02.02 What’s the Buzz? Tell Me What’s Happenin’....
- Posted by Trish Weber
What with the Conoco-Phillips loads on the move, we’ve got more news coverage than you can shake a stick at. Plus: a poll! (all via the indefatigable Borg)
Please take a moment to answer the question Should the Montana Department of Transportation approve the Kearl Module Transport Project, allowing 207 substantially oversized loads of industrial equipment to travel the state’s highways en route to the tar sands of Alberta? via this on-line poll.
Then, if media coverage be the food of activism, read on*—
“Big Rig Protestors Say Fight Isn’t Over” (NBC Montana)
LEWISTON, Idaho—Two oversized oil refinery loads are slated to leave the Port of Lewiston on Tuesday night to make their way to Billings, after sitting idle for months. They are part of a shipment of ConocoPhillips coke drums that will take Highway 12 from Lewiston to Missoula and then on to Billings. By the way, these loads are massive.
[100-120] Protesters gathered Saturday to voice their opposition to the rigs heading down the scenic Highway 12 corridor. Brett Haverstick, with the Friends Of The Clearwater says, “We’re not quitting and that we’re digging in deeper and we don’t want to see a place we all love so dearly, the Lochsa corridor, turned into a permanent industrial, mega-corridor.”
Read more, view video, and comment: NBCMontana.com
“First Megaload Rolls Tonight” (Lewiston Tribune, Feb. 1, 2011)
[At] An 11th-hour news conference against megaloads Monday .... Nine people gathered outside ITD’s Lewiston office and asked the agency one more time to stop a 650,000-pound megaload from starting its journey at 10 p.m. tonight from Lewiston to Billings, Mont. The group cited concerns that the megaloads might hurt a bustling tourist trade and damage the fragile ecosystem adjacent to U.S. Highway 12, the road the cargo is using. ...
Megaload opponents have pledged to monitor the movements of the first megaload. They have recruited 10 people to be alongside the highway for the tonight-Wednesday morning leg of the trip, said Gary MacFarlane, of Friends of the Clearwater. ...
It’s only been recently the public has been able to participate in the process since big oil companies first worked with Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter and ITD in private, said Kevin Lewis, conservation director of Idaho Rivers United. “We would say to Gov. Otter that it’s time to end the back-room dealmaking that allows the wealthy to evade their tax obligations ... and paves the way for big oil to destroy a river corridor that provides so much to so many.” ...
Some of the biggest victims could be the small business owners that make their living from tourism, said Ruth May, owner of Reflections Inn outside Kooskia on U.S. 12. May was one of those involved in a legal challenge against the ConocoPhillips megaloads that was abandoned last week in favor of focusing on the plans of ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil.
Tourism brings $149 million annually to north central Idaho, and more than half of the customers are Idahoans, she said. Many of them fish, hunt and hike along the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers that parallel U.S. 12, May said. “This is not about local jobs. It’s about corporate profit.”
Subscribers read more & comment: Lewiston Tribune
Big rigs set to begin rolling Tuesday, but questions remain (Missoulian article in the Ravlli Republic), Jan. 30, 2011
Perhaps Harry Lillo was being wistful on that last day of November 2009.
Lillo and other Imperial Oil representatives from Canada met with county and city officials in the courthouse and gave Missoula its first inkling of the Kearl Module Transportation Project, aka the big rigs - more than 200 massive loads of processing equipment to be trucked through town and on to Imperial/ExxonMobil’s Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta.
County Commissioner Jean Curtiss said it sounded like a reality TV show.
He didn’t want to use the term “ho-hum,” Lillo said, “but we’re hoping about the time the fourth or fifth one goes by, people are going to just say, ‘Oh, there goes another one.’ “
Now comes the test - and it won’t be from Imperial Oil or by loads headed for Canada.
On Tuesday night, ConocoPhillips and its moving company, Emmert International of Clackamas, Ore., will start moving the first of four megaloads of coke drums bound for Billings from the Port of Lewiston in Idaho.
Read more…Ravalli Republic
Letter To The Editor: ISP needs to work for citizens of Idaho not global corporations
According to the Magic Valley Times-News, Jerry Russell, chief of the Idaho State Police, recently told members of the Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that ISP currently has 33 vacancies, including nine vacant positions due to budget cuts and seven officers on military leave. He further stated this situation results in greater overtime costs “because somebody has to respond out there when there’s that call for service, that fatal accident takes place or whatever.”
And yet in north-central Idaho, the public is repeatedly told by the head of the local ISP unit that the more than 10,000 hours of officer overtime required in 2011 to escort ExxonMobil’s 207 mega-load transports from the Port of Lewiston to Lolo Pass should not pose any safety concerns.
The public is asked to believe that having six uniformed officers on mega-load escort duty for eight or more hours on 207 nearly consecutive nights and hence unavailable for the kind of response to emergencies Jerry Russell described should be of no concern to the public.
I thought the Idaho State Police worked for the citizens of Idaho, not for the largest and most profitable international corporation in the world.
“As Megaloads Roll, What Two of Three Plaintiffs Learned About Opposition”
Lin Laughy and Borg Hendrickson will be among those who monitor the massive shipments on Highway 12, which begin tonight, but they won’t obstruct the haul. “We’re going to be engaged in the legal activity of driving.”
by Steve Bunk, New West Energy 2-01-11
With the first oversized shipment of ConocoPhillips oil equipment scheduled to leave the Port of Lewiston late tonight on its trek down Highway 12 to Billings, Montana, the cofounders of the Idaho-based citizens’ movement against the shipments have expressed a mixture of fatigue, dismay and resolution.
Linwood Laughy and his wife, Borg Hendrickson, say they’ve learned a lot from the struggle. But not every lesson was uplifting.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that being a citizen activist is challenging, gut-wrenching, exhausting and worth doing,” said Laughy. “It’s shaken my faith, I guess, in the American democracy. It seems to me we’re quickly becoming a plutocracy.”
“I wouldn’t call it a plutocracy, although in part it is,” Hendrickson said. “I would call it a corporatocracy. And we’re getting a first-hand picture of that right here.”
Laughy and Hendrickson, two of the three plaintiffs who challenged the shipments in court, said they were taken aback by how the system worked. “An Idaho state agency, without a single public hearing, has the power to reconfigure the nature of an entire river valley,” said Laughy. “That’s been a tough lesson for me to learn.”
Hendrickson expressed frustration that regional Forest Service officials made no actual effort to protect the highway’s famed recreational and environmental values from the megaloads…..
Read more and please take a moment to post a comment: New West
*with apologies to the Bard