Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IRU Worried Less About Conoco, More About Exxon

Posted By on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Lewiston-For Idaho Rivers United, something larger than the mega-loads is about to roll from the Port of Lewiston. It's the precedence those loads set.

If all goes as planned, ConocoPhillips will begin moving four giant coke drums across U.S. Highway 12 to its Billings, Mont., refinery tonight. Ideally the process will take about a month.

"I'm less worried about the Conoco mega-loads," Kevin Lewis, conservation director of IRU told Citydesk. "But it's those 200-plus ExxonMobile shipments that we really need to worry about."

As Lewis spoke to Citydesk in a Lewiston coffeeshop on the banks of the Clearwater River, he was putting the finishing touches on a letter that he was about to fire off to the United States Forest Service.

"The USFS holds the key here," said Lewis. "They've already said they're keeping a very close eye on these shipments and that they're concerned. Now, we want them to act on that concern."

Lewis said the Forest Service has an obligation to enforce the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The law directs the USFS to oversee river management plans.

"To our knowledge, no formal Forest Service review has been conducted on the new use of the Highway 12 corridor for the frequent transport of mega-load shipments," the letter stated. "If a formal review has been conducted, why has not public information been released?"

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