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Oil Project Creates Trail of Opposition in ID and MT

Posted: 05/06/2010
by Kevin Colburn

A proposal to ship massive pieces of oil extraction equipment from Korea across back roads in Idaho and Montana to Alberta is raising concerns from paddlers, conservation groups, businesses, public safety officials, and everyday citizens. 


The project would move roughly 200 huge "modules" between the fall of 2010 and 2011 along the Wild and Scenic Lochsa River, the Blackfoot River, and through Missoula, Montana.  The Forest Service and Department of Transportation completed a road widening project along the Lochsa River this spring which they state is unrelated to the energy project.  The project will lead to hundreds of other road, sign, and utility modifications, and may pose visual and safety impacts on curvy back roads like Highway 12.  It may also disrupt businesses like Lochsa River rafting outfitters. 


The project may also include work on the inland port of Lewiston Idaho, which relies on the lower Snake River dams that play a large roll in the decimation of salmon runs in the Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater rivers.  In combination with road improvements, many fear that this project is just the beginning of moving massive structures along the project route.  The equipment  is intended to support oil sand development in Alberta which is widely recognized for its impacts on water quality and quantity.  For these and other reasons the project has created a trail of opposition through Idaho and Montana.  


To learn more check out the facebook page for "The Lochsa Conservancy" 


To read the analysis of the Missoula portion of the route and comment, please go to:  Comments are due by May 14th. 

Kevin Colburn
Asheville, NC