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Exxon Solves Their Megaload Problem - By Cutting the Trees to Shreds

Bobby McEnaney

Posted April 26, 2011

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Be wary when Exxon claims they are going to “investigate” a problem…treetrim1.jpeg

Over the weekend, Exxon literally took an axe to the trees lining the US Highway-12 Wild and Scenic River corridor in order to facilitate their “megaload” plan. This latest outrage by Exxon is a drastic step to ensure that the currently suspended megaload test shipment – the same shipment which ran into a tree and later cut a power pole causing a blackout – can resume its course through the Lolo Pass corridor of Idaho and Montana onwards to the tar sands operations in Alberta, Canada. In cutting off the limbs of trees that line the highway – many of which are over two centuries old and bore witness to the Lewis & Clark Expedition who made their way through the exact same corridor in 1805 – Exxon, along with the state and federal authorities who are turning a blind eye, are permanently disfiguring one of the more iconic and scenic regions in the country. 

As can be seen in the accompanying images that were captured by Idaho residents associated with Fighting, work crews spent the Easter weekend trimming branches along the highway to create a virtual tunnel over 30 feet high, while also eliminating any growth that came within 3 feet of the fog line. 

What is ironic, if that is the right choice of words, is that Exxon had been preparing for this test shipment for over three years. In their preparations, Exxon’s crews already had trimmed over 500 trees along the designated Wild and Scenic River corridor. But despite Exxon’s assurances that they thought of everything, Exxon still managed to bungle the operation with their first test shipment. After the test shipment was suspended, Exxon and the State of Idaho made assurances that they would conduct a thorough safety review and investigation of the problems associated with the first test. Looks like all of that thinking resulted in a decision to take chainsaws to the offending trees instead. And because of it, the trees, the scenery, and the naturalness associated with the Clearwater region are paying the price for Exxon’s incompetence.

LochsaCut3.jpgtreetrim3.JPG Image credits: Fighting Goliath - see

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Patricia LososApr 28 2011 05:37 PM

Who gave permission for all of these beautiful trees to be destroyed and why do we lie down and take it? Anything Exxon does is for greed and profit. Our country and the entire world, or at least those parts that contain natural resources that can be turned into $$$ for the big, ugly corporations, are being raped and pillaged as we sit with our thumbs up our bums and do absolutely nothing. What good is whining and shouting about it after the fact or if nobody really listens. So Exxon and the state of Idaho are responsible for this travesty? No, we all are responsible, because we let them continue to get away with it. We need a stronger voice in Washington, D.C. to represent us in environmental matters, because clearly our voices are either not being heard, or we simply don't have enough citizens who care.

J RApr 28 2011 07:25 PM

Another shameful disregard for the environment from an oil company, i'm so surprised. Montana is a beautiful state; I can't believe they cut down those trees. What bastards they are. Why are Americans allowing this to happen? What has happened to us? We are so complacent but we whine but don't lift a finger to do anything.

James KoenigApr 29 2011 10:21 AM

Just shows you how Big OIL and Big Government scratch each others backs as good old buddies.

Earl ZimmermannApr 29 2011 11:53 AM

These units are being build in South Korea and then shipped to the US fully assembled. Here is a great way to create jobs in the US and please everyone. Truck the individual components into the area and have them assembled locally. This is what they are doing in Montana, much different terrain, but the companies are hiring up to 100,000 people in the next few years.

Theresa AndersonApr 29 2011 04:01 PM

This is typical of big business. they don't care what type of distruction they cause just as long as they get their shipment. Once the trees are gone then they can do more business at a greater profit and there won't be anything left to protect. The federal government as well as each independant state transportation department is responsible as well. The plan is to eventually cut down the trees or disfugure and damage them to a point at which the trees die or falls as a result of the improper distribution of the trees weight. Another shameful act of turning a blind by a politician and letting big business do what they want.

patricia grahamApr 29 2011 04:14 PM

He who cuts down and destroys will be cut down! You DO reap what you sow!

John ReillyApr 29 2011 05:08 PM

This doesn't surprise me, they will cut us down also if it gets them profits. Let's stand up and stop this nonsense. What do we want trees or Exxon?

Lori KegApr 29 2011 10:54 PM

Nice to know that all authorities involved have had to of been paid off to allow this. Money wins, the planet and all of its inhabitants lose.

valda purvisApr 30 2011 09:53 AM

Here in Australia we have to get councl permisson to cut down tree's,if it is done without it ,the person responsible is fined -heavily ,will Exxon be fined ?the expedtion of Llewis and Clarke was one of my favourite stories and as stated some of these trees witnessed that amazing journey,developers and big companies like Exxon ,just demolish every thing in their path with out any concern for the environment or wildlife-money talks.

Carole Shaffer-KorosApr 30 2011 11:40 AM

Exxon in Canada? I thought it was Imperial there. Which company is doing this?

M AndrusApr 30 2011 05:41 PM

What can we do to PROTEST this???????

Terry DelgadoApr 30 2011 10:03 PM

Time to boycott Exon

John ThomasMay 1 2011 11:02 AM

The USA is OUR country. The natural resources belong to WE the people.....not the energy companies.

Add that reality, to the need to always secure our country's defenses, at ALL COSTS, and the only SOLUTION is to NATIONALIZE our country's energy resources.

The OBSCENE profits BIG OIL is making at the expense of WE the people could be used to pay down our National Debt.

Bobby McEnaneyMay 4 2011 06:23 PM

In response to Carole Shaffer-Koros’ question...The shipments are indeed destined to serve Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Oil, but the entirety of the project is an ExxonMobil initiative.

Bobby McEnaneyMay 4 2011 07:37 PM

In regard to M Andrus’ question about what can be done to stop this: NRDC are allied with a number of regional groups fighting Exxon in Idaho and Montana. Some good resources for action are available at All Against the Haul & Fighting Goliath – both of these organizations provide opportunities to protest Exxon’s plans (see &

It needs to be emphasized that Exxon planned this scheme three years ago, in secret, with the misbegotten belief that these shipments would be rubberstamped by the authorities – but this has not happened. When environmentalists and citizens deduced what Exxon was actually up to, a groundswell of opposition emerged, placing Exxon on the defensive big-time. Exxon is now being forced to contend with opponents all along the path of these shipments and beyond. Because of this resistance, Exxon has spent more time defending their plans in court rather than shipping their megaloads to Canada. The impact of these protests includes notably, a judicially imposed temporary restraining order in the state of Montana that has halted Exxon’s plans for the time being.

The Easter Sunday actions by Idaho and Exxon were despicable, but we are far closer than before in stopping these shipments from becoming a permanent reality.

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