Powerful article. Sickening, painful story. Courageous people, willing, and finally able, to speak the ugly truth, to sue, and to tear down the mission. Do tear it down. Save no icons within, no matter who tells you they have value. The mission and every object within have NO value.
Mr. Logic, your kind of hatred is the bane of America.
On the other hand, you are correct that the megaload solution is to bring the manufacturing of tarsands equipment to North America. Having been stopped by months of Idaho & Montana citizen action and a Montana injunction from shipping 207 Korean-made mega-modules through Idaho on U.S.12 and through Montana to Canada, ExxonMobil's subsidiary Imperial Oil has now begun doing just that -- having their modules made in North America.
However, Jean, has the even-better solution: The oil/gas corporations need to stop ravaging the earth just to get richer than they already are. They have literally scraped the skin off the earth -- thousands of acres of lush carbon-capturing boreal forests gone! -- in the tarsands. These corporations are also polluting streams and air, which, by the way, has damaged the health of the indigenous people of northern Alberta -- you know, the fathers, mothers, and children you, Mr. Logic, hate.
And with respect to U.S. Highway 12; that is, with respect to the nationally designated Lochsa-Clearwater Wild & Scenic corridor, NW Passage Scenic Byway, Lewis & Clark National Historical Trail, Nez Perce National Historical Trail, and 1 of only 30 All-American Roads -- yes all of these, the oil corporations want to permanently industrialize by turning U.S.12 into a megaload route to the tarsands. And we're not just talking of 3 GE loads, or 10 Harvest Operations megaloads made in Korea and headed to a tarsands project owned by the Korean Government (that's right, foreign-government-owned), or even of 207 Imperial Oil megaloads. We're talking about no fewer that 81 tarsands projects which will want to ship thousands of megaloads through the Wild & Scenic corridor in Idaho or through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and possibly Washington -- via some other route. That's what we're talking about.
I doubt Missoulians want Hwy. 93 and Reserve Street turned into an industrialized megaload truck route to the tarsands any more than Idahoans want Wild & Scenic U.S.12 turned into one.
An energy diet won't do. It's time to stock a new energy larder. With immediacy and gusto.
If some giant wind farm corporations wanted to transform our scenic rural river corridors, including nationally designated Wild and Scenic River corridors, into their industrial megaload truck route, you can bet your whirlin' fan we'd resist that too. Corporate profits should not willy-nilly trump the lifestyles, livelihoods, safety and treasured places of everyday Americans. We matter.
As George says, however, we must stand up for ourselves and fight the ever-present corporate bullies.
Sorry, Alex, but the Idaho courts have NOT "snatched victory from opposition forces time and again." Last summer, in the ONLY court case Idaho opponents have fought, they WON on the legal merits of their case. That decision was appealed by Imperial/Exxon to the state supreme court, which sidestepped any ruling on the merits by pointing the plaintiffs towards an ITD administrative process known as a "contested case hearing" -- one against permitting the Conoco Phillips' loads, and one against the permitting of the Imperial/Exxon loads. The hearing officers, who happen to be retired judges, were hired by ITD. Although the latter case has yet to be concluded with a final order from ITD Director Ness, both officers have made recommendations that favor ITD's original intent to permit the loads. To conclude the CP hearing, Ness accepted the recommendation. Should he likewise accept the recommendation in the Imperial/Exxon case, the Idaho opponents may take that case to the court for judicial review. So to date: only one court case, and the opponents won it.
You're a wise man, Ben Long. Not to mention a fine writer. Your references to what we typically think of as the addict's spiral of destruction are so apt. And the CBS figures so startling.
I am reminded of a less obvious but nevertheless tragic form of damaging rivers that right now threatens the Blackfoot and Idaho's Lochsa-Clearwater rivers: that is, Imperial Oil-Exxon's attempt to transform these river corridors into an industrial tar sands truck route. The "pollution" in this case is attitudinal -- the oil giant intends to render the rivers irrelevant.
You referred to our addiction to Drug Oil. I would add our addiction to Drug Profits -- equally destructive to our environment. With respect, for example, to Exxon's proposed industrial truck route, saving money to increase the profits of the planet's richest corporation is the motive for rendering the Blackfoot, the Lochsa, and the Clearwater moot.
Terrific article. There is so much to lose if the megaloads roll. People who think new jobs will emerge magically because gargantuan loads of tar sands equipment are running rolling-roadblocks throughout the night through Idaho's narrow, winding and extraordinarily beautiful and pristine U.S. Highway 12 corridor are imagining things ... ONLY imagining. The money the oil companies are spending and euphemistically calling "economic activity" are one-time expenses for infrastructure needed BY THE OIL COMPANIES in order to carry out their mega-rollover of the rural people of Idaho and Montana. Job creation in Idaho and Montana is NOT the oil companies motive nor intention. They have not even spoken of job creation. Only people like Port of Lewiston manager Doeringsfeld does -- 4-5 jobs at the port -- and then he speculates -- only speculates -- that just because megaloads are present, jobs will magically happen. That's just more imagining. The only jobs the oil companies are creating are in Asia, where the equipment has been and is being built by cheap-labor workers. Besides, were the oil companies to consider building their equipment on the North American continent, they would do so in Canada (eliminating all shipping costs) NOT in Idaho.
Lost due to the megaloads, on the other hand, will be jobs that now exist, like the jobs of the nearly 5000 people who are employed in north central Idaho's $150 million tourism industry, north central Idaho's ONLY growing industry. Transforming U.S.12 through Idaho from a scenic byway into an industrial megaload truck route will damage, potentially wreck, that industry.
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