December 7, 2010 2:00 PM, EST

Idaho to Hold Hearings on Oversize, Overweight Permits

The Idaho Department of Transportation will hold public hearings Wednesday and Thursday after a judge said the department must consider complaints about ConocoPhillips’ plan to ship large loads of equipment along winding highway U.S. 12.

In his Nov. 24 decision, the judge effectively nullified the oversize and overweight permits IDOT previously granted the oil company to ship four massive drums to its refinery in Billings, Mont.

The drums traveled from Washington along the Columbia and Snake rivers to the Lewiston port, where they are stalled, along with 34 load that ExxonMobile is trying to ship to Canadian oil fields.

Opponents of the ConocoPhillips trip argued that the shipments endanger the federally protected Lochsa and Clearwater rivers alongside U.S. 12 and want the ConocoPhillips case to set precedent on how IDOT issues future permits.