Background: In September 2013, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United, and granted a temporary injunction against the future transport of Omega Morgan megaloads on US Highway 12 in the Middle Fork Clearwater and Lochsa Wild and Scenic River corridor. The judge ruled that the Forest Service must issue a highway closure order between mile markers 74 and 174 (Wild and Scenic River corridor) and that the closure is to remain in effect until the Forest Service completes its study, followed by completion of its consultation obligation with the Nez Perce Tribe.
Earlier in 2013, the Forest Service developed “interim criteria” that would govern whether over-sized shipments would require agency approval to travel through the corridor. The “interim criteria” for oversized loads are:
- Exceeding 16 feet in width or 150 feet in length.
- Requiring longer than 12 hours to travel through the Wild and Scenic corridor and national forest.
- Requiring physical modification of the roadway or adjacent vegetation to facilitate passage beyond normal highway maintenance.
September 2016: The Idaho Transportation Department issued a news release stating there will be a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 28, to gather public comments on a proposed rule that would regulate non-reducible oversized (megaloads) shipments along Highway 12, specifically within the Wild and Scenic River corridor, according to the “interim criteria.”
The September 28 hearing will take place from 4:00 – 7:00 pm MST at the Idaho Transportation Department headquarters, 3311 W. State St., Boise. Public comments may simultaneously be made at transportation department district offices via video-conference in Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Shoshone, Pocatello and Rigby. Please check the ITD website for the location of ITD’s district offices.
TAKE ACTION: Please join us in attending the hearing in Boise, attend the hearing via video-conference, or submit a public comment via email or regular mail. It is important for the public to voice opposition to a “rule making process” that has little transparency and has no jurisdiction over a federal court’s decision. If you cannot attend the hearing, the deadline for sending public comments is October 14.
If you are sending your comment via regular mail:
Idaho Transportation Department
PO Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707-1129
TALKING POINTS TO CONSIDER
- - The “interim rules” put forth by the Forest Service are not necessarily going to be the permanent guidelines that govern how the agency makes decisions regarding non-reducible oversized shipments looking to travel the Wild and Scenic River corridor.
- - While the state of Idaho has the authority to conduct rule making for matters under its jurisdiction, this is not one of them. In other words, if Idaho chooses to adopt this rule following public involvement, it does not take precedence over the results from the on-going government-to-government consultation, and the on-going discussions with plaintiffs Idaho Rivers United. The state of Idaho is wasting taxpayer dollars by drafting and possibly creating a rule for a situation over which it has no jurisdiction.
- - The current rule making process being conducted by the state of Idaho and the Idaho Transportation Department lacks genuine transparency and public involvement. The state has already proposed the rule; Idaho could have engaged the public before the rule-making proposal if it was truly interested in public dialogue and concern.
- - The public does not support the permitting of non-reducible oversized (megaloads) on Highway 12 or within the Wild and Scenic River Corridor. This is rehashing what has already been decided.
|Friends of the Clearwater
|Idaho Rivers United
|Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment
This comment form is now closed.
End date: Oct 14, 2016
Signatures collected: 8