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Judge dismisses portion of ‘megaloads’ lawsuit

A judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit seeking to prevent an oil company from hauling oversized equipment through Montana to Canada’s oil sands.

Missoula County Judge Ray Dayton ruled June 28 that the county and three environmental groups were late in filing their claim that Montana transportation officials violated the state constitution in approving the loads.

The plaintiffs had claimed the state had withheld important information relevant to the shipments in violation of the public’s right to know and participate under the Montana Constitution. Dayton says the 30-day statute of limitations had already expired when the plaintiffs made that claim.

But the judge will allow the plaintiffs to argue that state transportation officials violated the Montana Environmental Protection Act by approving the shipments without conducting a full environmental impact statement.

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