Environmental groups and others have sued the Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT), alleging that the agency failed to conduct the required environmental review before approving an oil company’s request to transport heavy loads to Canada’s tar sands region. County of Missoula v. MDOT, No. 11-424 (Mont. 4th Jud. Dist. Ct. 4/1/11). The approved project would allow Imperial Oil Ltd. to move several hundred oversize-load trucks through the state to the Kearl oil sands in Alberta, Canada.

Plaintiffs allege violations of the Montana Environmental Policy Act, the state-law equivalent of NEPA. According to the complaint, MDOT approved the project “without adequately identifying and analyzing all relevant impacts of the project and without analyzing a broad range of alternatives” as required by law. The complaint asks the court to declare the approval unlawful and issue orders to defendant to prepare an environmental impact statement and to enjoin defendant from issuing any permits until it complies with state law.