Idaho Hearing Judge Won’t Stop Exxon Megaloads
According to the Associated Press, a state hearing officer is recommending that the Idaho Transportation Department issue permits that would allow Exxon Mobil to truck massive shipments of oil refinery equipment along U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho. The findings of hearing officer Duff McKee mark another victory for oil companies over a coalition of residents and business owners who oppose using the scenic byway as a shipping corridor for oversized loads. In his 63-page decision, McKee, a retired state judge, determined that none of the arguments opponents offered during a two-week hearing in April warranted denying the permits to Exxon Mobil Corp. The company needs the permits to ship massive modules from the port in Lewiston and through Montana to the oil sands in southern Alberta, Canada. The company initially projected transporting more than 200 shipments on the scenic roadway, generally along the route of the historic Lewis and Clark expedition. But in recent months, Exxon Mobil has spent millions of dollars to reduce the size of more than a dozen of the modules delivered to the port last year. Earlier this month, state highway officials approved permits to truck the smaller loads north along Highway 95 through Moscow to Interstate 94.