Press Release: Transportation Department’s Green Light for Shipments Green Lights Local Investment

Permitting decision opens Highway 12, clears path for influx of jobs, capital to region

BOISE, IDAHO— Following the Idaho Transportation Department’s Hearing Officer recommendation to allow shipments by ConocoPhillips on Highway 12 in route to a Montana refinery, members of the Drive Our Economy task force applauded officials.

“This decision validates the Transportation Department’s oversize permitting process as complete and thorough, with significant attention to public convenience and safety .” said Alex LaBeau, President of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. “In taking the side of local businesses and communities on this issue, Mr. Clark and the Department have sent the message that Idaho is open for business and the investment and jobs that result.”

Frank Priestley, President of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, continued, “It’s somewhat ironic that the activists argued, in part, that the loads should not be allowed on Highway 12 because it is an historical part of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Remember, Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark to find a COMMERCE route to the West. Highway 12 should remain open for commerce and the loads should be allowed to move immediately.”

Barry Stang, Executive Vice President of the Motor Carriers of Montana, continued, “Now the real test will occur. Activist groups intend to further interfere with these shipments by filing frivolous lawsuits, thereby generating more uncertainty for this unique economic opportunity in our region.”

Additional shipments through Idaho and Montana to Canadian should proceed as planned as a result of this decision by contested case hearing presiding officer Merlyn Clark. These combined shipments are projected to bring $80 million to the local economy through infrastructure updates and local commerce. This means jobs, a shot of economic activity, and open, safe roads that keep the region’s economy on the right path.

During challenging fiscal times, economic development through robust business and industry investment is critical and should be encouraged by state officials. This decision sends a reassuring message to business and industry throughout the region, and fosters the confidence and certainty necessary to a strong business environment in Idaho and Montana.

Drive Our Economy is a task force of community, business, and agricultural leaders who have joined together to promote economic strategies that benefit Idaho and Montana. For additional information, visit:

To speak with any Drive Our Economy experts, please contact [email protected].