To Doral Hoff, Idaho Transportation Department

Cc: Jim Carpenter, ITD District 2, Bryan Ness, Director, ITD, Alan Frew, ITD, and Butch Otter, Governor of Idaho

From: Linwood Laughy and Borg Hendrickson

Alert 6/7/2010 Safety Issues

ITD consistently states that public safety is the number one issue in deciding whether permits should be issued to ConocoPhillips, ImperialOil/ExxonMobil and other possible corporations or their contractors.

#1. Travel plans filed by ConocoPhillips and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil both include a reliance on Idaho State Police to deal with emergency vehicle travel; e.g. ambulances. Implementation of the IO/EM plan alone, as currently written, will require over 8000 hours of ISP officer time spread over approximately 9 months, thus nearly 900 hours per month. If officers work 10 hours of overtime per week, the shipments already planned will require 22 different ISP officers per month. The tight schedule announced by IO/EM to get in 207 shipments in about 210 available days will no doubt at times require two shipments per day, resulting in the need for up to 8, 10, or 12 officers on any given night.

The loss of the availability of ISP personnel for highway emergencies in their usual base of operations, possible back-up of other law enforcement personnel, and potential personal fatigue raises significant safety issues for Idaho residents and travelers who are far removed from the actual mega-load truck convoys.

#2. Clearwater Valley Hospital, located in Orofino, has state-of-the-art Emergency Room services. Many area residents rely on this facility for emergency care, including thousands who live in Clearwater County and in the upper Clearwater Valley. This emergency room is also the nearest fully equipped and staffed ER for many visitors and local hunters, fishers and whitewater enthusiasts who travel U.S. 12.

Both travel plans referenced above rely exclusively on ISP personnel to handle communications with emergency vehicles, such as an ambulance, to ensure the highway would not be blocked when an emergency vehicle needs highway access. Between April 2009 and April 2010, 87% of the 4,500 people needing emergency medical care who arrived at the CVH ER did not travel by ambulance, but instead were transported by private vehicle with no communications with ISP or local law enforcement. Many of those patients live upriver from Orofino and rely on U.S. 12 as their only practical means of access to the CVH ER. The highway from Kamiah to Orofino is further some of the most winding, narrow and rock-faced sections of the entire U.S. 12 route. Further, like an estimated 90 percent of the U.S. 12 route from Lewiston to Lolo Pass, this stretch also has no cell phone coverage. Considering that the shipments in question will continue night after night over a nine-month period, one can reasonably predict that a number of people will face serious medical challenges if these shipments are allowed. It is even quite possible that permitting these shipments could lead to one or more deaths due to one of these shipment’s blocking the route for a personal vehicle emergency transport.

#3. Over almost the entire length of U.S. 12 in Idaho, volunteers provide ambulance and firefighting emergency services. These volunteers often live some distance from the locations of the equipment they need to provide their services, and many travel on U.S. 12 to get to their duty locations. The providing of emergency services further depends upon the arrival of a minimum number of crew members needed to travel to the emergency. The PC and IO/EM travel plans make no provision for communication with volunteer service providers traveling in private vehicles to their duty stations. They do not have 15+ minutes to wait for a mega-load to get to a pullover location. Neither does the owner of the house on fire or the victim of a heart attack.

If the health and safety of local residents and visitors in north central Idaho is of significance to ITD in considering whether to permit the shipment of 24-29 foot wide loads on U.S. 12, no such permits will be issued.

Note: This communication, and the ITD Alerts to follow, will be shared with the public via email, websites, blogs, and letters.

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