Calumet Megaloads Depart the Port of Wilma 7-19-14 (July 19, 2014 Wild Idaho Rising Tide photos)
According to at least four Saturday, July 19, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) eyewitnesses, two of the three Calumet tar sands refinery hydrocracker sections stranded at the Port of Wilma, Washington, since mid-December 2013 have vanished . During the week of July 20, Bigge Crane and Rigging of San Leandro, California, is likely hauling these megaloads via river, rail, or road, from the port on the Snake River near Clarkston to the Montana Refining Company in Great Falls. Last observed and described (but not documented with photos?) on short, heavy-duty, 12-axle trailers at the port on Tuesday, July 15, the loads were missing when a Saturday morning scout noticed crews still in the port lot previously leased for storage and staging of Omega Morgan “water filtration units.” Questions about whether the hydrocracker parts departed by barge or rail downriver still linger, but after only a few days of travel, these megaloads may not have gone far.
In the fenced port compound, Bigge left white trailer pieces resembling the steel suspension systems seen around other huge fossil fuel extraction contraptions in the region since February 2011. The company also abandoned the half-million-pound, lightest weight piece of the hydrocracker, the bottom part of the column formed by stacking the three components upright. Its largest diameter, not weight, may have proved the critical factor restricting its passage by train through tunnels, close bi-directional tracks, or other rail line impediments . Megaload owners and haulers cannot further downsize the three rusty, cylindrical sections and, as announced by late-May newspaper accounts, are probably shipping them to a trans-loading facility for transport on Schnabel train cars . They could be moving the megaloads to the Port of Umatilla on the Oregon side of the Columbia River and attempting the previously permitted eastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and western Montana heavy-haul route pummeled by three almost-as-massive Omega Morgan loads last winter, especially while forest fires close eastern Oregon rural routes. Continue reading