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Comment period extended to Oct. 14 on U.S. 12 oversized shipments

Nez Perce Tribe’s stance remains in opposition



To Comment; Information Online

Ramon Hobdey-Sanchez, ramon.hobdey-sanchez@itd.idaho.gov; Idaho Transportation Department, Attn: Ramon Hobdey-Sanchez, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID  83707; call Hobdey-Sanchez, 334-8810.

http://itd.idaho.gov/rulemaking/US-12.htm.

The period for public comment has been extended into mid-October on a proposed Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) rule regulating oversized shipments along U.S. Highway 12. But for one of the key players in this issue, the Nez Perce Tribe, its stance remains in opposition.

“The Nez Perce Tribe opposes the Clearwater and Lochsa River corridor becoming an industrial corridor. The tribe has repeatedly made this known,” stated in a Sept. 28 tribe press release.

Originally set to end last Friday, comment deadline on the rule has been extended to Oct. 14, to which the tribe stated it would be providing its comments.

At issue is a proposed rule that would set forth the conditions that non-reducible, oversized loads using U.S. 12 would follow, from milepost 75.2 (close to the junction of U.S. 12 and Idaho 13) to milepost 174.4 (the Idaho/Montana state line).

Following legal action in 2013, a district court affirmed the U.S. Forest Service had a duty to regulate oversized loads traveling through the Clearwater National Forest. The Forest Service issued written criteria to determine which loads will be subject to Forest Service review.

According to ITD, the rule would apply to shipments under this criteria: exceed 16 feet in width or 150 feet in length; require longer than 12 hours to travel through the Wild and Scenic River Corridor and National Forest (mileposts 75.2 to 174.4); and require physical modification of the roadway or adjacent vegetation to facilitate passage beyond normal highway maintenance.

Non-reducible loads carry cargo that cannot be reduced in size to make a shipment lighter.

“ITD’s proposed rule is no different from the agency’s position prior to the 2013 federal court injunction,” according to the tribe’s release. “It does not alter the reality that the legal issues at stake are federal in nature, are the subject of a federal court lawsuit that resulted in a federal court injunction, and are subject to on-going federal court mediation. At a minimum, ITD’s proposed rule is at this time ineffectual.”

According to the tribe, ITD made no effort to contact them or the Forest Service before unilaterally proposing this rule. The Forest Service, the Tribe, and Idaho Rivers United are engaged in mediation under the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ mediation program.

“The tribe is committed to continuing to protect the Clearwater-Lochsa river corridor and to working with the U.S. Forest Service and others regardless whether ITD chooses to do so or not,” according to the tribe.



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