[Vision2020] Megaloads and Hippies

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Tue Jun 7 06:08:21 PDT 2011

Courtesy of today's (June 7, 2011) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.


Moscow-Pullman Daily News - DNews.com
HIS VIEW: An issue of facts, not emotions

By Henry D. Johnston
June 7, 2011

About a month ago the city of Moscow hosted a public forum to discuss the
potential of moving ExxonMobil's megaloads through Moscow on U.S. Highway
95. The meeting was preceded by a good old-fashioned protest,
demonstrating the true size of a megaload and decrying what it will do to
Moscow's precious trees.

It has been a long time since Moscow's hippies have dug out their leather
vests, put on their Birkenstocks and readjusted their graying ponytails in
an effort to rally "the movement" against "the man." There's something
about a protest to get the blood pumping and, as the Berkeley of north
Idaho, Moscow really knows how to throw one.

Quite frankly, I've missed it.

After watching the video of the public forum (courtesy of local politico
Tom Hansen) I think it's pretty obvious the vocal minority of Moscow's
residents don't care about the movement of the megaloads as much as they
care about the broader impact of what happens when the loads arrive at the
Kearl oil sands in Canada.

While I'm not unsympathetic to the broader implications, I think it's
inappropriate to try to block the transportation of these loads through
Moscow simply because you might disagree with the end result. In my book,
doing so is akin to stopping a funeral procession on its way to the
cemetery because you disagree with burial as a way to care for our dead.

At their May 16 meeting, the City Council discussed the megaload issue
after a very informative and thoughtful presentation by City Supervisor
Gary Reidner. At the end of the presentation, Councilman Walter Steed made
the motion to accept the report and, at the same time, invite ExxonMobil
to use our hotels, buy fuel and food and make Moscow their resting point
once the loads reach the Latah-Benewah County line.

Each council member made well-reasoned arguments in favor of letting the
loads pass through Moscow. Dan Carscallen pointed out we already have
200-foot loads move through Moscow in the middle of the night when several
chip trucks get traveling in a convoy, and Sue Scott said there is plenty
of noise created downtown by the closing bells at Mingles and the Corner

Steed's motion ultimately passed despite the strong objections of Mayor
Nancy Chaney. Since then our councilors have taken some pretty heavy and
unfair criticism of their actions.

But before anyone starts making accusations or generalizations about the
irresponsibility of our current City Council, I would remind everyone that
the most irresponsible behavior ever shown by an elected official in
Moscow was by none other than Mayor Nancy Chaney regarding the sale of
water to the Hawkins development.

In a memo dated Nov. 19, 2007, to the City Council and city administration
(after numerous appeals to prevent water right transfers to Hawkins)
Chaney advocated selling water to Hawkins "at a price, with conditions."
She also attended the confidential mediation with the Hawkins Companies in
Spokane and presented the mediation agreement to the council.

It was only after the council voted to approve the agreement, at Chaney's
express request no less, that she then took a strong about face and
condemned the sale of water to Hawkins. If you want to talk about
irresponsibility by an elected official, that one takes the cake.

The megaload issue is truly one of facts.

Fact - state highways, over which Moscow has very little jurisdiction, go
through our town.

Fact - state-federal roadways are designed to further transportation and
interstate commerce.

Fact - Moscow's police chief, fire chief and city streets supervisor all
said there would be no adverse impact to public safety, fire/medical
response time or even to the infrastructure of the roadways that the loads
will be traveling.

Megaloads are and should be an issue of facts and not emotions.

The Moscow City Council deserves megakudos (with all puns intended) for
making an educated decision based on the facts of this issue.


Later, Moscow.

Tom Hansen
Airway Heights, Washington

"The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to change
and the Realist adjusts his sails."

- Author Unknown

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