Tribes to Transportation Officials: No Consultation, Notification of Mega-Loads

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Two of three controversial mega-loads have come and gone through Eastern Oregon, Southern Idaho and are now making their way through Montana up to Alberta, Canada's Tar Sands oil fields. But the third oversized shipment remains parked at Oregon's Port of Umatilla, waiting out the string of winter storms that have battered the region.

Meanwhile several agencies have filed a "petition for review of agency decision" alleging that the Oregon Department of Transportation still hasn't met its legal obligation in determining that permits to allow the mega-loads to crawl through the region "serve the public interest." Representatives of the Peo Peo Mox Mox and Walla Walla tribes and ActOnClimate say ODOT should not be making a "unilateral decision without a process for hearing public comments" before granting such permits.

But an ODOT spokesman tells the Ontario Argus Observer that the state agency visited with the Umatilla Tribe but was "not sure what else was done as far as outreach," adding that public hearings are not part of the permitting process.

Meanwhile, Walla Walla Tribe spokesman Carl Sampson writes, "Here we are, in the middle of winter, with no formal notification, no Tribal consultation, no information to our Tribal Members ... but three monster mega-loads are coming onto our ceded boundary lands."