Protesters Show Up, Megaload Doesn’t Budge from Umatilla

November 25, 2013  —  Hillsboro-based Omega Morgan is the trucking company hired by a subsidiary of General Electric Co. to ship massive oil refinery equipment manufactured in South Korea to the tar sands project in western Canada. ODOT regional spokesman Tom Strandberg previously said the oversize loads could begin moving along highways in eastern Oregon to southern Idaho either Sunday or Monday night.

Wild Idaho Rising Tide reports that as of late Sunday, the megaload had not left the port of Umatilla. “It never budged,” writes George Plaven of Eastern Oregon, “sitting under towering floodlights while workers with Omega Morgan continued to prepare the oversized transport for its first leg south through Hermiston and east into Pendleton”.

If the shipment proceeds as planned, it will eventually reach the John Day Valley before crossing east into southern Idaho and north through Montana en route to Canada.The load is only permitted to travel between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and no more than eight consecutive hours per night.

A working map of the route for the 650,000 pound, three-story high equipment has been posted by All Against the Haul and can be viewed here.

As promised, about 20 protesters gathered on a toe-numbing Sunday night and waited for the first of three “megaloads” to leave the Port of Umatilla hauling massive refinery equipment into the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.  Climate activists oppose providing a route on Oregon highways for a vessel they said will contribute to increased carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Jim Powers, of Albany, also said the Oregon Department of Transportation rushed to permit the project without enough public process.

The tar sands mines of Alberta, Canada  are among the largest mines of any type in world.  Tar sands oil is the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet.   Its extraction leaves in its wake scarred landscapes and a web of pipelines and polluting refineries.  As it delays our transition to a clean energy economy, tar sands has been identified as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions growth in Canada, as it accounts for 40 million tons of CO2 emissions per year according to Greenpeace.

Updates to the planned Omegaloads will be tracked and reported by Portland Rising Tide, Wild Idaho Rising Tide, All Against the Haul and CoalMarch.org.

 

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