Boise Weekly readers are well-versed on mega-loads, the mammoth rigs that crawl across north-central Idaho.
Since early 2010, BW has chronicled the long and often contentious debate over the legality of the shipments. And when ExxonMobil decided not to move forward with its plan to haul more than 200 mega-loads across U.S. Highway 12 and instead break the shipments down into smaller loads and take a different route, the media's attention changed routes, too.
But on Wednesday, Idaho Rivers United is prepared to face off with the federal government in oral arguments in a Boise U.S. courtroom over whether the U.S. Forest Service should protect the Highway 12 corridor.
"It should be protected and the federal agency that manages the land in that corridor is responsible for protecting it. That's the U.S. Forest Service," said Kevin Lewis, conservation program director for IRU. "In 1969, the people of the United States said that this was a very important place. And the very first river in the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was the Clearwater. The very first. And that's why U.S. Highway 12 became an All-American road, a national scenic byway."
In Wednesday's edition of BW, we examine the court battle and learn that, while much of the media has shifted away from Highway 12, those mega-loads keep rolling.