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Conoco’s oversized rigs readying for transport

Oversized oil rigs sitting in the Port of Lewiston, Idaho could be moving through Montana to Billings in a matter of days. Two of the rigs are already on trailers, ready to go.

Despite legal wrangling in Idaho to block the shipments, the oil company’s getting ready in a big way.

No permits for the rigs from Montana, and so far, none in Idaho. Montana’s transportation director is waiting on Idaho, and no one in Idaho seems to know when the rigs would pull out of Lewiston.

The bottom line is workers are prepping Conoco loads, with the intent to move them out soon.

The Idaho Department of Transportation told NBC Montana that no permits have been issued to Conoco. But the transport company hired to haul the rigs across two states has a lot of responsibility.

Emmert International’s Mark Albrecht says, “the loads have been prepped in hopes of gaining a permit from COT. ” He says, “we’re just making sure the loads are safe and prepared and ready to move if we’re given the nod to go.”

Environmental groups in Idaho and Montana have been vocal in their opposition. They worry about environmental hazards and safety.

The transport company, Emmert International, is in Lewiston. Emmert has mapped out the toad with detailed surveys. Trailers have been custom designed for the loads.

Albrecht says, “roughly it takes about eight personnel per load and it takes three truck drivers for each movement.” It would take about four days to move one load. There are four loads. Each requires a permit.

The Idaho Department of Transportation says it’s reviewing an Idaho State Supreme Court decision. The high court ruled last week that opponents of the big rigs need to file a contested case hearing to I-DOT or to an administrative judge. They want a hearing to address their concerns.

There are a lot of eyes on Conoco’s four oversized loads. If it gets the green light it could open doors for Exxon Mobil to transport more than 200 oversized loads over Highway 12, through Montana’s Highline and into Canada.

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