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Imperial Oil stated at the Meadow Hill meeting that a big rig will not leave a turnout until the next turnout is clear. Thus, if the turnout in front of a rig were occupied by a group of picnickers with their bikes, kayaks and tents, the rig would be unable to proceed – for, presumably, use of a public turnout is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If only a few people along the route chose to picnic on their local turnout at an inopportune time, the progress of the rigs would be stymied. (Imperial Oil has stated that the rig schedules will, helpfully, be posted on the net.)

Perhaps Imperial Oil will choose to abandon the Idaho/Montana route ahead of time in light of this potentially insurmountable difficulty. If not, their rigs will simply have to wait their turn to use the public’s turnouts. And some people’s picnics have been known to last for days.

Michael Gehman, Missoula

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