Judge: Tar-sands equipment can't travel on Montanan backroads
A group of Montanans, Idahoans, Oregonians, and Washingtonians struck a blow against ExxonMobil and its push to extract carbon-soaked oil from Canada's tar sands this week. The Northwesterns weren't upset about the environmental impact of the tar sands, exactly, but they were upset that an Exxon subsidiary wanted to haul oversized loads of oil-extraction equipment from the Port of Vancouver, Wash., over small winding highways in environmentally valuable areas, to the Canadian border.
They asked a judge to stop the company from using those roads. And on Tuesday, he did, finding that Montana government officials working with the company had violated the state's environmental law by not considering other paths the shipments could take.
On a local level, many opponents to the trucking are just happy they won't have to deal with an industrial corridor running through their communities. But on a national level, environmental groups like the National Wildlife Federation see this as another blow against the overall evil of tar-sands oil.