The U.S. Forest Service Supervisor of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest says he was fully aware that he had the authority to halt a controversial mega-load from traveling across U.S. Highway 12, but still chose not to exercise that authority.
This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that USFS Supervisor Rick Brazell wrote a lettter to the Nez Perce Tribe, which adamantly protested the oversized shipment that crossed across U.S. 12, winding its way through the Wild and Scenic River Corridor. And in the letter, Brazell conceded that his agency objected to the mega-load, but still "made the discretionary decision not to seek enforcement action."
Brazell said the Forest Service was still collecting data on the "social, cultural and aesthetic effects" of the mega-loads passing through the corridor.
In the meantime, Brazell said he traveled to Boise Aug. 16 to plead with the Idaho Department of Transportation not to grant any permits for future mega-loads until his analysis was done. But apparently, that request fell on deaf ears. Brazell told the Tribune that his request was denied and that ITD may grant a permit to yet another mega-load as early as next week.
Meanwhile, all of the parties are expected back in federal court on Tuesday, Aug. 27. That's when the Forest Service will have to answer to an injunction from the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United, who are asking a U.S. District Court judge to force the Forest Service to exercise its authority over the corridor.