Megaload begins trip after delay in NE Oregon

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 3, 2013 at 1:31 am •  Published: December 3, 2013

UMATILLA, Ore. (AP) — A transport rig carrying a 450-ton piece of oil refinery equipment left a northeast Oregon port on Monday night, a day after protesters halted its departure, a sheriff's dispatcher said.

A Umatilla County dispatcher who declined to give his full name confirmed the megaload had set out on its trip but said he couldn't discuss whether there were more protests or arrests.

A team of security and law enforcement worked Monday to ensure the 22-foot-wide, 380-foot-long load departed on schedule from the Port of Umatilla, the East Oregonian reported ( ).

The newspaper reported the rig left shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, which furious protesters felt was in violation of an Oregon Transportation Department permit.

Associated Press calls to Oregon State Police, the Oregon Transportation Department, the Port of Umatilla and the moving company, Omega Morgan of Hillsboro, Ore., were not immediately returned late Monday night.

The East Oregonian reported that two protesters were arrested Sunday night after locking themselves to the truck. Because it blocks traffic, the giant load can move only at night, mainly on Highways 395 and 26 through sparsely populated parts of Eastern Oregon. By the time the protesters were removed it was too late for it to set out Sunday night.

The equipment is bound for a tar sands oil development in western Canada.

Environmentalists object to the shipment for its potential to worsen global warming, and tribal members say they're worried about the possibility of environmental damage in Eastern Oregon, where they assert a treaty interest and say they weren't adequately consulted.

The route across Eastern Oregon was chosen after previous megaloads faced stiff opposition through the Nez Perce Reservation and a federally designated scenic river corridor on U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho. A federal judge ordered the loads to stop using that highway in September.

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