NPR Story
9:44 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Limited Alternative Routes For GE's 'Megaloads'

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 5:07 pm

A subsidiary of General Electric says it’s looking for alternative options for moving huge water purification equipment from the Northwest to Alberta, Canada.

A route through the middle of Idaho turned into a legal battle with the Nez Perce Tribe, but the alternatives are limited.

Resources Conservation Company International, the GE subsidiary, decided to withdraw a federal appeal that sought to re-open Idaho's Highway 12 to so-called “megaloads.” A judge had ordered the Forest Service to close the wild and scenic corridor to the shipments.

That means the two-story high, two-lane wide pieces of equipment can’t get beyond Lewiston, Idaho.

“I think as far as moving it, your only other option would be to go down to the Gulf of Mexico and kind of come up, because you're just so landlocked there. With the mountains and the network of highways, there's just other limiting factors,” says Michael Reeves. He is the president of the Ports-to-Plains Alliance, a group working to improve shipping routes between Texas and Alberta.

Another alternative is the one taken by ExxonMobil – that company decided to reduce the size of its shipments after megaloads opponents stalled the process.

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