Letter to Eastern Oregonians: Megaload Road Damage Informatio​n and Solidarity


Nyssa City Manager and Councilors, Argus Observer Editorial Board, Mr. Allison, and Mr. Moore,

Although this message is long overdue, your north Idaho neighbors are nonetheless grateful for your recent expressions of concern about possible road damages and jurisdictional discrepancies imposed on eastern Oregonians by permitting and passage of three Omega Morgan-hauled “megaloads” [1, 2, 3].  As a correction to an excerpt of the second cited article below, “This is largely the same route that ExxonMobil used in 2012.  The number of those shipments in 2012?  Thirty-two.”, we would like to note that over 70 megaloads weighing up to 415,000 pounds traversed Highway 95 and Moscow between July 15, 2011, and March 6, 2012.  They originally numbered 33, but Mammoet split their 30-foot heights in half, to accommodate their movement under interstate overpasses.

A few weeks ago, just before the latest Oregon megaload onslaught and citizen resistance in the courts and streets that has kept us busy, Wild Idaho Rising Tide and four Moscow and Coeur d’Alene conservation- and climate change-oriented groups sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration and other state and federal agencies, describing our concerns about the three 1.6-million-pound, Mammoet-hauled megaloads proposed for transport, via Highways 95 and 200 and Interstate 90, to a tar sands refinery tripling production in Great Falls [4].  We plan to circulate a media release about this statement soon and trust that you will find the following excerpt useful.  Please see the original letter for citations and links, especially to photos of Highway 95 road damage inflicted by ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil megaloads, also carried by Mammoet.

Between April 11, 2011, and March 6, 2012, Mammoet hauled over 70 transports weighing up to 500,000 pounds on U.S. Highways 12 and 95 and Interstate 90 through northern Idaho, between the Port of Lewiston and Lolo or Lookout Pass and into western Montana.  Until June 2012, it transported another 280 modules across Washington, Idaho, and Montana, from Interstates 5 and 405 or U.S. Highway 395 onto Interstates 90 and 15.  All of these 350 megaloads passed through the Coeur d’Alene project area.  Expensively and dangerously facilitated by the Idaho Transportation Department, state police, and private contractors, Mammoet’s Imperial Oil shipments imperiled the safety and schedules of travelers, while delaying, confusing, and blocking public highway access and traffic with their 16- to 24-foot, two-lane widths and lengthy, glaring cargoes and convoys.  Transport operations caused personal injury and property damage through numerous accidents and collisions with vehicles, tree branches, and power lines, as they degraded highways with washboard ruts in lane centers, and pummeled saturated road beds, crumbling shoulders, and outdated bridges.  Concurrent, colossal, transportation ventures through the region, imposed by other haulers, crashed into cliffs and impeded public and private emergency services.  Most recently – and potentially significantly for water quality along the proposed Mammoet Coeur d’Alene lakeside megaload route – ITD authorized application of 1000 gallons of de-icing fluid of unknown chemical composition, to assist the re-start and summit passage of an Omega Morgan shipment hindered for weeks by weather and permit complications on the Idaho side of Lost Trail Pass.

Citizens concerned about the lax state oversight and myriad impacts of these overlegal loads, who have monitored, documented, and protested dangerous convoy practices and conditions, have additionally faced unwarranted targeting, surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and arrest by state troopers and county and city police sworn to serve public safety, but who instead protect corporate interests that challenge Idahoans’ civil liberties and risk the health and wellbeing of people, places, and the planet.  To date, police have arrested 61 Rising Tide allied climate and tribal activists and cited four more during over one hundred direct protesting and monitoring confrontations of this corporate take-over of public highways.  They and thousands of regional community members can attest that Mammoet’s operations are anything but safe, as private profit consistently usurps public interests.  During one fiscal year, Imperial Oil transports cost the Idaho Transportation Department $645,000 in administrative costs not covered by megaload permits, not to mention the millions of dollars that American taxpayers spend to repair public transportation infrastructure damaged by tar sands shipments.

We offer our support of your endeavors to inform and protect your communities from corporate abuses of public infrastructure and shared climate.  As requested by the Argus Observer, our latest media release is also included below [5].  Please forward this message to pertinent city and county officials and citizens, as our expression of solidarity with their positions on this issue.

Helen Yost

Wild Idaho Rising Tide

P.O. Box 9817, Moscow, Idaho 83843

WildIdahoRisingTide.org

Facebook.com/WildIdaho.RisingTide

[1] Can Clark Boulevard Handle the Megaload? (December 15, 2013 Argus Observer)

[2] Not So Quick to Embrace Megaloads (January 2, 2014 Argus Observer)

[3] Council Won’t Let Megaloads Use Nyssa City Streets (February 12, 2014 Argus Observer)

[4] Concerns and Comments about the Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive Temporary Overweight Truck Route (February 6, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide and Allies)

[5] Round 3: Idaho & Montana Tar Sands Megaload Protests! (February 16, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide)

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2 thoughts on “Letter to Eastern Oregonians: Megaload Road Damage Informatio​n and Solidarity

  1. Pingback: Third Omega Morgan Megaload Southern Idaho Report | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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