Mega-load opponents are gearing up for another protracted legal battle.
"I expect this time will be a much more thorough process," attorney Laird Lucas told Citydesk.
Lucas, executive director of Advocates for the West, represented a group of Idahoans last fall in a contested case hearing surrounding ConocoPhillips' plans to ship four giant shipments of oil refinery equipment from the Port of Lewiston across U.S. Highway 12 to Billings, Mont. The first of the four completed its journey across North Central Idaho earlier this week. The second shipment is expected to leave Lewiston by week's end.
"We were on a super-expedited schedule last fall because Conoco was claiming urgency to get their loads to their Billings, Mont., facility," said Lucas. "There is no urgent need with Exxon."
ExxonMobil hopes to send more than 200 mega-loads across U.S. 12 and up to the Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta, Canada. There have been some reports that Exxon may send some of the loads across another route.
"We've heard rumors about Exxon cutting up some of their modules and sending them a different route, but no one will confirm that for us," said Lucas.
Opponents expect a full contested hearing process to get underway soon.
"I'm sure Exxon will want to keep the ball rolling, but I don't think they have the urgency that Conoco had," said Lucas.