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Protests Continue Tonight Against Highway 12 “Megaload”

PHOTO: The over-sized shipment Omega Morgan is moving along Highway 12 this week, with protesters trying to stop it every night. Photo courtesy of Borg Hendrickson
PHOTO: The over-sized shipment Omega Morgan is moving along Highway 12 this week, with protesters trying to stop it every night. Photo courtesy of Borg Hendrickson
August 8, 2013

KOOSKIA, Idaho - The nights have been long along Highway 12 in North Idaho this week. Protesters, including the Nez Perce tribe, have been trying to block an over-sized load that they say will violate federal law once it reaches the Wild and Scenic Corridor section of the road - and that's expected tonight. Omega Morgan is shipping the equipment through Idaho to get to an oil project in Alberta, Canada. The load is so large that all traffic has to be stopped as it moves, and the Idaho Transportation Department granted a permit for that to happen.

Linwood Laughy lives along the highway.

"The folks that are opposed to this are really kind of amazed and I think getting very angry that this company just feels like they can just flaunt federal law, Laughy said.

A federal judge ruled in a previous "megaload" case that the Forest Service has to grant permission when the shipment reaches the Wild and Scenic Corridor. Omega Morgan issued a statement saying they had worked with the Forest Service, while the Forest Service supervisor denied that happened, or that permission was granted.

Laughy said it should be interesting today.

"We don't know what the Forest Service is going to do," Laughy said. "We don't know what the tribe's going to do; we can kind of guess. We haven't completely decided what we're going to do. I guess the only thing that's predictable is probably that Omega Morgan is going to come driving up the highway."

The issue is not new. Oil company plans to ship giant equipment along the highway last year were challenged in court. The companies decided to use other routes.

Nez Perce tribal members have been holding drumming circles along the highway to try to block the shipment.


Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID