MEGALOADS MOVING THROUGH OREGON
For the past few years big oil companies have been developing strategies that would turn pristine river corridors in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies into an industrialized "high and wide corridor" for hauling enormous pieces of equipment to Tar Sands operations in northern Alberta. Their first two efforts were blocked by legal as well as direct action. Last August Nez Perce tribal leaders were arrested for trying to blockade the megaload on Highway 12 in northern Idaho as it entered the Nez Perce Reservation. A court injunction is currently preventing any more megaloads from using this route. Now Omega Morgan, the Hillsboro-based company that is hauling these megaloads, has come up with a circuitous new route through Eastern Oregon, that they hope will spark less resistance. But like the Nez Perce, the rural people of Highway 12 and environmental activists from Moscow, ID to Missoula, MT, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla and Warm Springs Indian Reservations, along with environmental activists across Oregon, are now facing off against the latest round of megaloads.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Kevin Lewis, conservation director for Idaho Rivers United, one of the organizations taking the lead in permanently protecting northern Idaho's wild and scenic Highway 12 from becoming the heavy haul corridor of choice to the Tar Sands.
Kevin Lewis has been at Idaho Rivers United since November 2004. He has a strong background in environmental policy, non-profit management and team building, and expertise in the complex work of relicensing hydropower dams and collaborative watershed management. He also brings with him a passion for free-flowing rivers, and an on-the-ground knowledge of many Idaho rivers gained over years of paddling.