01.20 Missoula Independent Goes Down to the Crossroads
- Posted by Trish Weber
Today’s issue of the Missoula Independent features a comprehensive cover article about the KMTP titled “Crossroads—
From economic optimism to outright opposition, big oil’s proposed “heavy haul” has divided cities and towns along the route.”
The feature does an excellent job of traversing the route all the way from Lewiston to the Port of Sweetwater, and looking at the state of local opposition (or support, as the case may be) for the project at stops along the way. Excerpts from the article ~
from Lewiston, ID:
“A lot of times I see in the media stories that it’s a scenic byway that Lewis and Clark [used],” [Port of Lewiston Director David] Doeringsfeld says. “Well, let’s go back. Why was Lewis and Clark there in the first place? Thomas Jefferson sent them out on an expedition to find a waterway to promote commerce east and west in the United States. I’d throw out there that Lewis and Clark would be pretty darn happy that the mission that they were sent out on is helping to come to fruition 100 [sic] years after their expedition.”
and Kooskia, ID:
Highway 12 resident Linwood Laughy, one of the intervenors in the legal battle against the ConocoPhillips loads, doesn’t quite share Doeringsfeld’s historical analysis. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark nearly died, he says, when the Corps of Discovery crossed the Bitterroot Mountains into Idaho in the winter of 1805—205 years ago.
“One of the biggest disappointments of the captains, as well as of the president, was that there was no passage,” Laughy says. “That’s one of the things that they were looking for, and they discovered it didn’t exist. The country was simply too rugged for that. It seems to me that’s the same situation today.”
from Bonner MT:
The testimony provided by one of the panelists, University of Montana senior research professor and 40-year economist Steve Seninger, did little to calm public apprehensions. Specifically, Seninger outlined that the job creation pitch Imperial Oil has used is faulty. Most of the 82 full-time jobs the KMTP will create are low-wage, low-skill positions for traffic flaggers and pilot car drivers. The new work for road maintenance and turnout construction will simply employ contractors who are already working, Seninger said, and the law enforcement escorts called for in the proposal will only require a salary bump for existing state and county employees.
to Choteau MT:
“The general population doesn’t have any concerns,” says Teton County Commissioner Jim Hodgskiss. “There might be a few out there, but as a whole the population is eagerly anticipating them. It’s going to be novel, I think, seeing those big loads come through. And it’s going to be a pretty significant impact to the local economy because one of the places they’re going to park is just south of Choteau here.
“There’s only 6,000 people in our county,” Hodgskiss continues, “so anytime you interject a little outside money, it’s got to have a positive effect.”
Read the whole thing. There’s not a whole lot of new information brought to light, but the article does a nice job of summarizing all the history and the main players. Read the whole thing. Then add comments voicing your opposition to the project.