A Canadian oil company is preparing to make its case that its plan, and preparation, to haul 207 megaloads across Highway 12 in Idaho, meets all requirements of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).

A spokesman for Imperial Oil, Pius Rolheiser, said his company has asked ITD to hurry up and issue the permits, but company officials expect ITD Director Brian Ness to order a contested-case hearing upon issuing the permits.

“We’ve complied fully with the process,” Rolheiser said.

Thirty-four modules, basically various massive building blocks of Imperial’s Kearl Oil Sands plant, have been sitting at the Port of Lewiston since December.

Ness is not required to allow a hearing, but since the protesting Highway 12 residents won “intervener” status in the Conoco case, some expect they will in the Imperial case, as well. Lawyers for the residents have applied for intervener status, and protest-leader Linwood Laughy has indicated the group is ready, perhaps even eager, for another fight.

ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten would not indicate when Ness might issue the Imperial permits; he would not say if Ness had already decided to grant a contested-case hearing.

A source involved with the issue, who asked to not be identified because he was only offering a “rumor,” said Ness’s decision could come any day, and that everyone expects a hearing.

In his decision in the ConocoPhillips case, hearing officer Merlyn Clark endorsed ITD’s decision to issue permits because he found the agency put public safety and convenience at the forefront when issuing them.  
Imperial has been planning the shipments with ITD for almost three years.

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  1. I sincerely hope the ITD will not permit these Imperial Oil megaloads to travel Idaho’s scenic highway route. Imperial Oil has an abysmal record when it comes to the environment and community relations. See http://www.Railroaded.ca for details.

  2. The ignorance and arrogance of the men who conceived this insane scheme is exceeded only by their greed. Having closely observed the first convoy for hours, I am more firmly convinced than ever that there is no way on earth to make these massive grinding horrors of blinding light safe on that road, and the ineptitude I witnessed with regard to lack of proper directions for traffic that was following or interspersed in the convoy was shocking. These loads have no place on that road, and the second day’s progress with its over-long delays and scraping the rock with the rig shows clearly that this company has no idea what they are doing. Every single official who told us we could trust Emmert should be fired, and we should tell Big Oil to find some other poor saps to victimize and exploit.

  3. Mrs. William Gerhart

    If Canada wanted this so bad, to exploit their tar sands, then the shipment of the necessary equipment SHOULD TRAVEL THROUGH CANADA.
    Let them make the necessary road adjustments, instead of a forested highway with a scenic designation in the U.S.

  4. Sharon Cousins and MegaFactMan are right–this is no kind of road for megaload kinds of traffic. By permitting this preposterous concession to billionaire corporations that could easily afford trucking their megastuff other ways, to both Montana and Canada–the IDT should now consider that they work for Mega Ho, not Idaho.

  5. What can I say that hasn’t beens said. Insane indeed. Crazy. Just common sense that it just isn’t right. Blows my mind that they won’t turn back. But I guess it is nothing compared to the dam projects in China. I am sure they are wondering what all the fuss is over a teensy weensy stretch of “Wild and Scenic” Highway. Just a different mentality, one that doesn’t give a )*%%$%^#&%#%^ about the wilderness, except possibly a megaranch that is owned by the billionaires for their own pleasure, to enjoy with the governors of Idaho and Montana, of course.

  6. I think you all have valid arguments, but at some point the rhetoric surrounding this project needs to progress into a directed and well rounded condemnation of tar sands mining itself. Sure, we have an incredible highway that we want to protect, but Canada (and all other residents of earth) has a critically important forest ecosystem that is being destroyed by our one common enemy, capitalism. We MUST look beyond our highway and think about the integrity of the planet’s support systems…. Keep up the good fight!

  7. When confronted with a wildfire, my first act is to secure my own home and THEN look to my neighbors. I understand and fully support turning my attention to the Kearl project, but only after I’ve “put out the fire” locally.

  8. ITD will not make a call based on the Kearle Project.

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