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Korean Documents Show 10-Year Promise for Highway 12



October 15, 2010

BOISE, Idaho - It took a team of Korean translators to discover that promises have been made about U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho as a long-term "high and wide" industrial equipment shipping route. The translations coordinated by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) show ExxonMobil plans to use the scenic byway for shipping for 10 years, even though shipping proposals available to the public so far outline a short-term limited use.

Bobby McEnaney with NRDC says the discovery was made in business documents filed by the company that manufactures the equipment.

"We're not quite sure why this is coming out through Korean documents and not Exxon or the State of Idaho, or the State of Montana. It makes more sense to have an up-front process."

McEnaney notes the secrecy surrounding the project complicates the concerns about negative effects on tourism, potential accidents, and inconvenience for locals along the shipping route. He adds the call is going out again for an open process and full assessment before any highway shipping begins.

"A lot of the groups concerned about the proposal from day one have simply asked for that to be done first, before we see the states, or the federal government, start approving projects that have significant impacts on the resource."

The first pieces of the equipment arrived at the Port of Lewiston Thursday. They're bound for a tar sands oil project in Alberta, Canada.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID