Idaho Government at Work


Richard Wesson, Pullman

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 3/6/12

Here are two issues that megaload supporters should consider if they value a responsive and responsible government.

Without question, the transport of hundreds of insanely huge loads up U.S. Highway 12 will quite significantly alter the character and traditional use of that stretch of road and river. The adjacent businesses and the local residents along that route should rightfully expect at least some say in such a radical change to their neighborhood.

The powers that be never intended for there to ever be any public comment. ConocoPhillips lead the way by applying for the first loads and secretly conspired for several years with Idaho officials. A solid agreement had been reached and physical preparations were already underway before there was an initial public announcement of the scheme.

Residents were shut out of providing any input. That official policy was not reversed until a challenge reached the Idaho Supreme Court. The resultant hearings by the Idaho Transportation Department were run more like a kangaroo court than an arena to hear and measure competing claims. Soon after, the Idaho Legislature passed legislation, quite flawed and most probably unconstitutional, aimed precisely to stifle dissenting challenges to the megaloads.

The Idaho government worked hard to exclude input, and it’s quite revealing to note that Jason Kreizenbeck, Governor Butch Otter’s chief of staff since 2007, resigned last October to become a lobbyist for the client he had evidently been working for all along — ConocoPhillips.

If that stench doesn’t bother Idaho residents, maybe this will bother Idaho taxpayers. The Idaho Transportation Department recently revealed that proceeds from megaload shipping permits are falling some $645,000 short of covering annual costs as expected, leading the Idaho Statesman to ask in an editorial comment (February 1): “How’s that for running government like a business?”

(Link provided by Tom Hansen)

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