Montana judge rules against transport of giant oilfield equipment

Judge stops transport of megaloads through Western Montana-

Great news!  Especially after all the elected U. S. officials from governors to the White House seem to have sold out. Montana judge rules against transport of giant oilfield equipment. Victory for campaigners as decision delivers a new setback to the efforts of Alberta tar sands. By Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent. U. K. Guardian.

Meanwhile Canadians are fighting against the Imperial Oil (Exxon-Mobil) monster. Ontario refuses to call Alberta’s oil sands ‘sustainable and responsible’. By Nathan Vanderklippe. The Globe and Mail.

– – – – –

Related (from elk275): Giant toilet paper rolls remain in Lochsa after truck accident. Missoulian By Kim Briggeman.






  1. Rita K. Sharpe Avatar
    Rita K. Sharpe

    That is good news,indeed.

  2. DB Avatar


    This decision could not have happened if Montana didn’t have an environmental policy act. I’m not sure how “the White House have sold out.”

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      The story also refers to the related Keystone XL pipeline to carry the syncrude oil from Alberta. That project is a key part of the tar sands monstrosity, and according to the article, will likely be approved soon. There has been enormous Republican pressure from Congress to approve it, and it appears not much resistance from the President or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That is the reason for my statement.

    2. Mike Avatar

      The White House just isn’t there on conservation. They are marginally better than the Bush admin.

  3. Brian Ertz Avatar

    it’ll be interesting to see what impact this has on the ground … i still don’t get the mega-loads thing, but i would most certainly love to learn. i understand the importance of protesting big oil in principle … but given the economics, how will this make the development any less viable ? what tangible conservation benefit is achieved via halting mega-loads ?

  4. Nota Avatar

    Does this mean it’s a no-go over just Highway 12 or does it also include I-90 over Lookout Pass? Just curious. If it’s 12, then the loads could still go up 95 through Moscow to CDA(I-90). Moscow seems more viable to me because the route doesn’t follow a Wild and Scenic river.

  5. Brian Ertz Avatar

    still waiting on a response to my inquiry about the tangible conservation benefit secured by halting/stalling this route … I don’t mean to be a wet-blanket or overly-critical, I’m just wondering whether I’m missing the thesis here and I think it’d help a lot of folk I’ve talked to if a big-picture articulation of the best-case scenerio results-on-the-ground was clearly made … What is gained for the natural world by stalling/halting this route ?

  6. Rita K. Sharpe Avatar
    Rita K. Sharpe

    Is there any other route that these loads could take? I am just asking.

  7. DB Avatar


    I’m not sure there is any conservation benefit, nor is anyone claiming any, from halting this route. The folks in the upper Clearwater were concerned about turning HW 12 into an industrial transportation corridor. It’s a recreation, tourism, business, administration of a W&S river issue. But I’m not saying the folks are not motivated somewhat in doing whatever it takes to stymie the development of Alberta oil shale. The economics of extracting oil from shale can’t be that great. Maybe stopping these shipments would be so costly it would just be another obstacle to continued development. And maybe I’m dreaming.

  8. Brian Ertz Avatar


    I certainly hope you’re not just dreaming – I think it would be interesting to put together some sort of economic analysis that answers just this question.

    Will forcing another route appreciably impact the economic viability of the Alberta oil-shale ?

    Will it appreciably impact the Wild & Scenic River values ?

    I think it’s fair and necessary that these questions be asked and answered by decision-makers – and am grateful for MEPA in MT for it’s codified required to consider these things.

    We need a SEPA in Idaho for this and other questions.

    Might this be an opportunity to achieve that push in Idaho ?


  9. Pronghorn Avatar

    US 12 on the Montana side is two lanes, no shoulder. In places it’s smack up against a rock cliff on one side and drops off to Lolo Creek on the other. On curves. Whoever saw this route as a high/wide industrial corridor (and a permanent one–no one believes that this is a one-time deal) was delusional. Check here


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan