Firm Seeks to Undo Megaloads Ruling

If judge won’t halt suspension, company will appeal

A General Electric subsidiary said a federal judge made several legal errors when he barred megaloads from using U.S. Highway 12, and has asked him to reconsider.

If the request is denied, attorneys for Resources Conservation Company International (RCCI) said they will appeal the ruling by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill that closed the highway to its contracted shipper Omega Morgan and its plans to haul massive water purification equipment to Canadian oil fields via the highway.

On September 12, Winmill ruled against RCCI and the U.S. Forest Service and issued a preliminary injunction ordering the agency to block the loads.  The Nez Perce Tribe and the environmental group Idaho Rivers United requested the injunction.  On September 17, Regional Forester Faye Kruger of Missoula, Montana, issued an order barring megaloads from using the portion of the highway that crosses the forest.

In his ruling, Winmill said the agency’s failure to stop the shipments violated several federal laws, including the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act as well as the Clearwater National Forest Plan.  That ruling was based, in part, on a phone conversation between Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Nez Perce Tribal Chairman Silas Whitman, in which Tidwell reportedly refused Whitman’s request to block the loads. Continue reading