Montana judge halts the building of megaload turnouts in Western Montana

Another roadblock to the use of Idaho Highway 12 and Montana highways as corridors for moving Alberta bound tar sand equipment-

This is good news, although likely temporary.

The turnouts constructed on the Montana side of Lolo Pass appear to be larger than the oil giant said and closer to Lolo Creek which already suffers from highway runoff.

Judge stops construction of big-rig turnouts in western Montana
.  By Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian


  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I don’t know if anyone wondered about my near disappearance from the blog, but I spent the last 5 weeks in Arizona enjoyed new country and warm weather.

    I also enjoyed being away from the idiocy of Idaho politics, although Arizona has a legislature almost as deformed.

    A warning to travelers. Some cash strapped states have police lying in wait (speed traps) as a way of milking non-residents for revenue.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Welcome back Ralph!

  2. WM Avatar

    Does anyone know the full extent of “widening improvements” already made on Highway 12, to date in ID and MT, from Lewiston to the MT border and beyond?

    If there have been many, are they as visually blighting as and damaging as some of us speculated?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Wish I knew too, but a brief search showed this. I missed it while I was away.

      Imperial Oil’s megaload debut a shocker, cuts power to towns. Pacific Northwest Inlander.

    2. Doryfun Avatar

      WM – I have seen some photo’s (sorry, I couldn’t find a way to include a link here for such) of the trees cut, that was pretty sickly. Here is some info about that, and I am sure this will be brought up by the IRU case with the USFS (neglect).

      “Today, Big Oil said “cut all highway-side branches off the trees in the Wild & Scenic River highway corridor 32 feet up and 3 feet past the fog line, and the Clearwater National Forest looked the other way. See photo below of the beginnings of a rectangular tunnel being cut in the highway corridor’s forest canopy.”

      “Want to let the CNF know exactly how you feel about such treatment of the Wild & Scenic corridor? Don’t be shy! Call or email:

      Craig Trulock 208-926-4274

      Rick Brazell, Clearwater National Forest Supervisor 208-476-4541

      Leslie Weldon, Regional Forester Missoula

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The Idaho legislature, feeling sorry for the poor oil companies, beset as they were by Idaho citizens, passed a law making it very difficult to sue on the megaloads. Idaho citizens (or maybe I should now say “subjects”) will have to raise a huge bond first.


  4. Doryfun Avatar

    Following is some info from the people at Fighting Goliath (

    “The ITD contested case hearing related to the 207 Imperial/Exxon megaloads that were permitted but with a stay on Feb. 14th will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 25th.

    This hearing will be unlike the hearing related to the ConocoPhillips’ megaloads, which was confined to only two days. For the Imperial/Exxon megaload case, hearing officer Judge Duff McKee has scheduled 4 1/2 days next week with continuation, to the extent needed, the following week.

    At this hearing we will have plenty of time for multiple witnesses, including experts on such topics as the economic effects of turning the U.S.12 corridor into an industrial megaload truck route and long-term road damage caused by super-weight shipments, and some citizen monitor witnesses. Evidence gathered by all the monitors has been compiled, analyzed and synthesized, and sent to our lawyers and will be woven into testimony at various points throughout the hearing.”


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