Megaloads to go on new route through northern Idaho, Montana

Highway 12 application is not abandoned, but might be dead for practical purposes-

Imperial oil, which is the Canadian version of Exxon-Mobil, has underscored what may be their abandonment of their controversial efforts to truck gigantic loads (hence “megaload”) up the scenic, narrow Clearwater and Lochsa River canyons into Montana and from there a controversial route through Missoula and into Canada. There they will help dig, transport or refine the gargantous tar sand pits.

Imperial Oil now wants to move the megaloads on Interstate 90 and 15, but they will not be so “mega.” They have reduced their size so they can get under the Interstate overpasses.  Imperial has applied for 300 loads to go through Montana into Alberta. Montana government sounds willing.

The loads will go from the inland sea port of Lewiston, Idaho up U.S. 95 to Interstate 90. They already have approval from Idaho to do this though one has to wonder about the economic and social impacts of these smaller loads on U.S. 95 which is not a wide highway. Nevertheless, the controversy seems to be dying down a bit, although Jean Curtiss, chair of the Missoula County Commission was reported to remain wary of the oil company still trying to use U.S. Highway 12 or other scenic routes. A spokesperson for Imperial Oil said the company refused to abandon permits given for Highway 12 because they wanted it as an option.

While this controversy seems to be on the decline, anger over another tar sand impact, the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, seems to be growing in the plains states, and it is being caught up in the growing public anger over domination of American and Canadian economies by giant corporations who are said to buy governments and make the growing inequality of wealth more extreme.  Today’s story on Keystone. Keystone XL Oil Pipeline: A Symbolic Struggle Steeped In Fuzzy Math. By Tom Zeller Jr. Huffington Post.

Obama needs to decide which side he is on as this article tells. Ring Around the White House Illustrates Obama’s Political Bind on Keystone. By Olga Belogolova. National Journal.  Approving the pipeline will only please the people who hate him regardless. Opposing it will rally his heretofore disappointed allies.



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  1. CodyCoyote Avatar

    Where there’s a way , there’s a will. Or ill will. Same same.

  2. Cobra Avatar

    If they do use I-90 for those loads Look Out Pass may be interesting for the drivers, especially in the winter.

  3. Wild Idaho Rising Tide Avatar

    Congratulations to our colleagues on the Obama administration’s recent decision to effectively delay if not reject permitting of the Keystone XL pipeline. Perhaps now, citizen activists and conservation organizations can turn their energies and support toward halting Alberta tar sands construction projects. While their campaigns have worked diligently to expose the corruption behind Keystone XL environmental analyses and government decisions, to stage intricately orchestrated and well-attended protests and arrests around the White House, and/or to generate millions of letters to pertinent officials demanding pipeline rejection, the people of rural Idaho have been stepping into and sitting directly in the path of ExxonMobil tar sands equipment. This controversy is hardly “dying down” or “on the decline.”

    Through five court cases, two dozen direct confrontations, and numerous demonstrations and monitoring activities, Idahoans and Montanans have stalled transportation of tar sands upgrader parts over our fragile rural roads and through our wildlands. Since October 2010, Imperial Oil, a Canadian subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has shipped, barged, and trucked one hundred pieces of gargantuan, Korean-made, industrial equipment from the Ports of Vancouver and Pasco, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho. During the next six months, Northwest interstates could be overrun by another 300 transports of these two-lane wide, 500,000-pound “megaloads” escorted by aggressive, industry-sponsored state police.

    Many more could follow: in August 2010, the Natural Resources Defense Council disclosed agreements between ExxonMobil and a Korean manufacturer to build 1200 of these tar sands modules. If citizens continue to successfully defend our Wild and Scenic river corridor along Highway 12 from full-size, 30-foot tall, 200-foot long megaloads, the resulting split-height shipments that the hauler Mammoet currently fits under overpasses on Highway 95 through our Moscow, Idaho, home and on Interstates 395, 90, and 15 could number another 2300.

    Besides expanding the largest and most expensive, climate-wrecking project on Earth, ExxonMobil is (again tonight!) brashly endangering travelers’ safety and convenience, challenging our road access and civil liberties, and degrading our infrastructure and public resources. Despite these obvious harms at the hands of the one the largest corporations in the world, we have been unable to secure legal representation for a belated administrative hearing, and protest participation against EVERY megaload passage is dwindling.

    In the reddest of the red states, we would appreciate fellow conservationists’ assistance halting this insidious, incremental invasion and subsequent tar sands development, to which Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipeline construction is only secondary. Can we collectively impede tar sands contributions to global climate change if we abandon grassroots groups fighting at the forefront of tar sands supply lines? We encourage and eagerly anticipate your active involvement in this most crucial of anti-tar sands battles.


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Ralph Maughan