Archive for February, 2011

Idaho bill could squash ability of citizens to oppose loads legally


Wednesday, Idaho representative Dick Hartwood (R-St. Maries) introduced state legislation that would require anybody filing a lawsuit against a transportation project to post a bond worth 5 percent of the value of the loads. This could mean that any citizen, using their legal right to oppose a project they feel might be harmful to their business, environment, or life would be required to put up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars just to engage in legally opposing a transportation project.  This bill is aimed at removing any available legal option now open to residents of Highway 12 who have opposed the megaload project since the beginning. The effect of the bill doesn’t stop at the megaload project, either, but will extend to ANY decision to transport ANYTHING on Idaho roadways. This bill seems to be some legislators’ way of saying that if you don’ t have any money, you shouldn’t have a voice in what happens in your state.

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Second Megaload held up; Exxon buys Idaho Police

First, the second Conoco/Phillips megaload is on the road, but held up due to weather. The load has yet to wind it’s ways past the turns that gave the first load such a hard time, causing a 59 minute delay at one point.

Also, it seems as though Exxon has purchased the use of Idaho State Police to protect the loads they plan to have on the road in the near future. Exxon has bought the Idaho Police department for a cost of $41,000. Although we agree that Exxon should put up the funds for this, if it needs to be done, we think that a private company purchasing public employees should be treated as a matter necessitating some kind of public input.  Use of Idaho State Police as a private security agency with the power to arrest and jail those who oppose the shipments is unfounded. Already, public monitors legally engaged in simply making sure that the megaloads keep to the requirements set forth in the ITD permit have been harassed and threatened with arrest.

 

Imperial Oil plans to cut the size of the megaloads

Imperial Oil announced its intentions of cutting down the size of 33 of its megaloads now awaiting permits at the Port of Lewiston as well as others still sitting at the Port of Vancouver. A natural question seems to be forthcoming. Why wasn’t cutting the size of the loads included as a possible alternative earlier? In the environmental assessment Imperial filed with the DOT in Montana last spring in stated quite clearly that there was no alternative to shipping giant pieces of mining equipment down highway 12 over and over again. The discrepancy is intriguing. But cutting down the size of the load and moving them down highways has the potential to raise another interesting question; are we opposed to just the size of the shipments, or where they are going and what they will be used for? Namely, they destruction of a boreal forest the size of Florida,  the poisoning of a hugely important North American waterway and the slow but effective eradication of Canada’s First Nation’s people.

 

Megaload still stuck, cradle scarapes rock face

Either the Lewis or the Clark, names given by Conoco/Phillips to the two first pioneering megaloads, is, much like the original duo, stuck along Highway 12 waiting for the snow to melt. This is the second day the loads have made no progress, and comes after an auspicious second leg of their journey. News agencies report that the first load out of the gates has to date caused more than ten delays of longer than 10 minutes, five delays longer than 29 minutes, one delay of almost an hour, and if that isn’t enough the cradle holding the half-drum HIT A ROCK FACE!!! Not a good showing, sir.

Rally at Lolo Pass Saturday 1pm Canceled Until Further Notice

Due to weather delays, the first Conoco/Phillips megaload shipment is not expected to arrive at the Montana boarder in time for the proposed rally, this Saturday at 1PM. Sponsoring organizations regret to inform supporters that the rally has been canceled for the time being. We hope that you all will join us when the first load finally arrives in Montana. We will inform all public outlets as soon as we reasonably know when this will be.

Those opposed to the megaload shipments want to send the most powerful message we can to Conoco, Exxon, and regional decision makers that the proposed High and Wide Corridor is bad for our communities, our economies, and our environment.

Conoco/Phillips causes 59 minute delay on Highway 12

Lewiston, Id. AP reported that the Idaho Department of Transportation is requiring Conoco/Phillips to submit a new travel plan before it allows the second megaload to travel down Highway 12. As reported, “Agency spokesman Adam Rush said the delay occurred as the load went around a sharp curve between Greer and Kamiah.”

This develo0pment certainly doesn’t bode well for future loads, and we hope the IDT will finally realize what megaload opponents have been saying all along; there is no possible way for these companies to drag hugely sized mining equipment and keep within their permit guidelines.

We believe the first load will continue to make it’s way up to Lolo Pass, but due to ice on the roads it didn’t move an inch last night. Expect more delays as weather looks to turn for the worse over the next few days.

First Conoco shipment left this morning, protesters rally in Boise, Id.

The First Conoco shipment is on the road. Monitors in Idaho are keeping track of its movements. We think the first shipment should reach Lolo Pass in the Middle of the night on Friday. We are unclear whether the truck will then park just on the Montana side and wait for the second load to reach it, or if it will travel as far as it can down 12 until the morning.

As well, about 75 protesters let Idaho state officials know exactly what they think of Idaho governor “Butch” Otter allowing the megaloads to roll through their state. Idaho state official spent years talking to Exxon Mobil regarding the use of Highway 12 as an industrial Corridor (So did Mt. Governor Schweitzer) without consulting the residents of the state. In Idaho, it wasn’t until a lawsuit filed by individuals who love along the route that information regarding what the state and the corporation had planned. According to Lin Laughy, one of the filers of the Idaho based lawsuit, “An Idaho state agency, without a single public hearing, has the power to reconfigure the nature of an entire river valley. That’s been a tough lesson for me to learn.”