by jhwygirl

I shoulda’ checked my email first, before writing the post below.

This photo comes courtesy Missoula resident and transportation advocate John Wolverton:

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  1. Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

    That is one awesome picture!! That log truck sure gives a great perspective. Can one safely assume that you will be attending the public meeting this Thursday in Missoula? (see schedule below)

    As my District contains the south side of Hwy 200 in Powell and Lewis & Clark Counties, I will be attending the meeting in Lincoln.

    I was at the RTIC meeting last summer when the presentation was made. My understanding of the project is a little different than yours in your other post. For example, my understanding is that it is a total of about 220 loads with up to 2 per day – not 2 loads everyday for a year. And of course, not all the loads will be the “Mother of all Loads”. Also I believe they can stop traffic for no more than 10 minutes, not 15 minutes. Also I believe they will do most of the really high impact travel on Hwy 93 between midnite and 6am.

    I imagine getting over Lolo Pass and Rogers Pass will be “interesting”.

    MDT invites all interested parties to review the EA and provide
    comments at any of the three upcoming public hearings:
    • Tuesday, April 27, 2010, Cut Bank Civic Center, 800 E.
    Railroad, Cut Bank
    • Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Lincoln School Gymnasium, 808 Main St, Lincoln
    • Thursday, April 29, 2010, Meadow Hill Middle School, Old Gymnasium, 4210 Reserve, Missoula
    Each public hearing will follow the same agenda: starting at 6:00 p.m. there will be an open house, followed by a presentation and public hearing at 6:30 p.m. The open house and brief presentation will be held prior to the official public comment period. The presentation will summarize the project history, present the Preferred Alternative, and describe the environmental process.

    • problembear

      this is just exxon pulling a cheney and telling us poor dumb unemployed montanans to go #@^% ourselves, corporate style…..

      exxon built these using non-american and non-canadian welders, machinists, engineers. now they want us to open up our highways to let them move their earth chewing machinery to pass. and they didn’t even have to pay any corporate income tax this year.

      i say they don’t pass until they hand over a check to cover all the unemployment checks that america had to lay out to cover our workers who were put out of work building these monsters.

      what do you say mr schweitzer? mr baucus? mr tester?

      why does this nation roll over and beg every time a big corporation wants us to make them more profitable?

      • Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

        PB – you know not of which you speak. I challenge you to find ONE west coast company that can build the required product. Perhaps if you did your homework, you would discover that there are none. And it is not feasible to ship it from the US East coast.

        So the most economical and logical path is to have it built elsewhere and shipped through Montana via the Columbia River Port at the ID/MT border. I’m sure Exxon would be happy to entertain your alternate ideas for the project. I wasn’t aware that you are a project expert/manager on something like this.

        • problembear

          so why are you resident apologist for one of the most vile and contemptible corporate pirates to come out of the era of reaganomics?

          we both know that cheap wages drove exxon to build these in korea. any product can be made in the usa if a company wants to pay decent wages for union workers. i cite boeing as one.

          if we can build minuteman lll and nuclear trident missiles in seattle i am sure we can figure out how to build one of these. nice try. what else you got?

          • Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

            Name ONE company on the West Coast that can handle the manufacturing and shipping requirements for this project. If you can name one, call Exxon – they would like to know.

            Why would you assume that we “both know” anything?

            I’ll just ignore the rest of your political baiting.

            The ball is in YOUR court to name a company. You seem to assume that building a missile and the parts for the oil field that are scheduled to ship through Montana are in the same category. I disagree.

            You mention Boeing. I worked there for many years. Boeing is now an assembler – they just put planes together from parts built elsewhere. Surely you have seen the 737 fuselage on the trains passing through MT.

            • problembear

              why does it have to be the west coast mike?…..

              i mean, if we’re building it in america couldn’t it have been more easily shipped through the st lawrence seaway and the great lakes?

              you are the one hysterically trying to cover for exxon’s greed and complete abandonment of america’s workers here.

              explain why.

              • Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

                why does it have to be the west coast mike?…..

                Look at the logistics. Shipping across the US via surface transportation is not feasible. Just look at the issues over a few hundred miles of travel in Montana. Can you imagine getting more states involved?

                The POE at Lewiston, from my limited perspective and knowledge, appears to be the most logical choice.

                People with far more experience and knowledge than I on this have made their decision as to the most logical ( and perhaps, profitable) route.

                While I may have several months more over all awareness of the project, I doubt I have much more knowledge of the actual decision making process than you. All we can do is to read the public data and form our own opinions.

                Based on what I have read and heard, it will impact Montana citizens. I don’t have enough information to know if the benefits of that (oil recovery) outweigh the negatives to us.

                Perhaps after attending one of the public meetings and asking questions, we can better answer that.

              • JC

                “People with far more experience and knowledge than I on this have made their decision”

                There’s an EA at the center of the issue here. Are you suggesting that decisions have already been made, and that the EA is just a rubber stamp?

                That would be illegal, and open the EA to successful legal challenge.

            • problembear

              but since you insist on west coast for some reason here are a few in portland.

              the fact is mike you are skirting this issue because you don’t like to see america’s work force dismantled by international corporations any more than i do. this is a crucial issue. we simply cannot continue to support corporations anymore who ship our jobs overseas. it is time to draw the line here and you know it.

              corporate greed has gutted this country long enough with the help of politicians dumb enough or corrupt enough to carry their water for them.

              the american worker has had enough of this.

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            • mike- saw a good sign today in missoula that is apropos for our discussion regarding your negative view of america’s union work force and the decline of america’s manufacturing base …..

              american – note that the last part says i can.

              i am an independent who believes both parties are complicit in enabling corporations to dismantle our manufacturing base for profit and this is a dangerous situation which needs to be addressed.

              i say if a corporation goes overseas to make their product and avoids taxes through foreign tax shelters they do not deserve any protection from our enemies. our kids are dying to protect the property rights of oil companies like exxon all over the world.

              americans need to take back the tools and rebuild our country. and if this means getting rid of politicians who support the corporate raiders who are traitor to this country’s workers then so be it.

      • wes

        Exxon takes oil and jobs out of Canada and brings foreign workers in to brake unions with cheap labor .

    • Rep. Miller – I am bothered by the lack of analysis and the seeming leap towards the “Preferred Alternative”. 200+ pages? + maps and appendices and we only have 4 paragraphs analyzing dismissing the others?

      This is a permanent corridor – it might be that Exxon is paying for it, but even they explain that in their assessment.

      A $1,600 permit? To carry those kinds of loads over our roads and bridges? Come one down and take a drive over Lolo Pass – it’s a nice drive, and the Lochsa Lodge has a nice lunch or dinner in nice setting….but try and get all the way over to Lewistown. That road is narrow. People pass, and I can’t imagine they keep to 15 minute delays. No way, no how.

      Let ’em take the federal highways, and let the feds pick up the tab….because if they’re only charging $1,600 a permit, I can’t see how the cost and impact isn’t going to filter down to locals.

      From Lolo to Reserve Street? Really? That stretch isn’t sufficient to carry the traffic it does now – and they want to move these things across that? I can’t imagine.

      • Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

        I can’t imagine.

        J’ girl – I guess you need to expand your imagination. I agree it is not a non-impactive issue. I have driven over Lolo Pass many times – it is a beautiful drive. Get the facts as to how many loads and at what time of day they will occur.

        I hope you will read the assessment, attend the meeting and gain some more factual information. I am not implying that you do not have the facts now – but I believe you might gain more insight from the meeting.

        Believe me when I say that this is not a trivial matter and it will impact, negatively, a lot of Montanans. Do not assume that just because I am an R that I totally support this project.

  2. problembear

    above should read “….out of work while koreans were building these monsters.”

  3. pj

    You know, it’s just a thought, but if we could somehow get the tar sands projects stopped there would be no need for this mess, now would there?

    http://www.dirtyoilsands.org/

  4. Lizard

    whoring out our highways for one of the most destructive energy projects the world has ever seen is a terrible idea.

    but, on the bright side, this issue of transporting massive hardware is a perfect chance to educate people not just about the tar sands, but the looming global energy crisis in general, because it’s not so much looming as already here.

    no matter how much we may want to deny it, peak oil is a reality. that’s why obama opened up off shore drilling. that’s why we’re fighting wars in the middle east. i use to think protestors with their signs saying it’s all about oil were being too simplistic. but after digging into ruppert’s crossing the rubicon that sentiment seems right on target.

  5. carfreestupidity

    I think this discussion is missing the fact that Exxon will spend $21 million on Montana highways to expand and improve the road surface. I’m sure that is a factor MDOT is taking into account… thats a mighty big carrot Exxon is swinging in front of the state’s face.

    • Big Swede

      If I were some ecogeek bike rider I’d look at this as a good thing.

      You could ride under the overhang, grab on and free ride it over the pass.

    • JC

      I wouldn’t call building 53 new turnouts or modifying 22 existing turnouts as expanding and improving the road surface. I don’t see any significant improvements happening to our highways because of this project. And hauling those sizes of loads will have an unmitigated impact on our roads that won’t show up until Exxon has moved on. And who will be paying for road repairs down the road? MT taxpayers.

      If you want to look at the carrot here, it isn’t the upfront money that is being shown for mitigation. Look to other, more opaque carrots, like campaign contributions, job offers, investor scams, pipeline and electrical transmission corridor contracts… dare I say kickbacks and payoffs???

  6. Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

    I’ll hold off further comments until after the meeting in Missoula tonight is over and people there have had a chance to get all the facts and have their questions answered.

    I attended the meeting in Lincoln last night. There were close to 50 of the public there and around 15-20 “staff”. I was the only legislator, there was one candidate from HD17 and a couple County Commissioners. My impression is that, like with most projects, there are pluses and minuses. The meeting was orderly and professionally run with some good questions asked – like, with 10 minute delays, how do you handle emergency vehicles? A few people tried to get outside the scope of the meeting, which was clearly spelled out beforehand. I’d suggest getting there early and spending time asking questions one on one with the staff. They appeared willing to answer just about anything.

    I’ll also note that I have not read the EA and likely will not read it as this is an MDOT project that I have no say in and I currently have higher priorities for my time.

    • JC

      “with 10 minute delays, how do you handle emergency vehicles?”

      People will die with delays like this. My daughter was in a car crash on highway 12 by Lolo Pass. The first paramedic on the scene said if he would have been there 5 minutes later she would have died.

      I don’t care how many plusses you can put up there. Not one of them would have given me my daughter back.

      I’ll fight this project until it is dead. Fuck Exxon.

      • Big Swede

        Reason for the crash?

        • JC

          Narrow winding highway, with gravel 3 inches off of white stripe. Driver (not my daughter) overcorrected after gravel grabbed tire. Car rolled. No citations issued. No drugs, alcohol or speeding involved. Daytime, good weather. Accidents happen.

          Don’t try and place blame where none exists, BS.

      • Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

        Take a deep breath, JC. I may have given the wrong impression or you may have misinterpreted what I wrote. I posted a question that was asked. I did not post the answer. Before you go “fuck Exxon”, you just might want to inform yourself what the answer was. Although I doubt there is anything anyone on this earth could do that would get you to support the project as you have already made up your mind without knowing the facts. Of course, that is your freedom of choice to do.

        • JC

          Fact: “10 minute delay.”

          Unacceptable. It could kill people. I don’t even need to get into any of the other elements of this project to have made up my mind.

          • Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

            You are not using that “fact” correctly. I fully agree that delaying an emergency vehicle for up to 10 minutes could and would be lethal. However, that is NOT the case. You are uninformed – but go ahead and make up your mind.

            • JC

              Mike, unlike you, I have read the EA, and know what a 10 minute delay is, and how it would impact emergency vehicles on the narrow highway 12 corridor.

              It is you who are self-admittedly uninformed.

              • Rep. Mike Miller, HD84

                So then you already know how they handle the emergency vehicles by monitoring the emergency frequencies and holding up transport until the emergency vehicle can pass. Glad to hear that. Your diatribe didn’t indicate you possessed the knowledge that no emergency vehicle would be held up for 10 minutes.

              • JC

                In the area where my daughter had her accident, there was no cell communications available. Nor were there any emergency frequencies available to responders.

                The first person on site had to drive 5 miles to get to a land phone.

                If the transport is in the middle of its move, there is no way to get an emergency vehicle around it in many places–cliffs on one side, river and drop offs on the other.

                I have looked at scenarios, and do not see how they can mitigate them in all cases, using my daughter’s as an example. They can’t, and any attempt to say they can are just a whitewash and lies. I’ll be testifying to this effect.

                You obviously don’t know much about communications availability along the highway 12 or 200 corridors. Or you wouldn’t sound like such a dufus.

  7. Found out tonight that there will be delays in both directions – as the load is as wide as both lanes.

    If you are a private person trying to get yourself or a family member to the hospital? You are screwed – they won’t know it, unless you are in an ambulance or with police escort.

    I don’t believe the 10-minute delay thing one bit. I downloaded the entire EA and its appendices…and the turning radius’? In town? No friggin way – they have to spin overhead traffic signals – these trucks, with the push/pull vehicles, are over 300 feet long (they didn’t actually answer that question). So when they say the trailer is 210 feet long? That doesn’t include the push/pull vehicles.

    Up passes? They’ll need an additional push vehicle.

    I’ll be going through my notes to write up a post…but after listening listening tonight to the Q&A? After hearing them unable to answer questions and continually say that “we’re moving at night so it won’t be a problem” and “they won’t drop the load” and “we’ll talk to people or wait if we can’t use a turnout” I have more concerns than what I had when I first heard of this.

    These guys are obviously loving MEPA – because they don’t have to analyze anything that isn’t in MT – which makes it nice and easy for the Idaho side of things – or many of the alternatives. They continually would stop people when they asked about areas of Hwy 12 that were in Idaho “Is that in MT, because we are only looking at the MT route?” he would say.

    • Imagine one tire on the right side of a trailer with a load miscalculates and hits a soft edge along a Blackfoot turnout or a Lolo Creek turnout or a Lochsa turnout? Those spots where there’s barely a shoulder now?

      Tell me – where’s that load going?

      There’s little room for error on many parts of Hwy12 and Hwy 200 as it is…

  8. wes

    what about canadian jobs its our oil.

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