Mega-Load Debate Will Be Argued (Again) Aug. 27

by

Tuesday, Aug. 27 has been set as day for the next legal tussle over whether mega-loads should be able to roll across U.S. Highway 12 in North Central Idaho and, in particular, across the Wild and Scenic Corridor.

Idaho Rivers United and the Nez Perce Tribe filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service, claiming that the U.S. government should take on the responsibility to halt the oversized shipments from traversing the corridor that passes along the Middle Fork of the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers, between Lewiston and the Montana state line.

Despite objections from the Forest Service, Oregon-based hauler Omega Morgan still proceeded with moving a 255-foot-long mega-load across U.S. 12 last week. But the shipment was met with regular resistance from members of the Nez Perce Tribe, who protested in the early morning each day that the rig inched across the highway. Forest Service officials decided not to formally challenge the mega-load. That's why, Idaho Rivers United said, that it will need to take the matter back to court.

Last February, Idaho Rivers United won a judgement from a federal court judge who agreed that the Forest Service indeed has the authority and responsibility to oversee the Wild and Scenic Corridor.

"Unless this Court corrects the Forest Service's determination that it lacks any authority to enforce its jurisdiction to regulate use of U.S. Highway 12 on the national forest, mega-loads will be free to traverse the Wild and Scenic Corridor without being subject to the Forest Service's regulatory oversight recently recognized by this Court," wrote the Nez Perce Tribe in its motion for a preliminary injunction against future shipments.