September 13, 2013 UPDATE: Judge Winmill HAS GRANTED the Nez Perce Tribe & Idaho Rivers United's requested preliminary injunction and ordered the Forest Service to issue a close of Highway 12 to Omega Morgan's megaloads until the FS's corridor study and tribal consultation are complete. It's a hands-down VICTORY!
April 8, 2013 The IRU vs. USFS/FHWA 60-day appeal deadline passed without an appeal being filed! Now all all activists opposing the industrialization of the Lochsa-Clearwater Wild & Scenic River corridor will be carefully monitoring upcoming USFS steps to protect the "scenic & aesthetic" values of the W & S corridor. For now, we are ringing the victory bells.
Feb. 7, 2013 Judge Winmill ruled in favor of IRU: In a clear victory for Idaho's Wild and Scenic Rivers, a federal judge ruled that the U.S. Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration "acted unlawfully" when they determined they could not regulate megaloads within the Wild and Scenic Lochsa and Clearwater river corridor.... Referring to applicable federal laws, including the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Judge Winmill said it is clear that it is within the agencies' authority to act. "This authority clearly gives the federal defendants jurisdiction to review ITD's approval of mega-load permits that authorize acts along the river corridor including the construction of turnouts along the rivers, the trimming of hundreds of trees, and the restriction of the public's recreational opportunities." Read about it: Lewiston Tribune editorial here. Read Winmill's ruling by scrolling down to "Feb. 7 Judgement" here.
Feb. 6, 2013 Final arguments before Judge Lynn B. Winmill in the IRU vs. USFS & FHWA -- Federal Courthouse in Boise. Case overview and briefs are available at the IRU and Advocates for the West websites.
Mar. 9, 2012 Ruling on motions to dismiss, Idaho Federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill upheld most of Idaho Rivers United's suit against the USFS & FHWA. In the ongoing case, IRU seeks to show that the 2 federal agencies do have the authority to block state action permitting access to the Wild & Scenic U.S. Highway 12 corridor for megaloads.
Feb. 17, 2012-- Montana Judge Ray Dayton issued his decision on the summary judgement motions in the Missoula County vs. Montana Department of Transportation case. He ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, and the matter is being remanded to MDT for further environmental review. The preliminary Kearl Transport Project injunction remains in place, and the project may not proceed until after further environmental review has been completed. Read about it in the Missoulian here.
November 2, 2011-- Imperial/Exxon's shipper Mammoet applied for permits for approximately 300 module shipments to travel from Washington's Port of Pasco -- not on U.S.12 -- but on interstate highways through Idaho and Montana. Read about it in the Oregonian and in the Idaho Statesman.
Imperial/Exxon's decision to use interstates constitutes a victory for Idaho and Montana opponents of the transformation of the pristine Wild & Scenic Lochsa-Clearwater U.S.12 corridor and scenic rural 2-lane roads in Montana into an industrial megaload truck route. However, Imperial/Exxon still has its eye on the U.S.12 route for its permanent "high and wide" corridor, as do other corporations. Thus, opponents remain vigilant.
October 7, 2011- In the Missoula Co. vs. MDT case, Judge Dayton issued an order modifying his July 19th injunction to allow MDT to consider 32-J overlegal permit applications from Imperial/Exxon to transport reduced-size loads over Highways 12 and 93 (to and through Missoula) in order to access the interstate system. Dayton retained restrictions beyond Missoula pending another court proceeding in January.
July 19, 2011- Missoula County Commissioners, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club-Montana, and the Montana Environmental Information Center and their attorneys won a preliminary injunction temporarily stopping further Montana Department of Transportation authorizations of Imperial/Exxon's proposed megaload transports along Highways 12, 93, I-90, 200, and I-15 north. Judge Ray Dayton ruled that Imperial/Exxon and MDT violated the Montana Environmental Policy Act because they failed to take a 'hard look' at the impacts of constructing turnouts for the transporting of hundreds of megaloads of tar sands equipment bound for Alberta, Canada
JOIN US AS WE SAY "NO"
TO MASSIVE-LOAD PERMITS ON U.S.12
and to Big Oil's attempt to turn America's treasured
Lochsa-Clearwater Wild & Scenic River corridor
into an industrial megaload truck route to the tar sands!
The Port of Lewiston, State of Idaho, and Big Oil's tarsand operators in Canada are working to convert Idaho’s stretch of U.S. Highway 12 from a Scenic Byway and All-American Road to an industrial truck route for the transport of gargantuan loads of equipment. Combined Imperial Oil, ConocoPhillips and Harvest Energy planned to ship 274 megaloads in 2011, loads that exceed by far the size and frequency of any oversize shipments in the past. According to theITD and Port TIGER grant application, “If one oil company is successful with this alternative transportation route, many other companies will follow their lead.” Without seeking input from Idahoans, yet on behalf of Idahoans, in a letter of 1/9/09, Governor Otter wrote, "I pledge our support and cooperation..."
That pledge constitutes a lack of support for the rural people of Highway 12. The re-branding of U.S. 12 from "scenic byway" to "industrial truck route" will almost surely result in a decline in or reversal of:
- our livelihoods, which largely depend upon our one growing industry: tourism
- the intrinsic qualities of the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and 1 of the nation's 27 All-American Roads
- our public safety on U.S. 12
- our ability in a medical crisis to reach an emergency room
- our property values throughout the U.S. 12 corridor
- our fisheries
- recreation along the Lochsa, Middle Fork and main Clearwater
- the sanctity of the place that in part defines who we are
- the remarkable values of the Wild & Scenic Rivers corridor
- the longevity of the highway's road surface & subsurface
Gigantic international corporations will reap the profits, and let we the people take the risks, suffer the consequences, pay the road repair taxpayer tab, and watch "wild & scenic" turn ugly ... just as it has in the tarsands.
BUT WE HAVE A VOICE!