The protracted debate over mega-loads dragged through Idaho and U.S. courtrooms for the better part of two years as ExxonMobil pushed to haul massive rigs of equipment across the Gem State before heading north to the controversial Tar Sands Oil Project in Alberta, Canada.
Boise Weekly readers first heard about mega-loads in 2010, (BW, News, "Taking te Scenic Route," July 7, 2010) but the debate continued as recently as February when a federal judge sided with mega-load opponents, affirming that the U.S. Forest Service had authority over U.S. Highway 12, which oil companies wanted to use as a regular corridor for the giant rigs (BW, News, "The Mega-Myth About Mega-Loads," Feb. 6, 2013).
Ultimately, ExxonMobil used alternate routes to move its equipment and this morning's edition of The Missoulian reports that the "saga of the mega-loads in Montana and Idaho reaches a milestone in Canada this weekend."
ExxonMobil announced that its long-anticipated first barrel of bitumen extracted from its open-pit mining operations at the Kearl Oil Sands project is expected "to come any day."
ExxonMobil said its missed its own production deadlines due to a frigid winter and "transportation complications" in Idaho, pushing the cost of its phase phase of the decades-long project from $8 billion to $12.9 billion.