First Oil Industry Megaload Arrives at Montana Refinery
The first of what could be hundreds of "megaloads" of oil industry equipment travelling the rural highways of the Northwest arrived at a Billings refinery early Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. It took more than two months for the twin 300-ton loads to travel from a port in Lewiston, Idaho, to the ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings. Crews hauling the massive coker drums were hampered by weather delays, mechanical malfunctions and legal challenges that delayed their initial departure for months. Hundreds more "megaloads" are expected in coming years. Those would follow a similar route through portions of Idaho and Montana before heading north to Canada''s oil sands fields. Opponents view the shipments as a threat to public highways -- with the potential to exacerbate environmental damage from the continued use of fossil fuels. The company originally scheduled a 25-day delivery, planned for summer when the roads were in better condition. After delays caused by legal challenges to the proposed route the shipments left Lewiston Feb. 1, taking 65 days to arrive in Billings.