Top 8 Myths: Kearl –US 12 Transportation Project
- These shipments are mega-loads, far beyond what would usually be allowed on our highways.These shipments are not “mega-loads.” In fact, they are comparable to other oversize loads, such as a mobile home shipment, and adhere to all state weight requirements for oversize loads. Oversized trucking is a vital part of business across the country, and essential to Idaho and Montana’s farmers, ranchers, construction projects, and the military.
- Scenic Highway 12 cannot handle shipments of this size.Where needed, improvements have been made to Highway 12 in anticipation of these shipments. Combined, Idaho and Montana will gain an estimated $100 million in economic benefit as a result of the Kearl project. What’s more, all modifications, improvements, and maintenance of the road are being paid for by private hands, rather than coming out of your – the taxpayer’s – pocket.Additionally, over 2 years of planning have gone into designing the route to ensure safety and minimize disruptions to the community and traffic. As an additional safeguard, test units are sent along the entire route before full size loads are transported, so that final adjustments can be made to cover unforeseen challenges.
- There will be nonstop trucks on scenic Highway 12, turning it into an industrial corridor.In reality, there are 200 total shipments planned over a 12 month period, amounting to less than a single truck per day. No long-term proposal or plan is underway to alter Highway 12 and the shipments will mainly travel at night to minimize delays and protect tourism. Any future shipments beyond those currently scheduled would be subject to the same permitting requirements and process current shipments have undergone.While others have asserted that there are plans to turn this into a 10 year project, this project has a straightforward beginning and end. There is simply no evidence of any attempt or proposal to alter Highway 12’s scenic nature.
- These shipments are dangerous and pose a serious environmental threat to pristine wilderness and our scenic rivers.The shipments are being assessed with full cooperation of the environmental authorities in both Idaho and Montana. Safety has been and remains the number one concern in planning this project, and that’s why the relevant authorities have been involved from day one – to make sure that scenic Highway 12 remains a natural treasure and that there is no impact on parklands, tribal lands, or rivers.Additionally, no hazardous chemicals or materials will be included in these shipments, and state police will escort the trucks at all times.
- This is about jobs in Canada, not about my state. Why should we let outside interests take over our roads for their own gain?Oil sands development incorporates broad segments of the US manufacturing and services sector. With unemployment in Idaho at 9 percent and Montana only slightly better, these shipments will produce local jobs for rural Idahoans and Montanans at a time of desperate economic uncertainty in the region and the nation at large. An anticipated $100 million in economic in the region means jobs today – an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up.But the benefits don’t stop with the immediate local spending. As a fuel intensive region, we depend on oil and gas from Canada and the uninterrupted operation of our local refineries. Attempts to shut down either of these vital fuel sources will end up costing us at the pump. Supporting our energy security today protects our economic growth in the future.
- Stopping this shipment won’t impact other businesses or activity in the state.In addition to the impact on our region’s energy supply, turning the straightforward oversize permitting process into a political football has dangerous implications for many sectors of our economy. Grain silos, wind turbines, military and construction equipment, and agricultural equipment all rely on open access to the roads to survive. Oversize permitting is complex enough as it stands – setting a precedent that allows outside interests to block permits for no good reason could take away local control in the future.
- Oil sands destroy the environment and are irresponsible. We’ve got to do our part to stop development in Canada.The Canadian oil sands are an immense resource—second in the world only to Saudi Arabia. Their development is a symbol of our complex energy, environmental and security challenges. Noting these concerns, oil sands operators in Alberta must abide by the strictest environmental regulations that require reclamation of all oil sands land after initial use and protect water resources from contamination. Producers are also constantly driven to create new technologies that limit the environmental impacts of this important resource to meet ever-stringent environmental legislation.Shutting down development in environmentally aware communities like Alberta inevitably drives production overseas, benefiting state owned oil companies in places like China and Venezuela that do not abide by the same intense environmental standards and independent scrutiny. Canada is currently the number one energy exporter to the United States, and it is a critical national security interest to promote our relationship there. By bolstering our growing energy relationship with our northern neighbor, we limit our reliance on foreign oil and keep fuel prices in our region affordable.
- No one wants these shipments here. This is about having control over our own roads.In fact, numerous organizations have voiced support for this project, including public officials, business groups, trade associations, unions, farmers, and ranchers. Economic growth is important to our region, and many people recognize the importance of this project to our economic future.However, outside groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council have invested a great deal of resources opposing this project due to their own global agenda. In fact, 96% of comments to the Montana DOT related to the Kearl project came from the NRDC’s global action network – crowding out the voice of Montanans. Local Montanans and Idahoans understand the critical importance that this project holds for jobs and growth.