Megaload shipment poised to enter Southern Idaho

Megaload shipment poised to enter Southern Idaho »Play Video
In this photo taken on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, the megaload slowly moves up Highway 395 in Hermiston, Ore. The transport rig, carrying a 450-ton piece of oil refinery equipment, is bound for a tar sands oil development in western Canada. (AP Photo/Daily Astorian, E.J. Harris)
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- The first of three controversial megaload shipments of oil refinery equipment scheduled to pass through Southern Idaho is being held up by bad weather in Northeast Oregon

The original path to Canada through Northern Idaho was blocked by a judge so the new plan calls for the megaload trucks to take a less direct route through Southern Idaho.

Megaloads are massive refinery equipment hauled by trucks weighing as much as a million pounds, headed from Umatilla, Oregon to Alberta, Canada's tar sands oil region.

Opponents of megaloads say extracting tar sands oil causes global warming and moving the heavy equipment ruins roads.
"We have experienced in Northern Idaho many damaged roads," said
Helen Yost with the activist group Wild Idaho Rising Tide based in Moscow. "Idaho is not the richest state in the Union."

A court order diverted the megaloads from Northern Idaho earlier this year.

Now the first megaload coming through Southern Idaho is stopped by snow and ice near Pendleton.

The megaload shipment needs two things before it can come to Southern Idaho: Better weather and a permit from the Idaho Transportation Department, the permit, at least, could happen relatively quickly.

ITD spokesman Adam Rush says much of the permitting process has already been done.

"We are very confident this is a safe shipment, we routinely work with oversized haulers to move equipment," he said.

The permit can be appealed and opponents haven't ruled that out and they promise protests along the way in Southern Idaho.