Claiming that the U.S. Forest Service has allowed U.S. Highway 12 to convert from a scenic byway into an industrial high-and-wide route, Idaho River United has slapped the USFS with a lawsuit in federal court.
The suit comes in the wake of two ConocoPhillips mega-loads traversing U.S. 12 (with two more to go) and Exxon/Mobil's plans to haul up to 200 more along the same route. Filed in Boise's U.S. District Court, the lawsuit is the first federal action to challenge the mega-loads. Idaho Rivers United, a non-profit river conservation group, boasts 3,500 members.
"Allowing the Lochsa and Clearwater river corridor to be converted into a permanent high-and-wide route would be like building a seven-story hotel on the banks of Redfish Lake," said IRU Conservation Director Kevin Lewis. "These rivers anchor cathedral-like forests that inspire awe, reflection and reverence. Having the first two ConocoPhillips loads proceed was unfortunate. But allowing 200-plus Exxon/Mobil loads to go forward, plus the others, we expect to follow, would be a tragedy."