Hearing officer denies request to reconsider ruling

From the Spokesman-Review, Spokane
Idaho h
earing officer and retired district Judge Duff McKee today rejected a motion for reconsideration from opponents of megaloads of oil equipment on U.S. Highway 12, but the opponents say they'll now file another objection.

Borg Hendrickson, a Highway 12 resident and one of the leading opponents, said they're “disappointed” with McKee's ruling, but plan to file “exceptions” to his decision within 21 days, as permitted by ITD rules. Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness then would decide whether or not to grant the exceptions and make a final decision, which still would be appealable in court.

The 200-plus giant loads planned for the scenic route on the way from Lewiston to the Alberta oil sands also are facing obstacles in Montana, where a judge partially granted a preliminary injunction against permits for the Montana portion of the Highway 12 route. In the meantime, Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has reduced some of the loads in size to send them by freeway instead.

In McKee's five-page decision, he wrote, “Nothing raised in the motions persuades me that I have overlooked or misapplied the evidence offered in this case, overlooked or misapplied the law that applies to this case, or overlooked or misunderstood any of petitioners’ arguments as advanced previously in their briefs and presentations at hearing.”

Published 7-29-2011