostering dominance and exploitation at too vast of an expense to other cultures, our own people, and the environment? While population dynamics should be our first concern, I would suggest we might work at developing a better “mind-set”as the second most important priority to help save our selves from the mega-appetite of industry and commerce. Maybe work towards developing a higher tolerance for all things, rather than dominance, as the pivot by which we revolve around, on this dust- mote- home whirling about the cosmos?

    A good place to start, in re-shaping our collective mind-set, is some enlightened perspectives and rich food for thought that is contained in the aforementioned book: Heart of the Monster.

    An example:

    “Remembering the dark thought-forms that held that Africans could be ripped from their homes, enslaved by Europeans, and sold with impunity; remembering the thought-forms that told a self-styled demi-god known as ‘White European Man’ he had the right to steal the world, lives, and lifeways from indigenous people everywhere; remembering the thought-forms that put Galileo on trial in the same way that neocon think tanks have put NASA climatologists James Hansen on trial, continuing (even after Magellan circumnavigated the globe!) to hold that the Earth is flat, I fully recognize the darkness that had led me to the Heart of the Monster.

    It was the corporate darkness. The one that holds that Earth’s resources are inert and endlessly abundant as opposed to finite and vibrantly alive; that Earth’s delicate looms of life have no greater purpose than to serve a monetary bottom line; the darkness with 2500 lobbyists telling elected leaders that commercial ventures can target, take, and plunder living places, creatures, cultures, without guilt or karmic consequences.”


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Ralph Maughan