The megaload of oil refinery equipment that arrived in Idaho after a three-week journey through Oregon and is headed for Canada, is getting negative feedback from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
The tribes released a statement Thursday saying members are deeply concerned with the recent approval of an Idaho Transportation Department permit allowing Omega Morgan to transport a 640,000 pound shipment of water treatment equipment through pristine areas used by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
The shipments are being transported through aboriginal homelands where Shoshone-Bannock leaders are allowed to exercise their treaty rights stemming from the Forty Bridger Treaty of 1868. They say the treaty allows for hunting, fishing and gathering in those areas.
The permit granted and approved by ITD was issued without consultation to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, according to a news release. The tribes were made aware of the decision to alter the approved route of transportation from U.S. Highway 12 to one that impacts the tribes directly.The proposed transport of the equipment would travel through a corridor along two Wild and Scenic Rivers, possibly impacting natural resources.
Tribal officials wrote: “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
Indian tribes and conservation groups have been trying to block the movement of the megaloads since 2011, but some have gotten through.
In fact, environmentalists and tribal members demonstrated Dec. 23 against the second of three giant loads of oil refinery equipment being shipped through Eastern Oregon to the tar sands oil region of western Canada.
The East Oregonian reports the group of about 50 people in Pendleton held signs and sang prayers while police kept watch. No arrests were reported.
The megaload convoy was parked nearby. It had driven the previous night from the Port of Umatilla on the Columbia River.
Leaders of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation say the state government hasn’t properly consulted with them about the shipment through land the tribes ceded in 1855. Environmentalists oppose the tar sands oil for its outsize carbon emissions.
Those with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes stated Thursday they are concerned about the potential for adverse impacts or accidents which may occur on the shipping route that passes over, or near, the scenic rivers or tributaries of the Salmon, Snake, and Selway rivers where they hunt and fish.
If there are any adverse impacts by this shipment, the tribes say to expect a full and complete mitigation of any damages or incidents that may impact the environment in the shipping corridors.