Mounting megaload concerns taken to Boise

By William L. Spence of the Tribune

Thursday, February 3, 2011

BOISE – Megaload protesters brought their concerns to the governor’s office Wednesday, delivering more than 100 letters from people who want the state to take a closer look at the impacts from the project.

About 50 people showed up on the Statehouse steps, carrying signs with slogans like, “Megaloads – a mega-mistake,” and “My voice matters.” One protester was dressed in a fish costume.

Bill Sedivy, executive director of Idaho Rivers United, a Boise-based river conservation group, said these massive truckloads of equipment are “an affront” to the U.S. Highway 12 corridor’s Wild and Scenic River designation.

“There’s no way these loads – one after another – isn’t going to impact the (ecological and recreational) values along that corridor,” Sedivy said. “We aren’t done with this battle.”

The letters delivered to the governor came from several states, he said. The Lochsa and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers offer some of the premier whitewater rafting in the Western Hemisphere, so people are concerned about how the megaloads will affect the region.

For example, “the Harlequin ducks that nest there are a species of concern,” Sedivy said. “They’re very sensitive during their nesting season. We don’t know what impacts, if any, these loads will have on them, but we need to have those discussions.”

The first of four shipments for ConocoPhillips left the Port of Lewiston Tuesday evening.

Spence may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2274.