The Missoula County Commissioners are taking on the megaloads in District Court. And they sound pretty punchy about it.
Here’s Commissioner Michele Landquist, from the story:
“You don’t work for years and years to achieve what we’ve all achieved in the tourism and recreation dollars, the industry it’s become, just to sell it to any company that wants to destroy that travel corridor. “People will not come.”
And here’s Commissioner Jean Curtiss:
(She) said it’s the commissioners’ job to ensure public health, welfare and safety of Missoula County. That doesn’t square with the travel plan, which calls for all moves to take place after midnight and before 6 a.m.
“Normally high-and-wide special permits are given for daytime use only, because the goal is, we want you to be able to see as well as possible,” Curtiss said. “This one is just the absolute opposite. They’re the biggest things we’ve hauled through here, and yet it’s a night-time permit.”
And on the other side of Montana, at least one Yellowstone County Commissioner is fired up too. That’s Jim Reno, who had choice words for Curtiss and Missoula.
“I’m thinking if Missoula County wants to truly isolate the eastern part of the state, which is energy-producing, from the western part of the state, they’re doing a very, very good job of it,” Reno said Tuesday.
He told Curtiss she should apply for a job with the Montana Department of Transportation if she wants to make decisions on state highways, and he also recommended Missoula hop out of Montana.
“Could they do one more vote and maybe vote to join Idaho?” wondered Reno, who wrote a letter to the editor of the Missoulian registering his distaste after news of Missoula County’s pending lawsuit came out last weekend.
Ouch! Those sound like fighting words. Maybe a Missoula peace offering, like a hemp necklace with a peace sign pendant, would appease Reno.
Kidding, kidding. As for the city of Missoula, city attorney Jim Nugent said no one has talked with him about joining the lawsuit. The route has far more miles in the county, and he said it would be difficult for the city to argue environmental impacts, like the county can.
— Keila Szpaller