Monday, April 25, 2011

Megaloads, water company: Ordinances help local communities fend off corporations

 March 20, 2011

Last year, ExxonMobil publicly reared its head in Montana with a plan to shoehorn 200 megaloads onto U.S. Highway 12. Since then, the Carlyle Group announced the pending purchase of the California company that owns Mountain Water in Missoula.

Activism is alive and well here, and Missoulians are writing letters, signing petitions and marching in the streets. In City Hall, Mayor John Engen is getting emails calling for the city of Missoula to buy Mountain Water.

On the other end of town, in the wee hours of March 10, hundreds of activists temporarily plugged Reserve Street when the first megaloads rolled through Missoula - these big rigs belonging to ConocoPhillips. But the giant trucks passed anyway, just as they had inched along the federally protected highway along the Lochsa River.

When it comes to the will of the people and corporate autonomy, the deck is stacked in favor of corporations, said Zack Porter, a spokesman for All Against the Haul. It is just one group that formed to fight Big Oil from building a permanent corridor through Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana for these loads, which can weigh as much as 700,000 pounds.

"Right now, the burden of proof is on us to demonstrate these projects are unsuitable. The burden of proof should be on the corporations," Porter said.......continued........