In a quickly developing situation, Omega Morgan, a heavy-haul specialist, is applying for permits from the Idaho Transportation Department to transport two megaloads across US 12 and into Montana. Both loads arrived at the Port of Wilma in Washington on Monday July 22. One of the loads is approximately 255-feet long, 21-feet wide, 23-feet tall and 644,000lbs. Omega Morgan has indicated that they intend on shipping 9-10 megaloads up US 12 in the coming months.
To back-track a bit, you may recall that Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor Rick Brazell sent a letter to the Idaho Transportation Department on June 17, 2013 outlining interim criteria that any future megaload(s) would have to meet, in order to get authorization from the federal agency. This authority stems from the February 2013 ruling by Judge B. Lynn Winmill, that indeed, the Forest Service has the authority to regulate megaloads on the national forest and within the wild & scenic river corridor. Read the FS letter to the Idaho Transportation Department.
All of this is developing into a showdown between the federal government, the state of Idaho, and of course, the Nez Perce Tribe. The Tribe is a sovereign nation and will need to be consulted by any proposal to transport megaloads through their reservation.
It’s important to point out, that in a letter dated April 4, 2013, Advocates for the West contacted Omega Morgan, as per their inquiries, into the potential impacts that the Winmill decision may have on future proposals to haul megaloads on US 12. Three months later, despite the possible legal consequences, Omega Morgan has begun seeking permits to haul equipment up the scenic byway. Read the letter.
Which brings us to our last point. Time is critical and we would greatly appreciate it if you would take a few minutes and send Supervisor Rick Brazell a letter of support, thanking for him his stance on future megaload proposals, and encouraging the agency to remain steadfast as political pressure mounts to approve the loads.
Letters can be sent via email or via snail mail at Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor Rick Brazell 12730 Highway 12 Orofino, Idaho 83544.