Feds to Idaho Transportation Department: No More Megaloads on U.S. 12 

  • Adam Rosenlund
It has been nearly seven years since massive shipments of oil refining equipment starting crawling their way through pristine corridors of north-central Idaho, en route to the tar sands of Canada. The controversial—yet hilariously named—"megaloads" have long been at the center of protests and legal action, but it looks like all that has come to an end.

In a letter this week, the U.S. Forest Service told the Idaho Transportation Department to hit the brakes on the shipments, resolving a 2013 lawsuit filed by the Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Rivers United and Advocates for the West to stop megaloads from rolling along U.S. Highway 12. The Forest Service said "traditional" oversized shipments (i.e. logging and local equipment transport) could continue on U.S. 12, but megaloads (exceeding 16 feet in width, 150 feet in length or 150,000 pounds) would need to come to a halt.

"Based on current information, [the restriction] will now protect the aesthetic and cultural values and the unique experiences associated with the Lochsa [River] corridor," wrote USFS Regional Forester Leanne Marten in the letter.

Environmental advocates cheered the restriction.

“After years of dispute, we are glad to put this saga behind us,” said Laird J. Lucas, executive director of Advocates for the West. “I take heart in knowing that this jewel of the West will remain a treasured and protected landscape.”

Read the letter from USFS here:

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