KLEW news learns more about the fate of two big pieces of machinery, that some local residents are calling a harm to the scenic byways.
For big companies using Highway-12 to move megaloads is a convenient way of transporting large materials. However local residents like Linwood Laughy, of the activist group "The Rural People of Highway 12 Fighting Goliath," said it's a death sentence for local transportation and the surrounding scenic views."
"Despite Judge Winmill's decision last February, they're going to push the envelope and it's going to be interesting to see what happens," said Laughy.
Laughy refers to the decision by U.S. District Court of Idaho Magistrate, who reprimanded the U.S. Forest Service for failing to exercise their authority to stop megaloads from traveling through their lands. The Rural People of Highway 12 Fighting Goliath is pressuring the U.S. Forest Service to deny Omega Morgan permits for travel. The Forest Service has the right to deny or allow the two, 300,000 pound pieces of large equipment from passing through their land if they don't meet the state's permit criteria. However, ultimately, the Idaho Transportation Department could move forward without their input.
"The Forest Service's position is that we don't support the state permitting those loads at this time," said Heather Berg. "They may choose to permit those loads without our support."
Wild and Scenic Rivers Administrator Heather Berg of the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests said they're in the process of developing and discussing a set of criteria assessing megaloads that seek travel on their lands, however they don't have enough funding to conduct a study at this time. Berg said it's unclear when they'll have an answer for Omega Morgan without the study in progress."
When we contacted Omega Morgan, a representative for the company told KLEW news they're currently in talks with ITD and the United States Forest Service, and they don't have any further additional details at this time.