Lee Rozen, for the Editorial Board
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 1/30/15
Don’t say a word until your attorney gets there, said one member of the editorial board.
Oh, I’d invite them in, because I’d be so curious about what they were interested in asking me, said another.
Just because I’d tell them they could ask, doesn’t mean I’d answer, said another.
Don’t say a word without your lawyer, the first repeated.
To be clear, the FBI has no interest in asking your editorial board any questions.
But they sure would like to talk to members of Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and other Northwest environmental activists. Continue reading
Kas Dumroese, Moscow
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 1/14/15
Just because everyone wants an improved U.S. Highway 95 Thorncreek to Moscow doesn’t justify ignoring law, especially by the government. We still drive on old U.S. 95 because the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) ignored law concerning selection of E-2, which required an extensive, expensive, and time-consuming Environmental Impact Statement. Instead, we could be celebrating a decade of driving on an equally well-designed, safe C-3 that uses more of the existing U.S. 95 footprint than E-2 would on the flank of Paradise Ridge.
E-2 is touted by its proponents as having less impact on farming, and is cheaper, shorter, and safer than C-3. What does ITD’s Draft EIS say? Compared to C-3, E-2 converts 55 percent more total land, 100 percent more prime farm land, and 36 percent more farmland of state importance (Table 42, pages 147-148). It also removes 34 percent more land from the Latah County tax base, through new right-of-way acquisitions. E-2 would cost $4 million more to construct than C-3 (page 11). For the nearly six miles of new alignment with either alternative, C-3 would be a whopping 475 feet longer than E-2 (Table 52, page 174). Using ITD’s data (Safety Technical Report Appendix D and page 174) and doing some simple calculations, the chance of safely traversing the “least safe” C-3 route is 99.99951 percent per trip, and it skyrockets to 99.99966 percent if you travel on the “safest” route, E-2. And your chance of an accident at any access/entry point along E-2 (0.0022 percent) is actually double that for C-3 (0.0011 percent).
If you think those differences in length and safety seem tiny, you might be surprised to hear that ITD agrees with you (page 204): “the travel times and safety between Action Alternatives [C-3 and E-2] do not differ substantially.”
Scotta Callister, John Day, Oregon
Blue Mountain Eagle 11/25/13
When it comes to the idea of megaloads rolling through Grant County, residents have been far from united. The reactions were all over the map after Omega Morgan’s plan to make night runs through the county en route to Idaho and Montana, with huge equipment destined for the tar sands of Canada, was revealed earlier this month.
Some folks are getting out the lawn chairs and video cameras to watch the first big rig roll through. Others see the transport as the symbol of corporate greed and America’s overuse of natural resources; protests are possible. In the middle are a lot of folks who are just plain bemused and baffled by the fuss.
We come by this mixed state naturally – In part, it’s the product of too little information, too hastily purveyed. The public deserved a little more time to digest the plans and consider the ramifications.
A public meeting, pulled together by the county judge last week, elicited some information from an Omega Morgan project manager, but it didn’t answer all the concerns, and in the end, it had no effect on whether or when the first superload would begin its move. Continue reading
Linda Widner, Weiser
The Argus Observer 8/29/13
(Washington County) Commissioner Anderson and Commissioner Chandler, I’m writing this letter to ask you why you feel following reasonable ordinances is too much for oil companies? Are they not a multibillion-dollar industry?
Yes, I agree we need more job opportunities in Washington County. However, I also believe if the oil company causes damage to land, water, animals, and people, it needs to be responsible to take care of whatever damages it causes. If it decides to drill on your property and it stirs up methane gas, are you going to pay to fix that problem? Do you think your insurance company will gladly pay? I don’t think so.
I recently read an MSN article regarding fracking and how banks and lending agencies are revisiting their lending policies to account for potential impacts of drilling. Also, home insurance policies do not cover residential properties with gas leases or gas wells.
You, like other politicians, were elected by voters to watch out for our best interests. Instead, it seems politicians only want the job for their own personal agendas. Please work for our community.
Marty Trillhaase, Editorial Page Editor, Lewiston
The Lewiston Tribune 6/30/13
Topography and weather blocked ExxonMobil’s grand plan for a fleet of 200 megaloads following a well-coordinated timetable toward the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, along U.S. Highway 12.
Winter and tight corners along the river corridor meant only a test load reached the Montana state line – days later than planned – only to be stopped by legal hurdles on the other side.
Loads piled up at the Port of Lewiston until they were cut down to sizes capable of clearing interstate highway overpasses and sent on their way north along U.S. Highway 95.
Left in limbo, however, was the fate of the occasional megaload.
Ruling in favor of Idaho Rivers United, U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill last winter ruled that the U.S. Forest Service is obligated to exercise jurisdiction over any megaload seeking to traverse the Wild and Scenic River corridor along Highway 12. Continue reading
Alma Hasse, Payette County
The Argus Observer 6/20/13
On Monday, June 24, at 11 am, the Payette County Board of County Commissioners will be making their decision on the draft oil and gas ordinance before them.
Our Planning and Zoning Commission spent six months working on this ordinance. They held two public hearings and a by-invitation panel discussion that included Michael Lewis, Director of the Idaho U.S. Geological Survey office, Mark Hilty, Nampa land use attorney, and residents from both Payette and Washington counties.
What the Commissioners learned – contrary to what they had been told by industry – was that they could indeed regulate this industry and that, in Mr. Hilty’s legal opinion, they have an OBLIGATION to do so. Oil and gas drilling is a heavy industrial activity. Normally, heavy industrial activities are limited to operating inside areas specifically zoned for heavy industrial use. Our land use decision makers – both the Planning and Zoning Commission and our Commissioners – have the moral responsibility to enact good, protective ordinances that will protect our greatest resource, our drinking water. They need to ensure that they have taken EVERY precaution to protect our drinking water aquifers AND our surface waters. The City of Fruitland gets a lot of its drinking water from the Payette River. Continue reading