Montana Gov.: "Build Mega-Loads Here"

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Following a full year of legal wrangling over mega-loads, the governor of Montana wants to take the debate concerning oversized shipments back to where it started. Why, said Gov. Brian Schweitzer, can't ExxonMobil manufacture some of its giant oil refinery equipment in Montana and avoid the controversy of hauling the mega-loads through Idaho and his state before heading up to the Kearl Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada?

In a face-to-face meeting with Exxon officials on Friday, Schweitzer said he had no issues regarding the oil sands project, but he advised the executives that future loads, made in Montana, would certainly create jobs and make it easier to overcome objections.

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Meanwhile, the first of more than 200 ExxonMobil shipments are expected to roll from the Port of Lewiston a week from Monday, rolling up Highway 95 through Moscow and Coeur d'Alene before heading east on Highway 90 and north to Alberta. The two shipments were "cut down" to size by Exxon so they could be sent via an alternate route, avoiding U.S. Highway 12, which parallels the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers. The Idaho Department of Transportation is still mulling over whether to permit Exxon to send its mega-loads along U.S. 12.