BOISE, Idaho — A giant shipment of oil refinery equipment bound for Canada through a scenic northern Idaho river corridor resumed its journey late Tuesday, despite a second straight night of protests.

The load started moving very slowly as Idaho State Police, Nez Perce County sheriff's deputies and Nez Perce Tribal Police urged protesters to stay off U.S. Highway 12, The Lewiston Tribune reported.

Law enforcement officers made at least two new arrests, the newspaper said.

Protesters tossed rocks — from softball size to basketball size — into the road in front of the truck carrying a 225-foot-long water purification unit.

Police and shipping company employees quickly removed the rocks.

Protesters on hand Tuesday night included children and elderly tribal members.

The first of two planned megaloads pulled out of a Washington port late Monday and was halted by a legion of protesters just outside of Lewiston, Idaho.

Authorities said 20 protesters — including eight members of the Nez Perce Tribe — were arrested, jailed and charged with misdemeanors for disturbing the peace.

The load is headed for an oil sands project in Alberta, Canada.

The shipment and its hauler, Oregon-based Omega Morgan, ended the first leg of the trip Tuesday morning, about 25 miles short of its planned stopping point along U.S. 12.

Tribal leaders said they anticipated more protests as the shipment moved deeper into the reservation and along a winding highway that passes through a federally designated Wild and Scenic River corridor.

"The Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee remains opposed to the transport and will continue to work with all federal and elected officials to see these loads are not hauled through the reservation," said tribal chairman Silas Whitman, who was among the eight Nez Perce members arrested in the first night of protests.

Meanwhile in Boise, attorneys for Idaho Rivers United were considering all legal options for short-circuiting the Omega Morgan load and called the company's decision to ignore federal officials and begin its trek across the state irresponsible.

The group filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 accusing the U.S. Forest Service of neglecting its duty under the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to protect the corridor when ExxonMobil Corp. sought to move big, heavy equipment up the roadway. In February, a federal judge sided with IRU, concluding forest supervisors have authority to review state-issued travel permits for over-legal loads.

On Monday, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell sent a letter urging Omega Morgan to delay the shipment until agency officials could review travel plans and consult with tribal leaders.

"The companies shipping this load have disrespected the Nez Perce Tribe, the Forest Service, a federal judge and the law, and it will not stand," said Kevin Lewis, IRU's conservation director.

Forest Service officials said Tuesday they were taking a wait-and-see approach. The shipment was not expected to reach forest boundaries until Wednesday night.

Omega Morgan spokeswoman Olga Haley said the company is committed to doing its job professionally and with what it believes is the appropriate permits.

The latest shipment is smaller in size and weight than the ExxonMobil loads but still big enough to stir the passions of those opposed to seeing big trucks pass through the picturesque highway that traces the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers.

Omega Morgan received a permit from the Idaho Transportation Department on Friday to ship a pair of the water purification units, which are 21 feet wide and weigh 644,000 pounds, across the state, up Lolo Pass into Montana and ultimately to the oil sands project in Canada.

The shipments can only move at night and in the early morning.

When ITD issued the permits, agency officials urged Omega Morgan to consult with the Forest Service but also made the permit valid for transport starting Monday night.

(18) comments

mtnplace
mtnplace

For all you making snarky comments understand that this is not a freeway or a main highway. It is a road through a Wild and Scenic River Corridor and labeled a Great American Highway.. It goes through the Nez Perce reservation and crosses the Nez Perce Trail and Lewis and Clark Trail.. These are really large loads that block both lanes of the highway blocking other traffic including emergency vehicles and regular commercial trucks.. The test module broke roadside cliffs and caused a power outage. The transport company illegally chopped trees from along the roadside. (in a Wild and Scenic corridor)There was a concerted push to make this road a high wide industrial corridor. The Forest Service said this isn't right but thought they had no ability to stop it. All this culminated in a lawsuit which resulted in a federal judge saying yes the Forest Service had the right to regulate and review any permits and that the Nez Perce must be consulted. So the Forest Service issued interim rules as to what would trigger a review and said they would issue final rules in consultation with the Nez Perce and they were in talks with ITD. But ITD decided to issue a permit to Omega Morgan which violated 2 of the 3 conditions anyway. The Forest Service and Nez Perce said this was not acceptable and Omega Morgan (and ITD) just ignored them. The FS was wishy washy resulting in another suit filed Thursday to force them to do what the judge said they should do.
You've also got the number of protesters at the first 2 protests wrong. There were more the first 2 nights. And members of the Tribal council were arrested. This is all a case of moneyed people and corpanies saying they have more rights to our roads than the rest of us do.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

I certainly hope they rode their bikes to the protest, if not, they are nothing but a bunch of hypcrites! arrest all of them and keep them in jail until the loads get through. morons

onetwopunch
onetwopunch

Allow me to educate you who know so little. The Nez Perce have every right to protest the megaloads and I support them and salute them for standing up for their rights. These are good hard working people who have jobs and pay taxes so all you EXPERTS out there better go back to school and stop picking on Native Americans every chance you have. They are more American than you so get used to it. And at least they have the cahonas to step up and practice THIER RIGHTS TO GATHER AND PROTEST AGIANST THE GOVERNMENT your all weak so KEEP TROLLING!!!

COMMON SENSE
COMMON SENSE

Um.....Their not protesting the government, Their protesting the oil industry to the determent of jobs and the economy effectively hurting their own interests as well as the rest of the country.

Oh Please
Oh Please

So were the trucks moving while rocks were being tossed onto the roadway? If so this could have created more damage to the environment by causing the truck to wreck and maybe some other cars driving down the same road. Not to mention maybe injuring or killing the driver of the truck or the other cars driving by.
And they are stopping a water purifier unit. hmmm

bwhiteman
bwhiteman

Sadly, activities like these are the only opportunities for them to feel like real warriors anymore. Even if they don't completely understand the issues, they sure seem quick to unite and put on a show. I wonder how they all got to the protest site? Hopefully it wasn't internal combustion engines, because those don't run on propaganda and rainbows.

GaryTinkSanders
GaryTinkSanders

@bwhiteman, this was a small group of people, less than 20 on the first demonstration and I am sure it was less than that on the second night. I am also sure that one of the conservation groups helped to organize them for the propaganda. These people do not represent the Nez Perce Nation.

old farmer
old farmer

Did they walk to the protest sight? 20 make the rest of the tribe look bad. Get out of the way and let the trucks role. The economy is in the toilet and these folks can shut any hope down. The old saying" If you aren't willing to push Get your foot off the brake."

sledmike
sledmike

Did not use google but another, less political search....the first 108 headline tags using "tar sand spill alberta" as a search term were from green/progressive/baby seals/mother earth or other OMG! websites....hardly unbiased news.

jimira
jimira

So what would unbiased news be??? One which states an oil spilling for weeks without any sign of stopping is... Ok and will not harm any living thing? Or better yet that it isn't even there. Hard to be biased when you see a lake of oil.. LOL

jimira
jimira

Google "Tar Sand Spill Alberta" and see why people are protesting.

gadflyohsofly
gadflyohsofly

These megaloads must be so damaging. You'll see the Lochsa turn to oil and catch on fire as the load passes on the road above,

Liberty or Death
Liberty or Death

Agreed! Perhaps they should institute a new rule that says they can only truck rainbows and unicorns down highway 12 from now on. I also want to laugh that the Nez Perce leader held his news conference at the Clearwater River Casino. I guess the white man isn't the devil when they are filling his machines with money, only when they want to drive through reservation land with oil equipment.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

LOL! great post!

gadflyohsofly
gadflyohsofly

These people need jobs. I am unaware of how a large load can damage the environment. If they were huge wind turbines, consisting of Rare Earth minerals that were mined from the banks of a blue ribbon trout stream, damaging it forever, nobody would care. But they are for the evil oil companies, so they can purify subsurface water and not damage the environment as much.

COMMON SENSE
COMMON SENSE

"Environmentalists mull megaload legal options"

"Authorities say 20 Nez Perce tribal members were arrested, jailed and charged with disorderly conduct."

How about some more mass arrests with more heavy duty fines and charges? Sounds like a perfectly acceptable "legal option" to me. Either that or wait for these environMENTALists to lay down in the roadway & turn them into street pizza.

Dubs
Dubs

street pizza, good one!

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

ooooo... I like the street pizza description too! LOL!!!!!

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