Gov Has Harsh Words for Big Rig Critics

Aaron Flint posted on November 30, 2010 13:51 :: 10150 Views

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) had strong words for activists working to block the shipment of large equipment destined for the Canadian oil fields and a Billings refinery.

The so-called “Big Rigs” have stirred debate in Western Montana and Idaho where the rigs are currently sitting idle. 

The City of Missoula added another symbolic roadblock to the debate by doubling the fees on oversized rigs travelling through the Garden City.

Meanwhile, Governor Schweitzer took critics of the effort to haul the oversized equipment to task.

Click below to listen:

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That was Governor Schweitzer Tuesday morning speaking with Aaron Flint on the statewide radio talk show “Voices of Montana.”

Schweitzer noted that of the four refineries in Montana, three of them using oil from the Canadian oil sands.

In all, 70% of the oil produced at Montana refineries is coming from the Canadian Oil Sands. 

The Governor says Montana’s Department of Transportation will follow all the laws and are taking a look at the issue. 

But, he adds that critics of the big rigs can’t speak out of both sides of their mouth.

Click below to listen:

Click to Listen

Meanwhile, if you missed the guest opinion column from Barry “Spook” Stang, the executive vice president of the Motor Carriers of Montana, here’s an excerpt:

Unfortunately, outsiders seem not to share our pro-business viewpoints. Recently, external influences are making their presence felt in our state, and are threatening to push needed revenue and investment out of our region. Opposed to commercial, oversized use of our local highways, global environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council have descended upon Montana and Idaho to attempt to halt permitting for the trucking of oversized loads related to energy development – a project that would bring significant tax revenue and economic stimulus to our region.

the oversized shipments for the Kearl project bring an incredible amount of investment for our state, including infrastructure upgrades and road improvements at no cost to taxpayers. Additionally, they will bring new economic activity to the region by hiring construction workers, and providing a boost to local establishments along the route such as restaurants, hotels and community stores. In fact, it’s estimated that the project will produce a total of $80 million additional economic activity to the region.

The Montana Department of Transportation must address permitting of wide loads and heavy shipments in an apolitical manner, and must not allow outsiders to politicize this relatively simple process. 

Click here to read the full column.

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