The state of Idaho has adopted new rules to regulate huge loads of equipment (called magaloads) on U.S. Highway 12 in North Idaho despite a court injunction blocking such loads.
The new rules, approved unanimously by the Idaho Transportation Department Board Nov. 17, would allow only one megaload at a time to travel the twisting highway, which threads two federally protected Wild and Scenic River corridors along the Middle Fork Clearwater and Lochsa rivers. Public comments, including those submitted by IRU and IRU members, were overwhelmingly against the new rules.
In September 2013 U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ordered the highway closed to megaloads until the Forest Service reviewed and consulted with the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Rivers United, the entities that won the injunction.
"Idaho has no jurisdiction on the management of federal lands and Wild and Scenic Rivers," said IRU Executive Director Kevin Lewis. "This rule making is nothing but posturing."
Since 2013 IRU, the Nez Perce Tribe and Forest Service have been meeting in court-mediated sessions to work on long-term solutions that ameliorate concerns of all parties involved.
- Click here to read IRU's comments on the then-proposed rule.