Truckloads of controversy

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Oil field equipment isn't the only thing hogging the highway.

A megaload of bunk is chugging right along with North Idaho's latest controversy.

The state has granted permission for two really big trucks - supporters don't like the term "megaload" - to come north on U.S. Highway 95 early next week, inching through Coeur d'Alene in the wee hours of the night and then heading east on Interstate 90.

Combatants on both sides have taken great liberties with their arguments.

Megaload supporters are on record as saying that the communities bearing the big rig burdens will benefit financially. Pardon us, but how? By the truck drivers buying a hamburger and Coke at the McDonald's drive-through? Filling up the gas tank every 15 miles?

Megaload opponents have managed to trump that bunk card. They say they're concerned about noise in neighborhoods and potential traffic delays. What, at 2:13 in the morning? If you find yourself driving behind a monster truck waddling along at 2:13 in the morning, we suspect that a delay of five or 10 minutes will be the least of your problems.

Let's speak plainly, shall we?

Supporters employing mighty PR firms want to see this equipment carried safely to Alberta, Canada, where it will be used to harvest oil that eventually could make its way down to the U.S. You see, supporters prefer to purchase their oil and gas from people who drink the same beer they drink and don't want to blow them up.

Opponents see this as an environmental battle royale, and they've thrown up every administrative roadblock they can think of in an attempt to keep the oil companies from fattening their bottom lines and ravaging Mother Earth north of the border. They've stymied megaload efforts south of us with cries of alarm about potential harm to Idaho rivers. We're surprised they haven't discovered an endangered species of bug, aryanarachnid, which can be found only in North Idaho and migrates across state and interstate highways on weeknights at 2:13 a.m.

The oil firms transporting these big loads have taken precautions to ensure safe, albeit slow, passage through Idaho. They're bonded so any roadway damage would be repaired. Our highways were built for everyone: for commercial use, which does create economic benefits on a broader scale; for families headed hither and yon on vacation; and yes, even for environmentalists who carpool from one protest site to another.

If problems do surface, the state can prevent future trips.

Until then, let the trucks roll.

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