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Activists, tribe seek to halt use of Oregon highways for megaloads to Canadian tar sands

Activists filed a petition in Marion County Circuit Court Tuesday challenging a state transportation variance issued to Omega Morgan for its “megaload” of oversized equipment headed on Oregon highways to Canada for use in tar sands oil extraction.

The petition was filed by Peter Goodman, representing ActOnClimate.net, and Carl Sampson, chief headman of the Walla Walla Tribe. They contend that the Oregon Department of Transportation didn’t establish that “the public interest will be served” before issuing the permit for the megaload on Feb. 6. Oversized megaloads require special variances to use state highways.

“We are dedicated to stopping the megaloads in Oregon before they reach their destination at the Alberta tar sands,“ said Goodman in a prepared statement. “The megaloads are not just another oversize industrial cargo,

they are the tools needed to contribute to the dirtiest industrial project in the world. Either we rise to

the occasion of the megaload threat before us or we participate, albeit passively, in our own extinction."

Sampson said the the Walla Walla Tribe wasn’t consulted, even though three megaloads are passing into the tribe’s ceded boundary lands.

“How can this be?” Sampson said. “Help me understand why we the people of this land have not had voice on such an important matter. Why did the Oregon Department of Transportation allow a variance permit of such magnitude on our sovereign and inherent Treaty rights, allowing interruption into our ceremonial, culturally, socially and spiritually homelands without regard to the importance to our people?”

Critics of the megaload deliveries are gathering public comments on the website www.ActOnClimate.net for delivery to ODOT.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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